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Poker, cake, and an agile survey.

I just passed a group of developers and project managers playing poker in the kitchen, surrounding by plates of cake.  This made me happy.

The "poker" was planning poker - a technique for estimating user stories in agile projects.  The players simultaneously choose values for how much work they think a user story will take.  This approach ensures that everyone gets a say, without one person having to go first and possibly influence the estimate more than they should.

The cake was real cake.  Some of our enterprising project managers are running a home-bake stall to raise money for Children in Need.  Everyone looks well-fed today.

What I was actually going to write about today was the survey that we organised over the summer on the uptake of agile software development and agile techniques in Higher Education across the UK, America and Canada.  We posted the invitation on the UCISA PCMG mailing list and the EDUCAUSE Project mailing list in and were delighted to received feedback from 38 institutions - 21 in the UK and 17 in North America.  The results show some interesting comparisons between the UK and North America on the extent of agile usage and which techniques are most utilised.  You can see the results for yourself at the link below.

Agile survey results

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