Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Look Before You Leap - Agile Readiness Assessments Done Right

At Agile 2010, Gerry Kirk and Michael Sahota led a workshop on Agile assessments. The format was more like an open space discussion where Gerry and Michael started out by asking the group to come up with some objectives for having an assessment:
  • Tuning of training according to needs
  • Maximizing value and effectiveness of training
  • Revealing constraints, building trust
  • Finding out motivations for going agile
  • Figuring out pain points
  • Deciding where to focus
  • Understanding fears smell
  • Understanding the state across of the organization
  • Defining success
  • Figuring out where the organization is currently at and their current practices
  • Setting the right expectations
  • Making the transition owned internally
Next Gerry and Michael suggested a format for the assessment and define 4 parts: Preparation, Data collection, Analysis, and Recommendation and next steps. They suggested that each group brainstorms and comes up with ideas for all the parts. They started us out with the following examples:
  • Prepare: 12 question survey from break all the rules
  • Data analysis: Lean value stream mapping with x-functional work group to show process and lead time
  • Analysis: From interviews write stickies for culture, technology, product, people, process
  • Recommendation and next step: Meet with key decision makers and workers to create a transition backlog

Next, each of the groups tried to come up with their own ideas but non where as detailed as the ones provided by Gerry and Michael. Below is a summary of what the teams came up with

  • Prepare checklist for us and the client
  • Conduct outside research on organization
  • Learn the organizational structure
  • Identify sponsors and stakeholders
  • Find a champion
  • Prepare non attribution statement
  • Present readiness and process group
  • Establish point of contacts for all logistics
  • Conduct survey to figure out current process
  • Conduct Schneider culture survey
  • Conduct a survey to gauge urgency for change and current company health
  • Compile a list of various articles, videos on agile introductory topics
  • Present a related experience report
  • Get organization aware of agile through training

Data collection:
  • Meet the team and the leaders
  • Observe the team at work and identify the different roles
  • Identify and document current agile practices
  • Identify and document current agile non practices
  • Document the current approach for managing and organizing work
  • Document the goals of the movement to agile from execs to team members
  • Create a baseline metric

  • Determine waste in value stream map
  • Perform Kano analysis on techniques
  • Try to identify potential pilot project and pilot team
  • Look for feelings by team
  • Look for variation in perspective
  • Distill interview into mindmaps
  • Look for often mentioned bottle necks
  • Perform futurespective (innovation game)

Recommendations and next step:
  • Create statement of work on improvement goals
  • Create cross functional transition team and backlog
  • Establish target metrics
  • Create training plans
  • Create transition timeline with goals
  • Have a workshop for executives to share findings
  • Establish ground rules and agreement
  • Perform retrospective to improve future assessments

This is all very much a work in progress and Gerry and Michael are going to continue to gather ideas and eventually publish an assessment guideline.