Measuring Agility in Software Development

box plot diagram agility assessment

How much agility has this software development team implemented?

Agility Measurement

Agile processes offer companies higher profitability, more satisfied customers and better quality in software development. The Manifesto for Agile Software Development defines four agile values and twelve principles. But how much have the teams established from these agile values and principles? How is the maturity of the implementation of the agile development process? How much have the teams achieved with the continuous improvement over the past months? People love to measure and compare things. Count von Count, fluttering with his bats, laughing out loud. It flashes and thunders. The Count calls out, “Do you want to buy a 42?”

Basics

Before assessing the agility in software development, it is recommend to check the basics are given. For software development you could use Joel Test and for the agile Scrum process model, for example, the guidelines of Henrik Kniberg’s Scrum Checklist.

Self-Assessment Metrics

Questionnaires for self-assessment are a common way to evaluate agility. The questionnaires are answered by each team member (in the case of Scrum including Product Owner and Scrum Master). The diagram can then be displayed as a boxplot diagram - as in the example right above - on a point scale from 0 to 10. There are following three examples of self-assessment metrics.

Agile Karlskrona Test

Mark Seuffert’s simple Agile Karlskrona Test gives after short eleven questions a classification between Level 1 (waterfall) and Level 5 (Agile).

42 Point Test

The test How agile Are You? by Kelly Waters has 42 questions. There is only one point given if what is in demand is actually practiced. The best achievable result is then 42, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

How Agile Are You?

The article series How Agile Are You? Let’s Actually Measure It! by Mark Balbes describes his agile maturity rating. Through an initial assessment, the team can reflect processes, practices and values. The team can monitor its progress at regular intervals. The questions are evaluated with one of six maturity levels, from Level 0 (no ability) to Level 6 (innovative).

Comperative Agility

A commercial tool for agile evaluation is the cloud application Comparative Agility. With a a personalized link each team member will be asked 67 questions in eight sections. The averaged team result can then be compared with the globally collected data. A detailed analysis will explain the differences between your own survey and the entire index or a selected industry sector.

And the Result is 42

Of course you can also develop your own metrics. It is important to measure the degree of agility in software development on a regular basis. This supports the company’s communication for agile transformation and encourages the team on the path to continuous improvement.