Saturday, September 19, 2009

Agile Assessment tool

I am in the process of creating an Agile assessment tool. The assessment questionnaire would cover the following areas.
  1. Fundamentals of Agile
  2. Scrum concepts and practices
  3. Engineering Practices
  4. Workspace related
Fundamentals of Agile would cover questions around 4 Values and 12 principles of Agile

Scrum concepts and practices would have questions around 3 roles, 3 artifacts and 3 ceremonies. Specifically the team section would cover self organizing teams, cross functional teams

Engineering Practices section covers practices from XP (TDD, Coding Standards, CI, etc)

Workspace, as the name itself implies would cover topics like seat arrangement and other environment related topics such as use of Post-it notes, white boards, etc

The differentiating factor between the assessment tool that I am creating and other popular ones like NokiaTest is the granularity of the questions. Many Agile assessment questions that I have come across are at coarse grained level. I am in the process of creating fine grained questions.

According to me Questions like the following are coarse grained
  • Do you do scrum Meeting ?
  • Does your product owner prioritizes the requirement ?
Questions like the following ones are fine grained
  • Do you ask the 3 questions during Scrum Meeting ?
  • Do you do the meeting at the same place and same time each day ?
In the example above, the coarse grained questions around Scrum Meeting won't tell you if the team (specifically a novice Agile team) is practicing the Scrum Meeting in the right way.
The tool I am creating would ward off such differences in understanding of concepts and ensures to check consistent understanding of popular practices across the organization.


Paul said...

Agile assessment tools are becoming harder to create because they tend to focus on specific practices while more teams are evolving variations on the traditional XP and Scrum by the book approach to agile development. For example, a team could be very agile and working in line with all of the agile principles using a kanban approach that doesn't strictly follow any of the prescribed Scrum practices. A good assessment would determine not whether they are using the practices, but whether they understand the principles.

Venkatesh Krishnamurthy said...

I agree it is difficult to assess the agility. Having said that, I also beleive that understanding of the principles could be measured by checking the translated practices at a deeper fine grained level.