This is a guest article written by David Daly.
Did you know that agile adoption is most popular because it allows for faster delivery of products? However, 75% of respondents did not believe that their organization had an agile culture.
This is my experience. Software teams are expected to deliver new features quicker, be more productive, and create intuitive, easy-to-use applications that are bug free. They are often not given the time or resources to address technical debt, learn new skills, or improve their work processes. Many are constantly being bombarded by new requests and changing priorities.
What can you do? Continue reading to learn more.
The secret recipe to team agility
Three years ago, I was part of a team that developed an open-source DevOps maturity evaluation tool. You can find it here, or see it in action, and it was created with colleagues from Worldline and Atos. This assessment covers seven areas, including technical aspects like architecture and automation as well as organisational aspects like collaboration and culture. One area is team agility. How can a team organize itself to deliver small amounts of software frequently?
These questions were a lot of work. We also sought multiple reviews from other developers, project managers, and team leaders. We set out to accomplish three things. We wanted to answer the following questions:
It is neutral from any particular methodology. We decided to ask how often your product is shippable, rather than asking if your product is delivered in sprints (which would be a Scrum-specific term).
No matter how much or little you know about agile, it should be easy to understand. This questionnaire is not useful if you aren’t an expert in agile to use it.
Simple yes/no answers are easier to understand and quicker to respond to. You’ll notice, for example, that we don’t ask if you have fast loops in place. Instead, we quantify what “faster” means for each type you need.
These are the questions you can use to quickly assess the agility of your team (or any team for that matter). Simply answer each question with a “yes” or a “no”. You might be a good candidate to improve on questions where you answer “no”.
The 5-minute agility self-assessment questionnaire
Q1: Do you have a new version of the product that can be shipped every 1-2 weeks?
Q2: Do you keep track of the following metrics? elapsed time to deliver value changes (from initial request through production), frequency with deployments into production and change failure rate?
Q3: Do your team meet regularly to discuss what is working well, the things that aren’t working well, and what they can do better? What are the top improvement items being implemented?
Q4: Does your team take steps to ensure that there are no bottlenecks for other teams?
Q5: Can any work items that are blocked quickly identified and then people collaborate to correct the situation?
Q6: Is there an established method for prioritizing the backlog?
Q7: Does the team focus on the most important items in the backlog’s backlog?
Q8: Which team member is most experienced and given the last task so that they can focus on the most complex or business-critical problems and help others with cross-functional skills?
Q9: Do the testers, the Product Owner (at minimum every 3 days), customer and end-users receive fast feedback (at most every 2 weeks)?
Q10: What proactive steps can be taken to ensure that there are no incidents?