How to do Agile Maturity Assessment - A Practitioners View ?
To measure is to know. If you can not measure it, you can not improve it. – Lord KelvinLike any other assessment, agility maturity assessment also happens at every state of agile implementation & that too frequently. We have used Agile Maturity Assessment in measuring the state of agile implementation at many levels – individual, team, group of teams in a program/portfolio and also at an organization level. And it is tweaked based on relevance. The most common implementation happens at team level. And this is how we do it for a team which is using scrum approach –
Imagine, you are coaching a team for quite some time and now you want to know how healthy they are. Usually, we recommend quarterly rhythm to conduct such assessments.
What do you need to have in place to conduct Agile maturity assessment? At a high level, below are the steps :
Present findings and creating a growth plan with recommendations
Let’s discuss these steps in more detail.Agile Maturity survey – this first step is to design an Agile Maturity survey which is relevant to your teams and project environment. Below is a basic step wise process which has worked for us.
Identify the focus areas that you want to assess like – Clarity of roles & events, Leadership support, continuous improvement, culture, adaptability – anything that in your environment you want to improve by implementing agile ways of working
Survey statements against each focus area – Think of 10-15 easy to understand yet insightful statements against each focus area. Statements should capture the essence of the focus area, check below examples for ‘Culture’ as a focus area.
We think as ONE team and not silos
We understand that change even in later part of development is acceptable
In our team, everybody pulls their work since we do not assign the work
Ensure that you include open ended subjective questions for each focus area
Identify the scale of response that participants will give, for example :
Rating – 1 to 5 where 1 is Not happening & 5 is exceeding expectations
Anything that makes sense to you & it will be easier for participants..
Populate the survey tool. Conducting the assessment online is easier these days and there are tools which can help you with metric views on the data you have collected which will simplify the analysis.
Ensure that the survey pages are organized neatly. We prefer one page for one focus area & the statements it contains.
Few tools we have used – Google forms, SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, LimeSurvey
Blocking stakeholder calendar & Sharing expectations – It’s important to set the context and purpose of the assessment with all the stakeholders to get their buy-in and ensure the effectiveness of the entire process. You will need to do the following :
Book the appointments – Book two appointments with your target team:
First appointment, of 3 hours/team where you as a facilitator of assessment will conduct the assessment and collect the inputs from all the participants
Second appointment, of 2 hours where you will present the findings of the assessment post-analysis and help the team in preparing the growth plan.
Whom should you invite?
Entire scrum team – Product Owner, Development Team/Developers, Scrum Master
Representatives of supporting team (selective participation)
// Selective participation implies, these participants will be having a separate survey to fill which is focused to their role
Reconfirm participation. Ensure that all the participants MUST show up.
Collect the Insights via a Survey Tool
Explain the focus areas & create comfort
Ensure the participants understand the importance of the survey and their responses will be anonymous
Share the links with Scrum Team members
Share the separate focused links with other participant groups – client stakeholders, sponsors, reporting managers, supporting team members & others. Since they may get done sooner hence they may leave.
Kickstart the assessment
Keep a timebox for each ‘Focus Area’ page. Nearly 5-15 min could be needed by participants to respond.
Clarify doubts on statements – right understanding is paramount
Continuity is key.. Incase taking breaks then pls don’t keep it more than 2 min otherwise it is tough to get the hold of participants
Ensure all participants have submitted and tally the count of submissions with your survey dashboard
Remind all to participate in the next appointment to look at the survey report and prepare growth plan
Almost all tools provide facility to download the responses in your preferred format
We prefer to collate following information:
Strong points – choose top 5-8
Weak points – choose top 5-8
Top Agreements & Disagreements – choose top 5-8
Collate Subjective answers
Use Radar chart to show the average scores against each focus area
Inform the top & lowest scoring focus area
Ensure to reword or remove any profanity used 🙂
Present findings and create a growth plan with recommendations
All who have participated in responding to assessments are expected to participate in this event also in its entirety
First part, present
Present the findings that you have prepared
The conversations will be triggered, let it flow
Let it all sink in
Request people to make notes of their key observations for the later part
Second part, growth plan creation
Collect. Probe people about the key improvements that they want to bring it and use some tool to collect all such pointers
Discuss. Show them the improvements that they have shared and try to merge those which are similar. Let’s say we have consolidated them in a list called “GROWTH”
Vote. Ask them all to vote 2 (or any count) against the items in the GROWTH list
Now, identify the top voted items
Shortlist the top 3-5 and add them to a list of GROWTH PLAN
It’s important to have each GROWTH PLAN item to be actionable hence request all the participants to suggest action points
Also, remember to identify the OWNER against each action item who is responsible for getting it done
Once done, reiterate the GROWTH PLAN list and get the consensus on understanding
At conclusion of the event, thank everyone & later share the findings ‘deck’ with everyone
Agile Maturity Assessment is OVER but now the real action is to help the team in achieving the GROWTH PLAN 🙂It may sound like any other assessment but it has its own distincts –
It’s not an audit but a self-assessment
Anonymity of respondents is respected
Your role is to just be a facilitator and the respondents are the main actors
It’s progressive. Happens every quarter and you can compare the scores to analyse
Here’s how a sample Agile Maturity Assessment chart will look like :