Rally Software Quantifies the Impact of Agile Software Development Practices

Findings Provide Invaluable Insight for Making Better Business Decisions and Realizing Better Outcomes

Aug 06, 2013, 10:18 ET from Rally Software

BOULDER, Colo. and NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Rally®, a leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for managing Agile software development, today unveils initial findings from a study conducted with Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute (SEI) to analyze non-attributable data from 9,629 teams using Rally's Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platform. Though people have made Agile recommendations for many years, Agile practitioners have generally been unable to say how accurate they actually are, or how much impact a particular recommendation might make and in what way.

"The thing that makes this research so valuable is the data," said Jim McCurley, Senior Researcher at the SEI. "The volume and detailed nature of this data makes the work more challenging than previous case studies and surveys but provides greater insight into Agile software development."

A key enabler for this work is the creation of the Software Development Performance Index (SDPI). This metrics framework provides a balanced set of outcome measures along the dimensions of Productivity, Predictability, Quality and Responsiveness, which are automatically calculated from data in Rally's Agile ALM platform. The SDPI framework also recommends additional dimensions for Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and "Build-the-right-thing" and specifies how these disparate metrics can be aggregated to provide an overall indicator of performance. Users of the SDPI are able to get feedback on their own teams and organizations, but Rally is using the first four dimensions to extract the relationship between decisions and performance.

"The SDPI provides real-world numbers that can be used to build an economic case for getting the resources you need or motivate staff to commit to change," said Larry Maccherone, director of analytics at Rally and lead researcher for this work. "The underlying motivation of this work is to give people trustworthy insights so they can make better decisions and positively impact their bottom line."

Findings from quantifying the Impact of Agile with the SDPI were extracted by looking for correlation between "decisions" or behaviors and outcomes as measured by the dimensions of the SDPI. Findings include:

  • Up to 2x better productivity is achieved when dedicating people to one team
  • Teams that follow the Scrum estimating process have 3.5 times better quality than teams that do not
  • Teams with low levels of work in process (WiP) move each story through their process in half the time, but surprisingly complete 34% fewer stories in the same amount of time

Further research is underway to add an additional 30 decisions, behaviors, and aspects of context to the analysis. "Our goal is to gather enough information about the context under which particular relationships hold to build a predictive model for success with Agile projects," said Larry Maccherone.

Larry will be presenting these initial findings in a Lightning Talk at Agile2013 on Tuesday, August 6 at 10:45am (CDT). He will provide additional information critical to successfully using them in a 75-minute talk entitled "The Seven Deadly Sins of Agile Measurement" at 2pm (CDT) on Thursday, August 8.

Sign up to receive a copy of of the Agile Performance Metrics Whitepaper at https://www.rallydev.com/resource/agile-performance-metrics-whitepaper.

About Rally
Rally Software is a leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for managing Agile software development. The Rally Agile application lifecycle management (ALM) platform transforms the way organizations manage the software development lifecycle by closely aligning software development and strategic business objectives, facilitating collaboration, increasing transparency and automating manual processes. Companies use Rally to accelerate the pace of innovation, improve productivity and more effectively adapt to rapidly changing customer needs and competitive dynamics.

Rally, the Rally logo, and Rally Software Development are trademarks of Rally Software Development Corp. Third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE Rally Software