Comparative Agility Assessment Tool Surpasses 5,500 Surveys

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Software development industry's most popular agile assessment tool now has a remarkable 5,500 surveys, making it the world's largest source of data on Agile projects.

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Quickly and reliably determine how agile your organization is compared to other organizations.

Comparative Agility, a collaboration between Kenny Rubin of Innolution, LLC and Mike Cohn of Mountain Goat Software, LLC is a comprehensive agile assessment tool for quickly and reliably determining how agile a team or organization is compared to other agile teams and organizations. Launched in June 2007, the Comparative Agility survey database now holds an astounding 5,500 individual surveys making it the world's largest database of agile-related project information.

Kenny Rubin stated, "It is truly satisfying to see how popular Comparative Agility has become over the past several years. We developed the survey instrument as a way to assist our clients in determining how they were progressing with their agile adoption. Over time the demand to take the Comparative Agility survey has been steadily increasing. As a result the number of surveys has grown rapidly, and the more high-quality surveys that are in the database, the more valuable the survey instrument is to everyone."

The Comparative Agility assessment is based on a simple, but powerful concept: "determine how good you are compared to your competitors." Comparative Agility assumes agile teams and organizations strive always to be better than their competition and their past selves. As such, there is no “perfect ten” score to be achieved. In fact, there’s no predefined best-in-class or “Agile Maturity Level 5” to be achieved. Rather, Comparative Agility assessments present the results of a set of survey responses in comparison to some other set of responses. For example, using Comparative Agility it is possible to compare a team, project, or organization to:

  • the total set of 5,500 collected responses
  • responses from organizations in the same industry
  • responses from similar types of projects (such as commercial software, websites, and so on)
  • responses from projects with similar lengths of experience at becoming agile.

The 75 questions of a Comparative Agility assessment are organized into seven dimensions and twenty-one characteristics. The seven dimensions represent broad classifications of changes to be expected of a team or organization as it becomes more agile. The seven dimensions are: teamwork, requirements, planning, technical practices, quality, culture, and knowledge creation. Each dimension is made up of one to five characteristics and a set of questions is asked to assess a team's score on each characteristic. There is also a separate dimension that assesses overall business outcome.

Through a combination of dimensions, characteristics, and individual questions, a team or organization can see how they compare to other teams or organizations, or to themselves say six months earlier. For example, a team doing web development may compare itself to all other teams doing web development and find that they lag their competitors at adopting agile technical practices as shown by their score on the technical practices dimension.

Jorgen Hesselberg, Senior Manager of Agile Enterprise Adoption at Nokia commented, "Nokia has used Comparative Agility over the course of 18 months to continuously improve its agile capabilities. We have had over 150 teams take the Comparative Agility survey and used the resulting Comparative Agility reports to take actionable steps to achieve impressive results in making teams more effective with agile."

In addition to being able to provide teams and organizations with an important source of input on how they can improve, the magnitude of the comparative agility database provides a unique opportunity to understand how well agile is being applied in the software development industry as a whole.

Mike Cohn remarked, “From Comparative Agility we have the ability to generate a report of how the industry, as represented by the 5,500 responses in the database, is performing along the different dimensions and each of their characteristics. For example, today we can say that the industry as a whole has not embraced core technical practices like test-driven development and refactoring to the same extent as core agile planning practices. Many such conclusions can be drawn from the Comparative Agility data."

About Comparative Agility
Comparative Agility is an agile assessment tool that is freely available to people worldwide. Developed collaboratively by Kenny Rubin and Mike Cohn, the Comparative Agility tool contains the world's largest set of agile-related assessment data. To take the survey or to learn more about Comparative Agility visit the website at http://www.comparativeagility.com.

About Innolution and Kenny Rubin
Kenneth S. Rubin is Managing Principal at Innolution, LLC, an agile training and coaching company that helps organizations develop products in an effective and economically sensible way. A Certified Scrum Trainer, Kenny has trained over 18,000 people on agile and Scrum, Smalltalk development, managing object-oriented projects, and transition management. He has coached over 200 companies, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 10.

Kenny was the first Managing Director of the worldwide Scrum Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on the successful adoption of Scrum. He is the author of the best selling book Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. You can learn about his background at: http://www.innolution.com and follow him on his blog at the same site. You can also follow him on Twitter using @krubinagile.

About Mountain Goat Software and Mike Cohn
A veteran of Agile projects since 1995, Mike Cohn teaches classes for both new and current team agile members. Mike is the author of numerous articles for magazines, journals, and websites and three respected books on Agile. His blog on succeeding with agile, http://mountaingoatsoftware.com/blog, is a popular agile and scrum resource and he is a frequent participant in agile and scrum discussion groups.

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