Survey: Biggest Agile Challenge Is Communication

Developers need to work more closely with customers and other teams.

A new survey indicates that while software development projects using the Agile methodology are doing OK, they could be doing better, with communication reported as the biggest impediment to success.

The survey, conducted by Serena Software at the Agile 2012 Conference held in August, focused on the state of Agile projects underway at the time.

"The research centered on what is working with regards to Agile development methodology, the extent of Agile adoption in enterprise IT organizations today, biggest challenges and more," said a Serena Software news release. "The key findings revealed that development teams have united on Agile practices, but lack the communication with customers, operations and other development teams, which slow projects and Agile success.

"The communication factor was cited by Serena as one of three key themes resulting from the survey. "According to the research, more than 50 percent of respondents indicated that understanding and also prioritizing customer demand needed the most improvement for Agile to be successful," Serena said. "Both managers and developers agreed that four of the top five Agile roadblocks involved working with other teams and customers."

Raw survey results weren't provided, but an infographic prepared by Serena indicated that 51 percent of managers and 52 percent of developers cited "prioritizing customer demand" as the biggest Agile challenge. Four of the top five Agile challenges were related to communication, with the others being "working with non-Agile teams," "communicating with customers" and "integrating code with other teams."

While managers and developers were pretty much in agreement on the severity of those problems, the fifth major problem, "adequately testing sprints," had the biggest percentage discrepancy among the respondents. On the issue of adequate testing, 49 percent of developers cited it as a big challenge, while only 25 percent of managers agreed.

As far as the current state of Agile development projects, the survey indicated 49 percent of respondents said their companies were practicing Agile development, and 52 percent of customers were reported to be happy or very happy with their projects. Some 55 percent of respondents reported that they are investigating or already practicing continuous delivery.

Other survey results spoke to the issue of visibility of different teams into project releases. Customers were reported to have visibility into releases 45 percent of the time and to be involved in standup meetings 22 percent of the time.

Support teams were reported to have visibility into releases 34 percent of the time and be involved in standups only 17 percent of the time.

IT operations teams were reported to have visibility into releases 40 percent of the time and be involved in standups 18 percent of the time.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.