I was sent a request to gather my idea on what Agile Maturity looked like from a column writer. Here’s her request:
Here's my thinking: In 2015, I heard many software pro's talk about "Agile maturity." But you had to listen hard to hear the phrase. Nobody shouted it from the rooftops; it’s not a buzzword, or even a new idea. It was more of a whisper, an aside that came up in the context of other topics: continuous delivery, better business alignment, mobile testing—to name a few. Yet it seems to me that this whisper is crucially important – that a mature Agile practice is the key underpinning for successful software development.
But what exactly does "Agile maturity" mean? It appears to run that gamut from advanced beginner teams flush with their first solid success to those are that doing continuous delivery, with high levels of test automation that entails.
What is your definition? Is your Agile mature? What are you working toward?
I was watching ESPN today. It’s spring in North Carolina, early April to be specific, and the Masters golf tournament is scheduled for later this week. So there’s a build up of golf buzz related to it.
I’m not much of a golfer, but even I pay attention to the Masters. It seems to be one of those golf tournaments that have seeped into the fabric of American life. And the Augusta, GA course is incredibly beautiful as well.
But enough of that.
There was an interview today with Bubba Watson. Bubba is a 2-time champion and he won the tournament last year – 2014. Early predictions from the pundits give him a more than reasonable chance to repeat.
As I listened to the interview, I became more and more intrigued with Bubba Watson – the person. And I started to see a correlation between some of his answers and the agile principles and mindset I’ve come to know and love.
I challenged a service organization leader the other day about their agile journey. The firm provides outsourced software development teams – mostly for agile-centric clients. I was asking him about his internal application of agile practices and he asked me the question:
But Bob, when are we “done” with Agile?
From his perspective, his clients were asking for agile aware and literate teams and he was providing them. But he really hadn’t wrapped his head around agility. And he struggled with the notion of adopting agile practices internally.
If you’ve followed my blogging at all, you know that I’ve worked for several companies in the last 6-8 years that have colored my thinking as an agile coach. Sure, I’ve coached a wide variety of other organizations, but there’s nothing like being an employee of a company and assuming the role of technical leader and agile coach to get your attention each day.
One of those companies was iContact (now Vocus), which develops an email marketing SaaS platform. This story comes from my time spent there working with some wonderful development teams.
My partner Josh Anderson and I just finished a Meta-Cast on the topic of self-directed teams. One of our listeners asked us to share our thoughts on handling agile team members who simply wanted to be “told what to do”.
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. In fact, I’ll bet these folks are bright, capable and work very hard. They’re also probably “good people”. So if there is an issue with this in agile teams, what is it? And why would it be a problem?