A week ago, I posted a Scrum-related developer survey. Today, the results of that survey, and my comments.

A bit over 1000 developers replied. Here’s the first batch of questions and results:

first batch

Team Size
We ease in with a question about team size. Half the teams are in the range of 5-8 developers, with about 40% fewer and ony 10% higher.

I have no strong views about this: my main purpose for the question was to refine my current estimate of how many developers are working under Scrum.

Trained SM or PO
As for having a trained ScrumMaster or Product Owner, the answer isn’t surprising, but nearly 1/3 of developers are working in Scrum without benefit of even a trained ScrumMaster or Product Owner. It’s hard to see how such a team could thrive. I’ll leave solving that problem to the Scrum Industrial Complex.
Sprint Length
82 percent are in the range of 2 to 3 weeks, which is pretty decent. A somewhat scary 8 percent don’t really do Sprints at all. I wish I knew why: the most common reason I hear is that their backlog items are too large to get done in a couple of weeks, so they just plug along.

And here’s the second batch:

second batch

Shippable Increment
28 percent of all Scrum teams surveyed produce an Increment 90 percent of the time or more. This is where every team should be according to the rules of Scrum.

The rest are falling short, and a rather scary 28 percent say that they rarely or never have a working tested increment. Frequent readers of these pages will know that I believe having an Increment is the best defense against Scrum-related problems.

Developer Training
This, to me, was the most important question and the answer is not surprising to me but it surely is terrifying:

Seventy-two percent of respondents say that no developer on their team has any Scrum-related developer training.

I closed with a followup-question, which only garnered about 550 votes, but the indications are that no more than 30 percent of developers are happier under Scrum than they were prior to Scrum. It appears that perhaps 18 percent know no other way, poor devils.


The main thing to expect in this survey is that the bulk of the respondents are those who follow me and other retweeting agile-focused people on Twitter. That suggests that they would be more aware of developer practices than the average. I would like to see a survey like this–better designed than my poor efforts–sent to every developer in every nominally-Scrum team in the universe.

I expected the low score for developer training. My guess is that this figure is high for Scrum teams overall, again because of the proximity of respondents to the various Scrum and Agile noisemakers on Twitter, YT included.

We can do some simple math at this point. We know that there are over one million “Certified ScrumMasters”, and, if I recall correctly, about a half a million “Professional ScrumMasters”. Survey says, half of Scrum teams do not have a trained ScrumMaster. That suggests to me that there may be as many as two or three million teams who are nominally doing Scrum.

With 5-8 developers the common count, that suggests that there are conservatively ten million developers working under Scrum. The high end of the estimate would suggest almost twenty-five million developers under Scrum.

And of those, 72 percent are untrained. So we estimate:

**There are between seven million and seventeen million untrained developers working under Scrum!

Opportunity … or Need?

If you were a business person, you might be thinking that if you could extract a dollar a month from a significant fraction of those developers, you’d have a very nice income.

Of course that’s not possible. Of course not. No conceivable way to monetize this opportunity

But I look at it differently. I look at the need.

These people need help. If they got that help, they’d benefit, but so would their current companies:

  • With greater skill, they’d be more productive for their companies;
  • With greater skill and productivity, they’d be happier and less likely to move on for mere money;

Still, my focus is on the people. These people need help, and very likely most of them would gladly pay a few bucks to get it. Most of them are probably spending 10, 20, 50 bucks a month for streaming services. Developer-focused material, made interesting, should be worth that or more.

Still, I don’t care about the money, I care about the people. Those of us who know how to developer software in a short-cycle, iterative, incremental fashion know that it is way more fun than even the old days when they at least left us alone for months before whipping us. And it’s tons more fun than ineffective Dark Scrum where they get to whip us every two or three weeks.


Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy
(Not my circus, not my monkeys.)

It’s easy to look at a problem, even a more serious problem than this one, and think: “Well, it’s not my job, it’s not my responsibility.” But when you’re successful at something, it’s not right to just look at the good things that result from your work. You have to look at the bad things too. And that goes for Scrum, the Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org, and all of us who have contributed to the success of Scrum, perhaps even to the success of the term “Agile”.

“Even the untrained teams?” Yes. The Scrum Industrial Complex has made Scrum a household word. They’ve touted its benefits, and that touting has been heard far beyond the fraction of people who have taken their training. Many more people have heard “Scrum is good” and said “Get me some of that Scrum”, and then read a bit or heard something in a bar and started trying to do Scrum.

I’m sorry, but I think we are responsible for those people, and their impact, just as much as we want to take credit for the ones who listened and thrived.

I’ve written elsewhere, recently, on what I think the Scrum Industrial Complex, particularly the Scrum Alliance, should reasonably do about the situation. I know that they have the necessary resources to address the problem.

Do they have the will? Not yet. But maybe if enough of us tell them, they’ll help us help the people working under Scrum. It will benefit everyone, the individuals, the companies they work for, and the Scrum Industrial Complex.

Meanwhile, read about the Dungeon, or Spacewar, or Asteroids, or Space Invaders. They’re all about how to do software in short cycles and enjoy yourself doing it.