Juvenile agile maturity models

Sept 11, 2014  ·  Anthony Boobier

I have a problem where Agile maturity and benchmarking models are used for comparison of where a team should be in their agile practices adoption; a one size fits all approach where teams must conform or they aren’t doing ‘agile right’. This approach is a fixed repeatable answer that conveniently ignores the question.

What value is a benchmark against other teams in other organisations, situations and contexts? agile is not a fixed plan of progression, nothing is that easy. We can’t distill a process of innovation, which is supported by a set of values and principles, into a rote adoption model.

Why measure a set of practices and how mature we are in them? Practices and processes are easy to measure, we have been doing that for many years; it’s called a traditional PMO. Why have we replaced that PMO stage gate governance, with a set of practice maturity gates that we must adhere to?

Agile is an empirical approach of rapid feedback loops. The objective is to deliver value as soon and as frequently as possible, within an environment in which people actually want to work. So if value, feedback and motivation is our measure of progress, shouldn’t we measure and benchmark ourselves against that?

The things that are important to measure are invariably the most difficult. Don’t pat yourself on the back for having implemented an internal practice, that’s only a foundation. That practice is a means to an end. It is there to support delivery of some external measurable value to a customer; to earn or learn.

The benchmark we should therefore use, should be based on measurable goals; on the outcomes and impacts of the value we deliver. An agile maturity model should be how a team improves ‘their why’, not how they measure up to ‘someone else’s how’.

…or am I just being immature ?!

Categories: Agile Coaching.