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A List of Agility Tests

How many forms of Agility are there?  I know my friend's dog is a champion at doggy-Agility.  That form of Agility is well know (in the dog community) and it is all about the test.

For the purpose of this list I'm referring to the software development philosophy of Agility (as in Scrum, XP, Lean, etc.).  Since there is only one definition of Agile in the software community - the Agile Manifesto and it's 12 principles; it would appear to be easy to know what Agility meant.  Alas, it is more elusive than a simple Webster's dictionary definition.  There are too many personal and subjective measures.

But is a subjective experience beyond the ability to measure?  No, it is not.  The nature of an Olympic Platform Dive is a subjective event.  Yet it is measured and scored to a high degree of precession and accuracy to determine the winner in an event.  This is the process of moving the subjective beyond the laypersons personal feelings and into the realm of expert opinion.

Every assessment tool used for measure has aspects of reliability and validity.  Do the instruments (surveys) you are using have these aspects quantified?  If not then they are just ad-hoc hunches and in my opinion you are much better off not subjecting a team to them.  Because this form of directive, will prove to the team that you do not believe in good scientific process (after all you have suggested they use an arbitrary instrument of little validity to measure them).  You have also suspended your belief in the Agile Manifesto's "individuals and interaction over processes and tools" by choosing to use a tool when an interaction with the group would achieve the same results.  Results - what results?

What is the expected outcome of an Agility Assessment?  What results are you after?  Most of the companies I've dealt with wish to assess teams agility in hopes of identifying where to concentrate interventions.  Interventions are then designed to address areas in the team's performance where some action is desired to improve that dimension of Agility.  In so many cases one could just as easily ask the team - where do you wish to improve your Agility.  Wow - with just that one question and response (dialogue) not only have you identified a gap but there is an implicit "readiness to change", because they have identified the area for improvement rather than having been told.

List of Agility Assessment Tools
Ben Linders has a list of over 50 agile assessments - doesn't the magnitude of that list prove a point?  There are more agile assessments than there are principle of agile - surely someone is gilding the lily.

For Kanban:
By some measures the light-weight Agile processes have very few rules (about 9 for Scrum).  So how could a test of the process be larger than the process itself e.g. if Scrum only has 9 rules, then a test of scrum would be 9 questions about those rules.

Which Agile Process Should You Choose? a comparative study of Agile processes


Do you know of others - if so please add a comment.

See Also:

Assessments are not evil, however, I believe that if one choses to consume the teams time in performing an assessment then it should be a valid and reliable measure of what you wish to measure. Of all the assessments above I would argue that as of this date (May, 2011) none have been validated. The Nokia test has expert validity (Sutherland) to strongly suggest that it may be valid, however, it's reliability may be questioned as the data that Sutherland sites typically comes from himself (is there a bias conflict within that expert/validation and reliability claim?). My recommendation is the Comparative Agility survey. Rumor has it that Rubin & Cohn are interested in studying the surveys psychometrics (validity & reliability). This survey is very well executed and allows one to compare their relative score to their own over time (longitudinal study) and to other in their industry sector. With over 2400 surveys collected it may be the only large database of Agility surveys in a public domain. Why not chose to support the community by adding your team's assessment to this resource?

Here is a blog post for results of the Comparative Agility Survey on a very agile team I work with back in 2009.

Comments

See Chris Simms article in InfoQ - Measuring Agility, Craftsmanship and Success.

http://www.infoq.com/news/2009/05/Measuring-Agility
Also on InfoQ: What is the value of the Nokia Test?

http://www.infoq.com/news/2008/10/Nokia-Test-Value
Anonymous said…
Scrum Checklist! My Favorite.
http://www.crisp.se/scrum/checklist

Kate
Thanks, Kate - I've been looking for the source of that check list - some times paper is not the best artifact to pass around. I love the one page format of that list - while it may lack in fidelity of a term/concept it is quite useful for the knowledgeable evaluator.

Most Popular on Agile Complexification Inverter

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?



Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: http://tinyurl.com/3br9o6n. Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, then yo…

Do You Put “CSM” After Your Name?

I’ve noticed a new trend—people have been gaining titles. When I was younger, only doctors had initials (like MD) after their names. I always figured that was because society held doctors, and sometime priests (OFM) in such high regard that we wanted to point out their higher learning. I hope it was to encourage others to apply themselves in school and become doctors also. Could it have been boastful?

The Wikipedia describes these “post-nominal initials”:
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. The order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. That’s good enough for me.
So I ask you: is the use of CSM or CSP an appropriate use of post-nominal initials?
If your not an agilista, you may wonder …

David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Agile Story Estimation via Dog Grooming Exercise

Practice story estimation techniques with this exercise in dog grooming.

Related Post:
Affinity Estimating: A How-To by Sterling Barton.
Dogfood David why I feel like an expert in the concept of eating one's own dogfood.
   Slideshare:  Affinity Estimation - Size 60 Stories in about 20 Minutes.
For each dog below, estimate the work effort (size) required to groom the dog.  Assuming that you have the tools and experience to groom dogs.  Grooming includes washing, drying, combing, nail clipping, and hair triming in some cases.


Start with the ever popular:
Golden Retriever (22-24 in, 50-90 lbs).




The short haired Dachshund (15-28 lbs).



The Standard Poodle (15-18in, 40-80 lbs).




Bernese Mountain Dog (25-28 in., 65-120 lbs).




German Shepherd (23-26 in, 50-90 lbs).



Yorkshire terrier (5 in, <10 lbs).




Beagle (13-16 in, 18-35 lbs).



Boxer (26-31 in, 55-110 lbs).




Bulldog (40-55 lbs).





Labrador Retriever (21-25 in, 55-130 lbs).





Great Dane (28-38 in, 120-200 lbs).




Komondor (25-32 in, 90-130 lbs).


Situational Leadership II Model & Theory

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the technique needed to move forward was one thing, yet the person leading (your leader) assumed something else was what was needed?  Did you feel misaligned, unheard, marginalized?  Would you believe that 54% of all leaders only use ONE style of leadership - regardless of the situation?  Does that one style of leading work well for the many levels of development we see on a team?

Perhaps your team should investigate one of the most widely used leadership models in the world ("used to train over 5 million managers in the world’s most respected organizations").  And it's not just for the leaders.  The training is most effective when everyone receives the training and uses the model.  The use of a ubiquitous language on your team is a collaboration accelerator.  When everyone is using the same mental model, speaking the same vernacular hours of frustration and discussion may be curtailed, and alignment achieved, outcomes …