Do you have an agile organization?

Hi guys, I spent my last two weeks in Portugal where I had the opportunity to give two workshops. The first one can be found here: “Why to move to Agile” and the second one here: “Product Owner“. Soon you can find dedicated blogs about these presentations. There were several discussions about how difficult it is to change into an Agile culture.

Sometimes companies are not yet ready to change. In these situations we need to decide if we want to help companies to understand that a change is a must or we will start to look for a new job where companies are eager to implement Agile. During these workshops I had some ideas that I wanted to share with all of you.

Imagine that you have an initial conversation with a person in a company where  you have just started to work. How can you see if the company is a truly agile organization? I had some ideas about what you can ask to see if the organization is an Agile Organization.

You can start to ask about concrete aspects, for example:

How often is the product released to the customer?

If they release the product several times per year it is a good sign.

Do they have a ready product that could be ship-able at the end of each iteration?

A truly Agile organization can release a product at the end of each iteration if they want. If regression testing is needed, there is a space for improvement.

Who is the ultimate responsible person for the quality?

In a truly Agile organization the team is the ultimate responsible for the quality. When a product owner accepts the stories as DONE it means that everything was accomplished in order to have the maximum quality in the product. I believe the organization does not need anyone else to put the stamp “Ready to Release”.

Is all team collocated? Is the product owner located with the team?

Nowadays it is quite difficult to find a team that is collocated, however if you want to take the maximum advantage of Agile, teams should collocated with the product owner and this should be always available to answer all questions made by the team.

Is the team able to deliver software independently?

I refer this question here because I saw several examples during my professional life where companies say they do Agile but in reality they just call themselves “Agile”, being all their practices normal waterfall techniques. like having the teams separated into several different groups like “development”, “testing”, “automation”, etc.

You can try to ask some “open questions”, these questions will serve to analyse the company´s vision.

What is the organization´s vision related to Agile;
Is Agile just a project management methodology or is it more a management philosophy?

Unfortunately many companies see Agile as a project management “thing”, they really do not understand how powerful an Agile and Lean philosophy can be.

How do they measure the Agility of their organization! And what is the plan to expand it even more.

Of course these are open and no right answer type of questions but it would give you an insight how the organization is serious about Agile. To finalize I would end in my opinion with an extremely important topic. Try to understand what is the organization´s view about:

“Command and Control” approach versus “Empowerment of people”.

This is extremely important, true Agile cannot be done if you do not give all the freedom to people. Empowering people is a powerful tool USE IT!

Please note there are no right or wrong answers… These ideas were just to help you to see how the company sees Agile. I hope these ideas were useful for you.

As always, your feedback and ideas are important. Please leave some comments ;)

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Do you have an agile organization?
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  1. Reply

    Luis,

    Nice article. Very good from the point of view of the scrummaster.

    I find that managers, particularly executives, aren’t terribly interested in “being agile.” Some years back I came up with a different list of questions to help them. It’s a short list, but intended to trigger some significant thought. Perhaps you’d be interested in http://blog.gdinwiddie.com/2009/08/18/diy-projectprocess-evaluation-kit/

    – George

    • Reply

      Thank you so much :).

      I saw your post… Really good stuff as well :) I did bookmark it ;)

      Thanks
      Luis

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