Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Challenges in conducting Agile Assessments

Some challenges that the Agile Center of Excellence could encounter when conducting Agile Assessments, including suggestions to move past the challenges.

1. When teams look at the assessment as an audit, there could be cover-up and manipulation. An Agile CoE can counter this by stressing on the role of the assessor as a Coach and not as an auditor. For his/her part the assessor should work with the team towards implementing the identified Agile areas of improvement so the assessment is a measure of collaborative effort on the part of the assessor-Coach and Agile team.

2. When a single Agile coach has to cater to the assessments of several teams, it spreads the coach too thin. I dont have a golden number which limits the team-coach ratio, but íf there is a situation where one coach has to work with over 4 teams, then the coach could have the Scrum Masters intervene on their behalf. This approach can help mentor Scrum Masters who can mature into coaches. The flip side would be the added delay and loss in transmission through the Scrum Master to the Agile teams.

3. Continuing on handling the coach-team bandwidth challenge and coupled with coach succession challenges, another approach could be to have a team of Agile assessors essentially members of CoE who are Scrum Masters do the assessments. This approach could help ease a single Coach's onus and build assessment abilities in other scrum masters or coaches.
The Assessor-Scrum Masters begin by observing the team in their work environment and ceremonies, followed by an assessment, and concluding with an action plan as agreed with the Scrum Master of the team being assessed.
The Assessor-Coach should stay with the team for at least 3 to 5 assessments so that they get an opportunity to implement Agile ideas and report to the CoE about the plans ahead for each team so that the expectations from the organization are met.

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