Those who’ve become proponents of Agile after using Agile practices and seeing that they work are often at a loss when prospects ask for hard data instead of anecdotes and “trust me, it works!”. Steve McConnell has hard data on “soft factors” that supports “Individuals and interactions over process and tools“. It’s not new, but I missed it the first time by.
One caveat is that Steve leans heavily on a vetting of the Cocomo II estimation model. He writes:
“In Cocomo II terms, the influence of office environment is 2.6, which is significantly greater than that of process maturity.”
My dim memory on this, which I need to follow his references to check, is that the Cocomo II analysis happened before XP/Agile caught on, so the effect of “an office with a door” didn’t have the XP alternative of “quiet open seating for a team that is doing pair programming” to compare against. When you’re in a prairie dog cube farm, especially if you’re mixed in among people who yack on the phone, an office with a door is a big step up for productivity. A place for a team to work together where the only interruptions are other team members talking about the work the team has in progress can be a bigger step up. Or so it’s claimed. I’ve seen it work, but I need some better data to cite.