The Complete Guide to Agile Maturity

“The Complete Guide to Agile Maturity” on Smartsheet, March 23, 2023.

How to Improve Agile Maturity

“On the other hand, focusing on capabilities means looking at what people really do,” he says. “Do they really deliver products regularly? Do they respond to requests quickly? If something fails, can they recover quickly? In many organizations, maturity is about meeting a specific set of documented criteria, but capability is about getting better at what you do.”

Alan Zucker

“If the team sees the Agile maturity assessment as a tool for itself, versus a tool for management, it frees them up,” says Alan Zucker, founding principal of Project Management Essentials. “They’re not trying to do things because leadership says we need to be at maturity level x in one area. The team is using this as a way of gauging its own performance and its own improvement over time.”

What is an Agile Maturity Assessment?

A cost-effective and lightweight option for some organizations is to create new assessments to fit their needs. Teams can also base a custom assessment on a suitable free assessment template. In an internal questionnaire, consider limiting the number of assessment areas and focus on elements that a team can influence. For new Agile teams, include questions about how teams prioritize work, their attention to continuous improvement, and their ability to estimate effort. For a scoring scale, you might choose a Likert scale of one to five.

However, opinions about homegrown assessments vary. Zucker says collecting metrics is a double-edged sword because, as management guru Peter Drucker said, what gets measured gets done. But not everything that can be measured matters. “How do we collect metrics, and how do we use metrics?” wonders Zucker. “If we’re using a metric of agility, I would strongly recommend that the organization, rather than coming up with their own measures, use an industry-based tool. If we’re designing a survey, it has to be unbiased. Designing surveys is a specific skill. The words can make us collect biased data.”

Additionally, for an assessment to provide value, you have to consider the benchmark. “Comparing you to me is not very valuable, but comparing me today versus me three months from now, or six months from now — that’s where the value lies,” Zucker explains.