I’m not normally a huge fan of white papers, but Rally Software has done something extraordinary with this one. They’ve analyzed the process and performance data for nearly 10,000 teams using the Rally platform to extract some rather interesting findings. While there’s empirical evidence to support many of the prescribed Agile behaviors, Rally’s unique access to performance data as a SaaS process tool provides them with the ability to get an inside look across many different companies and teams.

Here’s Rally’s introduction:

Though people have made Agile recommendations for many years, we have never been able to say how accurate they actually are, or how much impact a particular recommendation might make. [Chris: I disagree as many of these recommendations have been made based on other data and evidence.]

The findings in this document were extracted by looking at non-attributable data from 9,629 teams using Rally’s Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platform. Rally is in the unique position to mine this wealth of SaaS (cloudbased) data, and uncover metrics-driven insights.

These insights give you real world numbers to make an economic case for getting the resources you need, and your people to commit to change. That’s the underlying motivation of this work.

A few highlights that I’ve copied and pasted:

[T]here is almost a 2:1 difference in throughput between teams that are 95% or more dedicated compared with teams that are 50% or less dedicated.

Stable teams result in up to:
60% better Productivity
40% better Predictability
60% better Responsiveness

Teams doing Full Scrum estimating [both story points and task hours] have 250% better Quality than teams doing no estimating

Teams that aggressively control [work in process]:
• Cut time in process in half
• Have ¼ as many defects
• But have 34% lower Productivity

Small teams (of 1-3 people) have
• 17% lower Quality
• But 17% more Productivity
Than teams of the recommended size (5-9)

While these are the summary findings, the white paper is short and well worth a read. Check it out!