Agile Software Development – How Agile Are You?

Get insights in your inbox

In a recent blog post, Mark Levison asks, ‘Is there value in the Nokia test?‘ I would say Yes, if used wisely…

Where I work, we liked the idea of using the test to assess how ‘mature’ teams are with agile principles and practices. We also wanted to understand how consistently we had implemented agile across many development teams.

I think for these purposes, a simple test (or survey really) can be an effective place to start.

You can’t judge anything about how effectively teams are applying the principles and practices, however you can use it to understand what a team feels is in place and what is not. As Mark says in his blog post, it’s potentially a good starting point for discussion, either about process improvement or to coach people in the adoption of existing processes.

We asked every member of each team the same questions, in order to make sure that everyone had a say. We plotted the outcomes for each team (and aggregated the answers for all teams), so we could see clearly what we had in place and what we didn’t. We also extended the test to 42 questions to create a more comprehensive view.

Obviously if you only manage one or two teams, you don’t really need a survey like this to know what they do. But when you’re implementing agile on an enterprise-wide scale, and you manage many teams, it’s a useful barometer – but that’s all.