With the Agile Disciplines now identified, we can now begin measuring and tracking our progress towards Agility. The ultimate goal of transformation to Software Agility is to internalize a new set of more effective and efficient behaviors into an organization. Effective transformation requires instruments to assess the effect of the transformation over time, to track the growing maturity of the team and ultimately the organization. The Software Agility Practices GPS is Gear Stream’s principal transformation metrics tracking tool kit (secondary tracking metrics are derived from the business drivers analysis performed throughout an agile transformation engagement).
The Software Agility Practice’s GPS (currently v1) is a set of 200+ behaviors that describe constructive agile practices in seven basic skills areas. These skill areas and the essential practices that comprise them are shown in the diagram below.
Each color in the spider diagram indicates the state of an Agile team at a particular point in time. This allows the team and management to see what process is being made over time across the seven key Agile disciplines.
By assessing which behaviors are exhibited by a team in their daily practice, the strength and maturity of the underlying practices can be assessed. Through this assessment process an overall Agility Score can be obtained as well as a score by specific disciplines broken down by the agile practices that comprise it. This Software Agility Assessment can be conducted using an interview with appropriate team members, self-assessment with all team members, or self-management as desired by a team.
- Collaborative Practices: By aligning the team to maximize communication and collaboration, immediate tangible business value can be attributed to an organization’s ability to increase information flow and team velocity.
- Defining Practices: By adopting practices that improve the fidelity of identifying and accurately prioritizing the needs of users, an organization can make significant strides toward accelerating the deployment of software solutions that meet their constantly changing business and customer demands.
- Planning Practices: Today there is enormous waste in both time and cost associated with a project-driven life cycle execution model. With a continuous release, continuous value-driven, incremental funding execution model there are opportunities to radically improve both organizational agility and program through-put and quality by outcomes that can easily exceed 200% or more.
- Tracking Practices: By improving transparency and quality of information flow throughout an organization, critical business decisions can be made confidently and effectively. Organizations that achieve maturity in this agility discipline are in a significantly better position to measure their return-on-investment relative to the improved cadence of software agility.
- Developing Practices: Software agility stems from the ability of a team to leverage development practices that enable them to build quality software in short iterations. The ability to adjust a design to accommodate new business requirements without the churn of “scrap and rebuild” is critical to a team’s ability to commit and deliver on each iteration and release.
- Testing Practices: Since every sprint delivers potentially shippable code into the product baseline, early test case development, and test automation enables teams to support the rapid iteration requirements of Agile software development methods such as Scrum. Tooling that generates test cases, directly from requirements or story cards, will accelerate the development process and provide the inherent traceability needed to prove acceptance of the feature.
- Releasing Practices: Increasing the cadence and predictability of the software release cycle allows organizations that strive for business agility to release working software more reliably. It’s as simple as that.
With a baseline assessment providing overall Agility rating, coupled with an understanding of the maturity of a team or organization for each of the underlying software agility practices, an organization can quickly collect and analyze the data necessary to plan for adaptive execution to improve key skills and practices in their pursuit of business agility.
Click here to download a whitepaper of the Measuring and Managing Agile Maturity series.