Vivek asks what are the signs you use to tell if a team is agile? I prefer not to count the practices they might be using because that is almost too easy (to get wrong).
Example: I remember talking to a person about their team who claimed they did lot of automated testing. They apparently had tests but upon further questioning I found many of their tests didn’t work and hadn’t worked for quite some time. I continued to ask questions about their practices and they mostly seemed excessively ritualistic without the team benefiting from them.
Ticking off a checklist about practices is easy to do, yet hard to do well. I prefer to ask questions with a less explicit goal in mind. I care more about how people do what they do rather than what they are doing right now.
I prefer to look for consistent behaviours across what they are doing that tell me:
- they care about what they’re doing
- they understand why they are doing what they are doing, and actively question when it’s not clear to them
- even better is that they can explain to people why they do what they do as a team and what value each part of their process has (I dare you to try that with your current team)
- they help each other out even if it’s beyond their normal roles because they don’t believe that people fit in boxes perfectly. And most importantly;
- they’re constantly trying to improve the environment they are in.
What other ones do peope look for? I’m sure there are plenty more.
To sumup, I think that they are all commited with the goal, the company and the other members of the team.
I like to say that agile is feedback + improvement, the rest you can discover by yourself.
And that’s why I don’t like to ask the question about a team being agile or not. It’s too easy to get the wrong answers from it.
Patrick – In my post I suggest we measure teams agility by not necessarily what teams are doing by *why* they are doing something. e.g. I mention the use of burn charts to track only multi-iteration progress.