Jurgen asked me to help publicize his survey. Ok, I’ve done it. Now, let me rant about explain why I think surveys like this are not useful, and may be harmful.
A survey does not take your context into account. Surveys about any practices without considering the industry, the products, and the management don’t tell you much. People lie to themselves about what they are really doing. And, they can harm efforts underway.
A senior manager saw a survey like this. He asked me what timeboxing was. I explained. Now he thought timeboxing was the best thing since sliced bread. He decreed that from now on, all projects would be timeboxed to no more than eight (8) weeks. The fact that some of the teams were using two week timeboxes and some were using straight kanban (not inside timeboxes) to finish valuable work was irrelevant to him. When I explained about the value of shorter timeboxes, he told me I was nuts. (I am, but not about that!) After all, he didn’t have any projects he could finish in 8 weeks, so how could anyone else? Not all senior managers are that clueless. But too many are.
How about the Scrum Master who, in response to a survey including questions about retrospectives, responded that they always did one. Their retrospectives lasted 20 minutes for a 4-week iteration, and consisted of a form: What went well (+), what wasn’t so hot (-), and what should change (Δ)? There were no action items, no adaptation based on reality. But he got a raise because he answered the survey in a way management wanted.
These two examples are egregious examples of what can go wrong with surveys. They occur because there is no data to back them up. Does it matter if people exxagerate? Does it matter if management interprets something incorrectly and makes invalid assumptions? It doesn’t matter if you don’t care what everyone else does. But if you care, it matters. A lot.
As a very famous person said, What Do You Care What Other People Think? I would rather know what my context and reality are, what my particular constraints and issues are, and work in the best way I can to manage those constraints and issues.
Jurgen, I may owe you, not the other way around!