Three Questions To Determine If An Organization Is AgileJanuary 30, 2019
Being Agile is a continuous process and a way of thing. One should never expect 100% Agility. Just as every sport is larger than its practitioners no matter how famous they are. The same applies to Agility! There will be areas of improvement, techniques of excellence and some areas of total failure. Just to give a fair idea of Agile progress in an organisation, the three important questions one must ask are as below.
Q1: How often are products fully integrated by the teams?
This question is meant to assess the team functionality and hence organisational Agility from a customer’s point of view. While many people ask how many releases and how frequently releases happen, this may not be a true index value. This is because the question of releases and frequency of releases both depend on the client needs.
A persistently demanding client will have more releases and frequently so with no real way to compare the performance of products. Going a level higher the integration frequency of products is a better index since it does indicate how often projects are released and how quickly. The capacity for being Agile especially in cross-functional teams is a good way to judge the full capacity of the organisation to release marketable products.
Q 2: How would you handle critical issues that cause the timelines or planning to go awry and make achieving them impossible?
This question is directed at measuring leadership Agile commitment. The crisis response is a true indicator of Agility. Critical phases are times when Agile principles need to be put into practice. If the response is that during crisis stages Agile is not employed for resolutions, then the organisation has no commitment to Agility which remains a mere unpracticed fad.
Q 3: Why is your Scrum Master or PO the best?
This question is meant to figure out the dysfunctional areas in organisational Agility. Taking such opinions will assess WHY someone thinks the SM or PO is the best. Many giveaways are available in their opinions. Is the SM dedicated, full-time or distributes his team-time? Most answers will let you know if the SM/PO is effective and meets the team’s needs. You may also hear of SMs who bark orders and tell people how bad their Scrum values are. This is especially true of past Project Managers in the Scrum Master role. This effectively lets the cat out of the bag. Scrum is to be practised at all times and even in personal life. However, when a person is still a project Manager and titled SM, he is more prone to behave as a PM.
Similarly, opinions about the PO also reflect the team Agility. How can a great PO do the real job and still be a good PO without affecting his/her job? A PO needs 100% clarity of project, is able to stay and explain iterations to the team and contribute to a performing Scrum Agile team. If the PO is just attending the meets, then iterations can lead to missed calls, poor clarity and a host of negative Agility scorers.
In conclusion, you may have to understand why these questions are asked and rephrase them. However, 3 questions are not enough to get a complete picture. The pointers in the answers are a good start to understanding company values, team functioning, effective leadership being present and state of Agility. Base your assessment and opinion on these answers.