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Johanna Rothman helps managers and teams solve problems and deliver products. Her most recent book is Manage your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects. You can read her blogs and other writings at Johanna is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 129 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Self Assessment Tool for Transitioning to Agile

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Over on agileconnection, a user asked about a self-assessment tool for measuring agile maturity. That’s not exactly the right question, because agile transition is a journey, not a destination. But, I can understand why he asked the question. I tried to be helpful. I supplied a set of questions to ask. Maybe you can go over there and add more to my list.

I still think the best question is this:

What benefit will you gain from learning this answer?

In any case, here are some questions I supplied to get the questioner (or you) started:

  1. If you are doing iterations, are they four weeks or less? The answer should be yes. Many of us like one or two week iterations. Why? Because you get feedback more often rather than less often. And, you get to see working software.

  2. Do you have demos at the end of each and every iteration? The answer should be yes. Why? To get the feedback from the customer/Product Owner.

  3. Do you get every item in the backlog to done at the end of every iteration? The answer should be yes. For many teams on their journey, the answer is “not yet.” This does not make you bad, it makes you “on your journey.” You want to discover why.

  4. Do you perform retrospectives at the end of each iteration to learn and inspect/adapt to improve your team’s agile process?

  5. Do you look at your work in process and monitor that?

  6. If you use iterations, do you measure your velocity with a burn up chart and make sure it does not look like a hockey stick?

  7. If you are using kanban, do you measure your cycle time? Are you happy with your cycle time? (Did I just use a word that did not make sense to you :-)

  8. Do you measure cumulative flow? (You want to make sure you do not have a lot of work in progress. It does not matter if you use iterations or kanban. This Matters to a team. It matters a lot.)

Gentle readers, do you have feedback for me on these questions?

I wrote Agile is Not for Everyone because I don’t believe in these assessments for agile maturity. However, just because I don’t believe in them is not going to make them go away. Maybe I can be more helpful.

Published at DZone with permission of Johanna Rothman, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Ben Linders replied on Mon, 2014/02/17 - 7:22am

Agile self-assessment help teams to explore how agile they are already and what can be the possible next steps to become more agile and lean. In my recent blog post self-assessing how agile you are I present the results from an open space session about Agile Self-Assessments organized by nlScrum where we discussed why self-assessments matter and how teams can self-assess their agility to become better in what they do. One conclusing from the meetup: Assessing agile mindsets and values matters!

For those interested in doing agile self-assessments there is a list of agile self-assessment checklists and tools that you can use. 

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