Hands-on Agile: Agile Maturity—Fad, Trend or Holy Grail—Survey Results
The slide-deck summarizes the preliminary findings from a survey among agile practitioners what factors influence the maturity of an agile transition at an organizational and at a team level.
SURVEY INTRODUCTION 2017-10-19:
“This was the best sprint we have ever had. We are becoming (more) agile.” Somehow, a sense of progress always seems to be fuzzy notion when it comes to ‘agile.’ And the question at the heart of all of it is always the same: How do we find out that we are ‘agile’ and are not merely practicing a form of cargo cult version of it?
Providing a path to an ultimate state of being has been a core principle of many teachings in philosophy, sociology, politics, and religion: If you follow this code, if you accept the guidance of your life by the following rules everything will be fine. (And for everyone’s convenience, we provide you with a book, a guide, and probably even a checklist.)
To no one’s surprise, the agile world is not exempt from that. What started with the Manifesto for Agile Software Development — four values and twelve principles that fit on a single page —, was followed by the still light-weight Scrum Guide. Today, the caliber of teaching has changed — just have a look the big picture diagram of SAFe® — and even in the agile world, the path to the promised land seems to be meticulously laid out.
Help us to understand better what the goal of becoming ‘agile’ means for an organization by contributing to this short anonymous survey. It will not take more than five minutes of your valued time. Of course, the results of the survey will be shared at a later stage.
About the Speaker
Agile Coach, Scrum Master, and Product Owner since 2006:
Why Do Organizations Want to
The ‘Why’ Question (1)
“By the end of 2018,
80% of all projects will be agile.”
The ‘Why’ Question (2): Command & Control
21st Century Taylorism:
• Functional silos prevail
• Projects, budgets & initiatives rule
Source: Scientific management (Wikipedia) firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Why’ Question (3): C-Level Motivation
Typically named reasons for doing “Agile”:
• Become more efficient
• Deliver more & faster
• Improve predictability
Actual benefits of becoming “Agile”:
• Create learning organizations
• Autonomy, mastery and purpose
• Minimizing risk, improving ROI
1. Is there a destination or just a journey ahead?
2. Are we on the right route?
3. How do we know we’re making progress?
The ‘Why’ Question (4)
Becoming ‘Agile’ in Practice
The Agile Path (2): Business Agility
Source: Domains of Business Agility email@example.com
The Agile Path (3): Packaged ‘Agile’
Source: SAFe® firstname.lastname@example.org
The Agile Path (4): Agile Onion
Source: What Is Agile?
This can be adopted
Move to a learning
The Agile Path (5): Kniberg’s Scrum Test
The Agile Path (7): Open Issues?
Benefits of an ‘agile maturity model’:
• Six Sigma or ISO 9000 for ‘Agile?’
• How to measure progress?
• What’s the ROI when moving from project- to product-mode?
• Agile patchwork organization:
• Are happy agile islands acceptable?
• Or: Destination Holacracy?
• How to overcome resistance?
The Survey (2): Fundamentals
1. What factors contribute to a team’s growing maturity in agile
2. What maturity levels do you see at a team level?
3. What factors contribute to becoming an ‘agile’ or a learning
4. What maturity levels do you see at an organizational level?
The Survey (4): Autonomy
1. Empower teams (Decisions, accountability)
2. Focus on outcome
3. Respect Scrum values (Commitment, focus, openness, respect,
4. Safety to raise & discuss issues
5. The team handles its own problems (No scrum mom.)
6. Supporting each other as team members (Bonding.)
7. Holding each other accountable (Agile is a team sport.)
The Survey (6): Mastery
• Short feedback loops (User tests, customer development)
• Use of retrospectives
• Continuous team coaching (Guilds, code mentors etc.)
• Stakeholders live up to their responsibilities
• Hands-on experience over credentialism
The Survey (7): Mastery
• T-shaped people
• Active knowledge sharing
• Continuous learning,
• No withholding of knowledge
• Knowledge sharing beyond the product and tech realm
• Budget to attend conferences
• Center of Excellence for Agile
The Survey (8): Mastery
• Cross-functional teams:
• No dependencies w/ other teams,
• End-to-end delivery capability
• Stable, long-living teams
• Support by an experienced scrum master
The Survey (10): Organizational Excellence
• Embrace and celebrate failure (Validate hypotheses by running
• Curiosity as a norm
• Undogmatic attitude, live Shu-Ha-Ri
• Share information and data at all levels,
• No more gated information or information brokers
The Survey (11): Organizational Excellence
• Focus on innovation, quality and business value (No more HIPPOism.)
• Supports of ‘agile’s way of working’ fully
• Enforces ‘agile’ as the core of the company culture
• Respect for roles, principles, and processes (The ‘real’ PO.)
The Survey (12): Organizational Excellence
• Managers to servant leaders
• Trust in people and teams
• Provides tools and facilities necessary to become agile
• Gemba and Kaizen become standard practices
The Survey (13): Organizational Excellence
• Abandon functional silos for cross-functional teams
• Remove redundant middle management layers (Flatten the hierarchy)
• No more command & control, compliance driven management
• HR aligns with requirements of self-organizing teams
• The organizations morphs into a team of teams
The Survey (14): Organizational Excellence
• Shared vision among all actors
• Clear strategy
• Clear priorities
The Survey (15): Organizational Excellence
Business value focus:
• Customer centricity mindset
• Delivering business results
• Shifting the IT focus business needs
• From project budgets to product teams
The Survey (16): Technical Excellence
• Built-in quality:
• Code reviews,
• Test automation,
• Test coverage
• Pair and mob programming
• Practicing Scrum, Kanban, XP
The Survey (17): Technical Excellence
• DevOps: CI, CD (Deployment at will)
• Regular cadence of releases
• Identifying suitable metrics:
• Lead time, cycle time,
• Number of experiments,
• Team health
• Open sourcing code
The Survey (18): Communication & Collaboration
Trust & respect:
• Benefit of the doubt for colleagues
• Safety to disagree
• Candid peer feedback
The Survey (19): Communication & Collaboration
• Constructive disagreement (Disgree, but commit approach.)
• Non-violent communication
The Survey (19): Communication & Collaboration
• Zero tolerance for political games
• No scripted collaboration
• No incentives to withhold knowledge (Or information.)
• No finger-pointing, no blame-game
What Is Next?
Can we apply analytical thinking
–e.g. measuring factors & calculating a state of agility—
to complex social systems?