Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Measure Agile Maturity

Measuring Agile Maturity through both Macro Level and Micro Level.

Agile is not about free thinking or doing without structure, Agile does not take less discipline, but needs more engineering and management discipline, thus, how to measure Agile products or team maturity is both science and art.

It's more about the effective result, not just an artificial "maturity" metrics. Much of Agile is a reaction to the one-size-fits-all attitude of maturity models, which can be satisfied without real improvement. From an organizational perspective, making sure that the right software is developed is far more important than figuring out if the software is developed right. Way too many companies become fixated on the team metrics and making sure that "development is fixed", rather than looking at the product team's behaviors and making sure that appropriate lightweight process to help with the decisions of what software to develop are planned strategically, and the resources are available to make the organization achieve "the best bang for the buck."

The 'C' level executives may like to know something about ROI at macro level upon building the right products and culture. Each organization is different, and even within the same organization, and even if they do better by "being Agile", there is no way to remove the confounding factors (such as luck entering a product space or better market conditions). But this will not stop an organization from measuring components of things that are measurable and will lead to favorable outcomes. At the macro level, Agile should be about how to ensure building the right product and portfolio on value, on time and on a budget.   
-Agile Mindset and Culture
- Business IT alignment
- Portfolio Management
- Portfolio governance

At the micro level, it is more about building the product right, an agile transformation is about - setting up an incubator to groom software development managers who can steer the team in developing complex application continuously by adding value to users and business stakeholders (continuously), these are things matter:
- Predictability of the team delivering to their commitments
- Continuous Improvement mindset exposed via retrospectives and how they are followed through and
- The level of Innovation ( the realm of Unknown Unknowns) the team can generate sprint on sprint.
-Team engagement: Measure people’s comfort level to using Agile and their engagement
-Team adaptability: Record the number of stories prior to starting iteration 0 then at the end of the project record the number of implemented stories (split by original to additional). Find the percentage of change in stories over the project from this.
- Productivity: Ratio of Lead time vs. Cycle time, How quickly can you on board a new resource (0 to 100% velocity)
- Quality: Ratio of defect detection vs. defect prevention

Performance comparison of current process vs. former process: To measure your former process, you would need to have established baseline data with comparable or translatable metrics for comparison. If you don't have that, then you're probably limited to measuring the ongoing improvement of your new process approach. Financial measures are the area where you're almost guaranteed to have prior and comparable data. Performance and satisfaction measures depend on how much you focused on these things before.

The most meaningful measure of Agile success is customer satisfaction. If customer or end-user satisfaction with the software improves after the successful implementation of Agile, then you've likely built a high-quality product that is more focused on customer needs. And the agile maturity measurement needs to say something about being truly agile, not just a lot of saying about doing Agile activities, there are the right mix of strategic (macro) metrics and tactical (micro) metrics needed in measuring things really matter.

Agile focuses on three Is: Iteration, Interaction, and Improvement. agile maturity means both effectiveness- to build the right products with customer satisfaction and efficiency – and to build them right and on time and on a budget. 


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