Five Fundamental Questions to Assess your Agile Process

question-marks-1000x520Recently I read Mike Sutton’s article in which he describes the misuse of the Scrum framework. He addresses a few relevant topics and practices that I’ve unfortunately also witnessed applied wrong quite often. Examples are Scrum being used as a methodology instead as a framework and all the elements of Scrum are practiced mechanically without really questioning its true purpose.

However, my intention with this post wasn’t starting an in-depth discussing about the misuse of Scrum. It’s the questions Mike presents to assess the quality of an organisation’s way of working that triggered me.

In his article he describes a few simple questions by which the success of an organisation’s process can be checked. The questions explore 5 fundamental concepts:

  1. Value. Do we know the value we seek to deliver and are we consistently delivering the maximum value?
  2. Flow. Do we understand how we reach that value and are we consistently reducing the time and/or increasing the ease by which we reach it?
  3. Quality. Do we understand how good our product and workmanship needs to be and are we consistently and demonstrably achieving it?
  4. Joy. Do we know what we collectively and individually need to be joyful and are we consistently meeting those needs?
  5. Continuous Improvement. Do we know what we need to improve across value, flow, quality and joy and are we demonstrably pursuing those improvements?

Sure, with these questions you can assess any organisation’s process, it’s not specifically restricted to Agile. But being an Agile coach I examine these questions from an Agile perspective. I’ve used these fundamental questions to assess an organisation’s process in a lightweight manner, which resulted in a more in depth discussion and exposed the areas that should be improved.

I hope these questions are also helpful for you to assess your organisation once in while.