Where do you start when you want to measure the success of your agile adoption? One of the most difficult challenges that organizations have is precisely this; how to measure where they are on their agile journey.
For starters, while agile can be a strategy for improving, it’s always problematic when its being treated as a separate stream of work instead of an approach or a set of practices a company is using to improve how they operate or how they deliver a software project.
In the past there have been attempts at creating agile maturity models that try to adapt the CMMI rating system. The challenge with this is that it involves forcing absolutes into each rating bucket and that is not exactly how things work with agile. Most efforts have also been focused largely on Scrum and have not always looked at other agile methodologies or practices to capture a more accurate “state of the union” type view.
I’ve mentioned in other articles that there are many organizations that say “we’ve done agile”; meaning, in most cases, they’ve done Scrum. Larger adoption of agile and an embedded strategy that goes across the wider group requires a different set of lenses. It also requires having a baseline of where you are now. So that brings us to something new that can test this.
Recently, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) worked with Emergn Limited to develop a tool called the Roadmap for Agile Success.
This is an industry first. The intent behind this effort was to avoid the traditional trap of maturity models by focusing more on the continuous nature of an agile transformation that reflects continuous improvement and progress and not making an assumption that maturity in adopting agile thinking and practice is found in a checkbox type system.
Since we’re all very good at throwing around buzzwords, the Roadmap for Agile Success took on a plain language approach to explain the main steps a company would need to address. While it doesn’t address all possible areas, the Roadmap for Agile Success does provide a solid overview to support where most enterprises will likely be in one form or another. In other words it provides a fairly solid baseline that speaks to the most important aspects of the journey.
The tool avoids the rating system approach and rather looks at three measurement areas; Introducing Agile, Developing Agile Capabilities and Continuously Improving Agile. This approach has allowed for the flexibility to ensure the steps are flexible but also specific on certain criteria that would be expected along the journey.
The Roadmap for Agile Success has been initially designed to look at four key areas that an Applications Team would measure in terms of how they are adapting agile practices for scale. These four areas include:
- Agile Project Execution
- Agile Team
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Organization & Environment
Below is an excerpt from the tool to show you how it flows in context.
The Roadmap for Agile Success is available to qualified organizations that want to get a handle on where they are in their journey and what improvements need to be made.
You can learn more about this tool by going to the Roadmap for Agile Success page.
We are delighted to have worked with CEB in developing this tool, knowing it will be shared widely to help bring a benchmark to the market that can give us a wider and broader assessment of how companies are utilizing agile in their respective organizations.