Whether it concerns agile project management or just the ability to react more rapidly to issues and developments, agility has become a trendy term in leadership circles. Every CEO wants an agile organization. Yet, few leaders have a clear understanding of how this should be accomplished.
As a result, it helps to investigate what it means to be agile and improve agility within your teams and across your business to manage agility within your teams and throughout your company successfully. You can do so with an agile assessment. At the absolute least, establishing agility metrics inside an organization may assist executives in gaining a realistic understanding of their teams’ readiness for change and the company’s overall effect.
In addition, you can use agile metrics to track productivity throughout business processes. This enables both the evaluation of a product’s quality and the tracking of team performance.
However, metrics are sometimes a contentious subject.
On the one hand, we’ve all worked on projects where no data was collected, making it difficult to determine whether we were on pace to meet a deadline or improved our efficiency as we moved forward. Nonetheless, many of us have experienced assignments on projects where statistics were exploited to justify obligatory overtime or to set one team against another.
Thus, it’s no surprise that many companies have a love-hate relationship with analytics. You can change this within your team. An effective agile maturity assessment can help to prevent misconceptions and keep track of your team’s success (and failures) throughout the development cycle.
Why Agile Maturity Metrics are Critical
There are many advantages to evaluating a team’s agile maturity. It helps determine if a team is really agile or just attempting to be agile. When a team goes through the motions without understanding or embracing the agile concepts and ideals, they practice agile. When a team’s perspective and activities align with agile ideas and principles, it becomes agile.
To understand where the team is on the spectrum of doing agile vs. being agile, the team must self-reflect, be honest about their current state and behavior, and create strategies to improve their agility constantly. A team will discover new things about itself as a result of an agile maturity assessment.
Common Agile Assessment Errors
Several variables may contribute to the disparity between planned agility levels and actual agility metrics. One of the primary components is data. Many businesses attempt to quantify agility but use incorrect measures or KPIs at the wrong time or with bad data. As you begin to assess your agility levels, keep these data issues in mind. It is critical to track both business and agile KPIs in any agile organization. Agile metrics are also associated with many elements of the development process, whereas business metrics are concerned with whether or not the product meets market demand.
Further, include many key performance indicators (KPIs) for each activity on the roadmap related to the program’s objectives. Set success criteria for each product need, such as the percentage of code covered by automated tests or the rate at which end users embrace the solution. Hence, teams can become more adaptable and evolutionary as they gain experience.
What About Outsourcing Your Agile Assessment?
Even though testing needs are well-acknowledged and established in agile methods, many organizations continue to struggle to integrate testing and quality into their agile delivery strategies. How can you ensure your agile assessment is thorough and provides reliable results? Well, some organizations opt to work with a partner that appreciates the importance of testing in the development process. For instance, if you’re using agile, you could work with a vendor that doesn’t begin testing until all system requirements have been fulfilled.
Another benefit of working with a partner is the ability to improve your agile processes with assessment techniques based on the Scrum methodology. As a result, you can reduce product cycle time, enabling your business to react to market changes rapidly while remaining profitable.
Further, you can use the analysis to enhance compliance with a range of criteria to reduce failures.
Before selecting your partner, consider their agile assessment techniques and best practices first. You want a vendor that has already completed comparable projects effectively and has distilled years of experience and success. Thus, you can ensure a high-quality evaluation while mitigating errors and turnaround time.
How Often Should You Deploy an Agile Assessment?
It depends on your baseline and where your team is against your transformation objectives. Are you ready to take it up another notch? While metrics should be used to enhance your processes in general, an agile assessment can help to drive a more specific goal. On the other hand, the assessment will be largely outdated once a team and organization have reached a higher degree of adoption maturity and agile has become standard practice.
The pace of change anticipated between assessments should determine how often you reassess. For instance, you may not expect much progress the following 30 days after an agile assessment. In fact, it may take months before you should warrant another evaluation. In contrast, if a team is receiving continuous and targeted coaching, they might be primed for a monthly assessment. The most critical component is to stick to your reassessment schedule once you have determined how often you will have them.
Invariably, agile assessments are always about improving company results. At best, agile techniques are a means to an end. At worst, it may be a source of distraction, causing the business to concentrate on the incorrect improvements. Understanding your company’s goals may help you organize your team around shared objectives, communicate your transformation approach, and identify required compromises. It will also assist in determining whether or not agile adoption is progressing on schedule.
Best Practices for Agile Assessments
Execute an agile assessment that covers the fundamentals and provides you with sufficient knowledge to act. You don’t want to spend time measuring things you’re not going to use. Also, keep things simple. Consider carefully what you add since you may not want to give data on processes that your company isn’t ready to update just yet. Don’t measure areas where your teams have exhibited resistance to change. Because you already know the pertinent issues, an agile assessment will be of little help.
Make a list of the behaviors you expect to see at each level of your team. Mitigate subjectivity and base maturity levels on behavior. Make sure that measurements are not subject to interpretation. Instead, you want to reveal patterns throughout the organization and double-check that the data is correct.
Determine What You Want to Measure, and How You will Implement Assessments
When selecting assessment categories, there are a few factors to keep in mind. It may be helpful to assess how effectively teams adhere to basic agile principles and practices. Examining how the staff interacts with customers, visualize work, prioritize, and follow through on promises may indicate areas where the team has not utilized techniques to improve habits.
Thus, it’s vital to use your agile assessment analysis to drive agile ideas and practices that will help your teams flourish. Refer to the Agile Manifesto and highlight the elements that you believe are important to your teams’ overall success.
Depending on your current agile objectives, you don’t have to measure all 12 principles at once. Continuous improvement, visualization, prioritization, predictability, and customer engagement are all excellent starting points. Collaborate with other ScrumMasters and agile coaches in your network to get valuable information on new assessment subjects. Also, use a neutral facilitator. Leading the evaluation with the assistance of another ScrumMaster or agile coach may put the team at ease.
Additionally, create a safe, unconstrained atmosphere for the agile assessment analysis. Only publish aggregated data so as not to pinpoint any one team member. Remember, there are no bad outcomes, just helpful data you can use to enhance your agile adoption journey. If you need a baseline, you can reassess at least every six months to evaluate outcomes and collect data on how your teams and organization are doing concerning specific objectives.
You should always execute an agile maturity assessment with your team and your organization’s needs in mind. Remove anything you don’t need or that your company can’t measure, and replace it with what you do. Don’t forget the significance of consistency when analyzing assessments. Moreover, always document your analysis and ensure the aggregated results are accessible for your team. If all of these tips seem overwhelming, an experienced agile assessment vendor can help. Talk to us today!