Agile Assessments

Understanding how agile your team is (or isn't!), is a first step towards increasing agile maturity.

We can provide an impartial assessment of how your team or business is fairing and suggest ways to get to where you want to be.

Agile teams should be aiming for continuous improvement in everything they do - continuous improvement in the products or services they're delivering and continuous improvement in how they work as a team. That's Kaizen.

An agile teams agile maturity is relative to their own specific context and relative to how they've been improving over time.

Why have an agile assessment?

There tends to be two main reasons why we have been asked to provide an independent assessment of a teams agile maturity.

The first is when someone close to or within an agile team spots that the team isn't being as agile as they could be, or that they're getting stuck with something - maybe they're having trouble with planning, maybe their estimates are always way out, maybe there's a difference of opinion in how to be agile.

Whatever the issue or issues, it's probably the case that the team needs some help - maybe some training, coaching or both.

Often the-powers-that-be need convincing, and training and coaching are the last things people want to spend money on.

So our assessment service provides an independent review of the agile maturity of the team together with recommendations to improve their agile maturity - and it's not just about selling more of our services! Sometimes hooking up with local agile meetup groups, going on site visits to see how some other organisations are being agile can be as if not more beneficial than training or coaching.

The second reason tends to occur when the overall knowledge and experience of agile within the organisation is low. Often this is when the organisation has learnt about agile from books or from hiring someone who has some agile experience, perhaps even sending some people on courses that are aligned with an agile way of working - typically on a scrum course or an agile project management course (now there's an oxymoron that we need to blog about - keep your eye peeled for that one!)

In this instance, it's simply that case that the organisation doesn't have enough experience and knowledge to know whether their teams are being agile, and whether they could be more agile.

What does an agile team look like?

For mature agile teams, those that are continually delivering value to users, where the team really is empowered to make decisions, where change is seen as new opportunities - for those teams agile it's just the way they work. It's part of their team and organisation culture.

So when we look to assess agile maturity, we're really looking at the working culture of the team and the organisation.

We look to provide an indication of how effective the team is at delivering value to users, given their current working context as a team and within the organisation.

How do we assess a teams agile maturity?

At Joule Digital we have expertise in agile assessments within the workplace. The primary measure against which we gauge the agile maturity of an organisation are the agile values and principles. However, we don't use them as an out-of-the box objective check-list against which we would simply score an organisation or teams agile maturity. Instead we spend time with teams and organisation to understand how and why teams and organisations work in the way they do. We try to understand the underlying culture.

We observe any regular ceremonies, events or meetings and engage with individuals and teams as they work together day-to-day. We build up a picture of the behaviours and underlying shared values.

It's these that help us understand how agile a team or organisation is, and whether they align more with the values listed on the left or right side of the agile manifesto.

GDS Assessments

For government and government suppliers we can also provide an independent assessment against the GDS Digital Service Standard. Our coaches include ex-GDS Delivery Managers, and our coaches have worked with the GDS Digital Academy designing and delivering many of their courses, as well as helping digital delivery teams in several government departments get through GDS Assessments.

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If your team doesn't seem to be continually improving or agile just doesn't seem to be working, it might be worth thinking about finding out how agile your team really is and get some help to improve their agile ways of working.