What’s the State of Agile Software Development in Bulgaria?

The presented industrial report presents a survey on the state of Agile Software Development in Bulgaria for 2013. It is jointly sponsored by the National Research Fund in Bulgaria (under contract No. DMU 03-04) and Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. The survey was targeted to total of 719 organizations currently developing, maintaining or integrating software product or services in Bulgaria. From these organization, 95 participated in the survey (making a response rate of 13%). Some of the topics covered are: (1) the rate of agile method usage; (2) non usage of agile methods; and (3) usage of agile methods.


A. What?
Agile methods have emerged as an alternative to traditional plan-driven software development methods more than a decade ago. Today they are often considered as the mainstream in software engineering. This is often explained with their potential to overcome the challenges of modern software organizations which are expected to operate in highly dynamic and competitive environments. In such environments speed, quality and cost of software development are crucial for organizational development and survival, and agile methods seem to be successfully delivering on all three fronts through their customer focus, responsiveness to change, iterative and incremental delivery of working software and emphasis on individuals and their interactions.

B. Really?
To examine the popularity of agile methods many industrial surveys have been carried out both at global (as the ones conducted by VersionOne) and national level (as the ones by Xebia in Netherlands and ThoughtWorks in India). Their reports have shown that the adoption rate of agile methods is constantly growing and that the majority of modern organizations are either using them or planning to do so in the near future. Furthermore these reports have provided valuable insights on different aspects of agile methods deployment including obtained benefits (as increased efficiency in managing changing requirements, increased productivity, etc.), barriers to agile adoption (as inappropriate organizational culture, resistance to change, lack of management support, etc.), etc.

C. Why?
As for Bulgaria, no such industrial surveys have been carried out up until now. However interest in Agile Software Development is not missing. This is evident by the formation of professional groups and associations (as Scrum Bulgaria), the orgaization of various trainings and seminars (by Scrum Alliance, David Anderson and others), etc. Therefore such an industrial survey would benefit these communities. Furthermore it would benefit all Bulgarian software organizations by providing them with information on the current state of Agile Software Development in Bulgaria and by giving them the opportunity to compare with the rest of the industry.

D. Who?
This industrial survey is part of the Rapid Research project jointly sponsored by the National Research Fund in Bulgaria (under conctract no. DMU 03-04) and Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. The main objective of the project is to provide valuable inights on the current Agile Software Development adoption trends and challenges, and evaluate the appropriateness of agile methods to the Bulgarian context (taking into account the history, tradation and culture of the Bulgarian software industry). More information about the project, its objectives and the team behind it, could be found on the project‘s official website at www.rapid-project.eu.

E. How many?
The population of the survey was defined as all organizations that were currently developing, maintaining or integrating software products and services in Bulgaria. To the extent of our knowledge such up-to-date global list does not exist, so we limited our target population to organizations which were eigher: (1) members of Bulgarian software and ict clusters, associations and alliances (incl. BASSCOM, BWA, BAIT, CMEES, BCT and ICT Cluster Varna; or (2) registred in some of the most popular Bulgarian business directories including Bulgarian Golden Pages, Invest Bulgaria and Bulgarian Business Catalog.

F. How?
The survey started on 15.06.2012 when personalized cover letters were sent to all target organizations (using their official email address). The participation was voluntary (and confidential) and included the completion of an online questionnaire (consisting of 13 questions). The survey ended on 15.11.2012. the number of responses received was 95 which was a response rate of 13%. From these responses 82 were positive (accepting participation) and 13 were negative (rejecting participation).

Organizational characteristics

A. Ownership

Agile in Bulgaria - Ownership

B. Size

Agile in Bulgaria - Size

C. Age

Agile in Bulgaria - Age

D. Business domains

Agile in Bulgaria - Business Domains

E. Application domains

Agile in Bulgaria - Application Domains

F. Industry

Agile in Bulgaria - Industry

G. Sumary

  • 73% of all participating organizations had a Bulgarian ownership.
  • The most common size of the organizations was under fifty people (80%) with 59% of them having less than ten people directly involved in software development activities.
  • The age of the organizations was relatively high. 44% of the organizations were operating in Bulgaria more than ten years, while the organizations operating more than three years were 89%.
  • The most popular business domains were the development and delivery of in-house software (74%) and the provision of consultancy services (46%). Outsourcing was playing a secondAry role (with 34%). The least prefered business domain was the provision of infrastructural services and support.
  • An interesting observation was that 21% of all participating organizations were developing and delivering open source software.
  • The main application domain of the software was the processing, manupulation and representation of data and information (92%).
  • The development and delivery of computation-dominant software was scarce (6%).
  • the most targeted industries were finance (46%), communication (40%) and construction (38%). The least popular were transportation (18%) and research (16%).

Usage rate of agile methods

A. Usage rate

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Rate

B. Usage rate and organizational characteristics

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Rate, Ownership and Size

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Rate, Age and Business domains

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Rate, Application domains and Industry

C. Summary

  • Agile methods were widely used by the participating organizations (79%). 52% of these organizations were using them partially (applying only specific agile techniques, but not an entire method) and 48% were using them completely (and as prescribed).
  • There was no big difference in the rate of agile method usage in terms of organizational ownership, although they were more likely for organizations with mixed or non-bulgarian ownership.
  • Small and medium sized organizations were using agile methods more rigorously.
  • Large sized organizations tended to prefer the use of specific agile techniques rather than an entire agile method.
  • An interesting observation was that all organizations with more than two hundred fifty people were using (partially or completely) agile methods. This contradicts with the common assumption that agile methods cannot be scaled to large sized organizations.
  • Younger organizations had strong preferences towards agile methods while older organizations were more cautious and used a combination of agile and non-agile methods.
  • There were no significant differences in the use of agile methods in terms of business domains and industries.
  • Agile methods were widely used for the development and deliveRy of systems software, control-dominant and computation-dominant softwaresoftware which is most often associated with traditional plan-driven methods.

Non usage of agile methods

A. Usage Concerns

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Concerns

B. Past Usage Experience

Agile in Bulgaria - Past Usage Experience

C. Future Usage Intention

Agile in Bulgaria - Future Usage Intention

D. Alternative Methods Usage

Agile in Bulgaria - Alternative Methods Usage

E. Summary

  • The most common reason for not using agile methods was the lack of knowledge and expertise in these methods (71%).
  • Other popular reasons were time constraints (53%), budjet constraints (29%) and possible conflict With organizational philosophy and culture (18%).
  • Most of the organizations had no past experience with agile methods (59%).
  • 12% were the organizations which had previously used but consequently abandoned agile methods.
  • 6% of the organizations were planning to incorporate agile methods in the next one year. 35% had no such intentions.
  • Traditional methods were not competing with agile methods. The majority of organizations were either following a custom (in-house) development method (53%) or were not following any formal method at all (41%).
  • The most popular traditional methods were software prototyping (24%), iterative and incremental development(18%) and waterfall (18%).

Usage of agile methods

A. Usage Reasons

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Reasons

B. Usage Experience

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Experience

C. Usage Extent

Agile in Bulgaria - Usage Extent

D. Agile Methods Usage

Agile in Bulgaria - Agile Methods Usage

E. Summary

  • The most common reason for using agile methods was the improvement of organizational performance (71%).
  • Other common reasons were improving teamwork (68%), ensuring high quality of developed / delivered software (63%), increasing organizational flexibility (60%) and building strong customer relationships (57%).
  • Most of the organizations were using agile methods over long period of time. Almost half of the organizations were using them from two to five years and one-fifth over five years.
  • The majority of organizations were using agile methods in some of their projects (55%).
  • The most used agile method was Scrum (58%).
  • Extreme programming (XP) was much less popular (26%).
  • Kanban is still growing in popularity and was used by only 17% of the organizations.
  • 80% of the organizations were using multiple agile methods.

Respondent characteristics

A. Confidence

Agile in Bulgaria - Confidence

B. Position

Agile in Bulgaria - Position

E. Summary

  • 98% of the respondents were confident about their responses.
  • The majority of organizations were represented by thier top level (40%) and middle/low level management (34%).
  • The high level of confidence and representativeness of the respondents guaranteed to some extent that the obtained results reflect the actual state of participating organizations.
  • Due to the limited number of participating organizations (13%), the obtained results could not be generalized to the entire population. However they still have an indicative value.


Agile in Bulgaria - Conclusion

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