By Marty Bakal
I recently attended a talk about whether agile development was a success or an empty buzzword. In my opinion the outcome boiled down to a quote by one of the panelists Ken Schwaber, co-founder of Scrum, “none of us know the results”. So 13 years after the agile manifesto came out we don’t know the results except that more companies claim to be agile. Everything is anecdotal. As a person who likes things quantified, I ask myself what numbers and data could we collect and how?
Agile development is based on development working with customers and getting feedback. But most companies only collaborate with a small number of customers even if they have many more overall. They never collect data from a larger group. Even when companies poll customers they typically get the IT people who manage and install the products not the actual users. Wouldn’t it be nice to contact the actual users directly?
Agile development is based on doing more frequent incremental updates but most companies have to deliver the whole product every time and many have no way to track whether specific increments (features) are used and by which customers.
Connecting with users directly, providing automated updates to entitled users and tracking incremental use are very basic concepts that a good software licensing, entitlement management and electronic delivery/update solution provide.
My wish is that next time someone asks if agile development is a success, they can discuss real data and not just say we don’t know.How well do you really knw your customers? What percentage of your installed base has upgraded to your latest product version? What features are most (and least) used by your customers?
In my opinion, only when you have this level of installed base insight will you truly be able to measure the success of agile development efforts.