A staged approach to agility enhancement

The one and only immediate benefit of moving to agile methods from the traditional waterfall models is the ability to fail fast, than on the last day. This provides more time for recovery. If the organization is willing to nurture their agile initiative for a while, then they can expect the real benefits of transparency and productivity improvement.Without this realistic expectation, any organization embracing agile as a silver bullet solution to all their issues can get disappointed very fast and abandon their agile journey.

A focused, time boxed realistic road map for the agile implementation, will provide the real strategic business advantage to the organization. Based on my experience with agile teams , I have coined the agile implementation model for implementing agile within organizations. The only objective of this staged approach is to set the right expectations out of agile and to provide a road map for organizations to nurture their agility.

Level – 0

An aspiring organization, which is very new to agile project management practices. Most of the work happens in an ad hoc manner, or are based on waterfall, CMM, ISO etc.

Level-1 (Agile project management partial)

General awareness on the right agile management methodology is imparted to some teams, and they have started implementing tailored agile in their respective teams. Mindset still remains waterfall. Definition of done is ready for testing. Testing teams still work in the independent testing mode. Work allocation and tracking happens as in the traditional project management teams. Still they get some benefits.

Level-2 (Agile project management fully implemented)

At this stage, all the key agile project management practices given below are implemented.
• Product backlog
• User stories and estimation using story points
• Estimation using poker
• Acceptance test cases are written and documented before the sprint
• Sprint planning
• Work volunteering
• Daily stand up meetings
• Tracking Sprint board and burn down charts
• Sprint review meetings
• Lessons learned exercises
• Velocity calculations
• Role clarities scrum master, product owner, team members
• Tool usage for multi-location collaboration

Level-3 (Agile engineering practices implemented, Scaled)

At this stage the core engineering practices given below are adopted;
• Adherence to coding standards
• Create the unit test first
• Pair programming
• Integrate code at a time
• Integrate often
• Acceptance test automation

Level -4 (Agile HR practice implemented)

• Alignment of the HR practices to the agile values like commitment, focus, openness, respect and courage.


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