Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leading by Questioning: Is your Team Really Agile?

The competency of agile is to promote value to the organization. 

The spirit of agility is about continually changing best or next practices over time with the intent to do things better. The magic question is whether you want to see they practice change or the effect of the practice change. Of course it's the effect of the changes that matters! Now to go deeper, is Agile bringing the value to the organization? How to use the Agile manifesto and principles to drive questions? How shall you make Agile inquiries both from strategic and tactical perspectives?

-Why do so many people measure agile practices and team value instead of value to the organization? Even harder question - what is value to the organization and how do you measure it?
-If there is a difficulty with the context that makes it hard to be agile, would your first thought be to adapt the process, or to adapt the context?
-Sprint after sprint, month after month, are you touching real accumulative improvement and thus becoming better?
-Do they work to delivering features rather than just requirements?  Is quality more important than process, deadlines, or technical coolness? (It implies that the organization truly knows what quality actually is beyond freedom from defects)?
-Do they have a P.O. who is active? What would your Product Owner say about the team and its performance? Do they have daily synch meetings? (Stand-ups)? Are there frequent demos of working product? Do they have iterations? Do they have retrospectives? Is there continuous integration in some form? 
- Are customers (or at least strong customer advocates) frequently involved in reviews, priority-setting, and decision-making about the product? 
-Do teams work in small batches rather than big up-front requirements, design, plans? Is collaboration encouraged among teams across disciplines? No organizational silos? 
-Are teams supported with the authority to structure their work and forge their own commitments or is management required to make decisions and assign work? 
-Are innovation and creativity promoted and recognized? Are teams allowed to fail and learn from their failure? Are transparency and openness in communication and status encouraged or do teams feel they have to spin "bad" news? Does management value the truth or just what they want to hear? 
Is the team empowered to solve its own problems? Does the team think of requirements changes as a good thing? Do you get a buzz out of improving the way your team works?  Does the team value each and every team member?
- Are you enjoying the evolutionary journey that the Agile transformation is, how do you assess agile maturity? 
- Are you acting/behaving with agility?
- Are you delivering value every sprint? 
- Are you continually improving your process? 
- Are you improving your ability to work together and your collaboration? 
- Are you increasing velocity or have you peaked? 
- Are you considering your team to be High Performance yet? (rare) 
Leading by questions in both strategic and tactical perspectives, the purpose is to clarify the goal, make continuous improvement, from doing agile to being agile.


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