Where Are We In Our Agile Journey?: Agile Survey Results

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about two surveys conducted here at Valpak, one for team members and one for stakeholders.  The intent of the surveys was to assess where we are at in our Agile journey and to seek out improvement opportunities.   I am pleased to share the results with you today.

Of 44 team members of Scrum and Kanban teams (all IT employees or contractors; no manager titles), 100% responded to this survey:  Valpak Agile Survey for Team Members

  • Among team members, Agile was the preferred software methodology by a landslide over waterfall
  • Nearly all team members found their agile training/coaching to be average or above and more than half believed their business knowledge had increased since transitioning from waterfall
  • Aside from mixed reviews on work/life balance, which you’d probably find in every company across the country, team members expressed a largely positive personal Agile experience (proud of their work, happy teammate, voice was heard)
  • Teamwork received positive marks on (1) business impact, (2) collaboration, (3) deployment, and (4) equal contribution while room for improvement topics were (1) continuous process improvement, (2) sustainable pace, and (3) learning new skills
  • Among 16 possible pain points, only a handful were applicable to team members with cross-team dependencies as the most noted issue; secondary pain points included lack of resources, time management, and story point estimation
  • ScrumMaster and Product Owner positions received very high satisfaction marks while other manager/supervisor roles were more neutral
  • While all agile process elements were perceived to have some value, Sprint Review/Science Fair, Retrospectives, and Sound Bites had low value scores (not surprising, since 3 out of 4 are intended for Business Stakeholders)

Of 56 stakeholders of our Agile framework (not including IT team members or their POs), 63% responded to this survey:  Valpak Agile Survey for Stakeholders

  • Stakeholders were largely neutral towards Agile as an improvement over waterfall and did not share the same enthusiasm as the team members (very pro-Agile); many of the comparison questions garnered “no difference” or ambiguous responses
  • The ambiguity of stakeholder responses may be due in large part to the fact that their relationship with Agile is closely tied to their relationship with their Product Owner; different Product Owners (we have the stakeholders of 8 different Product Owners included in this survey) may manage their stakeholders quite differently
  • The Sound Bites email was considered valuable by many business stakeholders and several used the email’s content to determine whether or not they would attend the Sprint Review
  • Low science fair attendance was primarily due to the Sprint Review immediately beforehand, with (1) lack of time to attend both and (2) everything was covered in the demo as the top two reasons for not going to the science fair
  • Sprint Review preferences included:
    • When presenting, focus on the practical application (what problem does it solve) instead of how it works
    • Keep the fluid schedule so when one team finishes the next one immediately begins
    • Stream the Sprint Reviews to multiple rooms throughout the building
    • Not have them on Friday (too many scheduling and travel conflicts)

Again, special thanks to Mark Smith and Jody Wagman (who also happens to be a Product Owner too) of our Marketing Research department for conducting this survey for us.

About Stephanie Davis

Stephanie is now VP of Product Excellence at LeadingAgile focused on the growth, development, and delivery of some amazing agile products.  Recently, she spent the past two years as Executive Director - Enterprise Agility Office at Catalina leading another top-to-bottom, inside-out agile transformation.  Prior to that, Stephanie was Senior Director of Enterprise Agility at Valpak. She was with Valpak for 13 years, most of which were focused on leading their agile transformation to what became a world renowned success story published in case studies and demonstrated to over 50 different companies through the years via agile tours.  Prior to Valpak, Stephanie held past positions in the project management domain with AT&T and IBM. Stephanie's academic credentials include a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida and an MBA in International Business from the University of Bristol in England. She also maintains the Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credentials. Stephanie is big on tech community involvement!  Most recently, she served as an elected board member to the Agile Alliance, a non-profit organization with global membership, committed to advancing agile development values, principles, and practices. In addition, she serves her local community as an organizer for Tampa Bay Agile, the largest and most active tech Meetup in the area, and the annual Agile Open Florida event. In 2016, Stephanie was awarded Tampa Bay Tech’s Technology Leader of the Year and the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s BusinessWoman of the Year (Tech) and Emerging Technology Leader of the Year. View all posts by Stephanie Davis

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