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Self Assessment Tool for Transitioning to Agile

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.

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