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[XP] Re: Results are in on organizational culture survey

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  • PAUL
    Hi All, It amazes me just how little we actually understand about the scientific method (including me) :) Even tough we all love to think that we are
    Message 1 of 55 , Jul 8, 2010
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      Hi All,

      It amazes me just how little we actually understand about the scientific method (including me) :) Even tough we all love to think that we are scientists.

      People have used qualitative data such as this in the social sciences for decades to good effect. Politicians base their manifestos on it, PR people position companies and brands using it, and marketers target potential customers using such approaches. We've all heard of the focus group.

      Now I'm not qualified to say how well this particular survey was performed, and I'm not even sure how to interpret the results, but I think that says more about me then the survey itself.

      Such qualitative methods are as good as we are going to get I think in understanding what works and what doesn't for software. I say this because software development is mostly a craft dependent very heavily on people and their interactions (CAS). So I would say that the same rules used when studying any other social phenomena apply.

      I really would love to see a lot more of this type of qualitative study. I would also really love to know how to do such a study myself. It disappoints me that we tend to shun such approaches.

      Imaging if we all conducted surveys amongst our clients and collated the data into some central knowledge base. Just imaging the insights we could gain? Especially if we knew the right questions to ask.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science

      Regards,

      Paul.

      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
      >
      > One cannot measure how much bias there is in a promiscuous survey, so
      > statistical significance is irrelevant. (Surveying a random sample from a
      > preselected sample with known biases can yield statistical significance;
      > making a survey available to a self-selected sample with unknown biases is a
      > different story.)
      >
      > Such survey results are good fodder for thinking about the issues, but not a
      > reliable source of statistical conclusions no matter how many respondents
      > there were.
      >
      > Even if there were conclusions to be made, they would be about how people
      > think about Agile and organizations, not about how agile actually functions
      > in organizations. Like Jeff, I much appreciate the disclaimer to that
      > effect.
      >
      > Steven Gordon
      >
      > On Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 7:43 AM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...>wrote:
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Slava
      > >
      > >
      > > On 7/7/10 3:02 PM, imeshev wrote:
      > > > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com<extremeprogramming%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > Michael Spayd<michael@> wrote:
      > > >>
      > > >> Dear XP Community,
      > > >>
      > > >> Back in May, I asked for your help doing research on organization
      > > culture
      > > >> and Agile. Thank you so much to all of you who took the survey! After a
      > > >> longer delay than I anticipated, the results are now in!
      > > >
      > > > 120 respondents is a statistically insignificant set. You cannot draw
      > > > any conclusions from it. If you do, they will be meaningless.
      > >
      > > And how many respondents would be required to achieve statistical
      > > significance? What level of statistical significance?
      > >
      > > - George
      > >
      > > --
      > > ----------------------------------------------------------
      > > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
      > > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
      > > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
      > > ----------------------------------------------------------
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Laurent Bossavit
      Hi Paul, ... I m just getting things off the ground at the moment, so I may have more to tell in a few months. The initiative is called Institut Agile and aims
      Message 55 of 55 , Jul 14, 2010
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        Hi Paul,
        > Well done! Keeps us all posted. In fact can you tells us more?
        >
        I'm just getting things off the ground at the moment, so I may have
        more to tell in a few months. The initiative is called Institut Agile
        and aims at two things, growing the agile business ecosystem and
        getting agile on the map as a research topic on an equivalent footing
        to "software engineering". The scope is (for now) local to France. One
        of the first items on the roadmap is to start establishing a database
        of projects for the purposes of those longitudinal studies I mentioned
        in the article I posted earlier. Another is to get in touch with
        everyone I can find doing research on agile practices (typically in
        software engineering departments) and put them in touch with each other.

        Cheers,
        Laurent Bossavit
        laurent@...
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