Are you undertaking an Agile Transformation? Or about to? You will need to do a Maturity Assessment to ensure you are on the right track. In this article we explain what it is, why do one, and what it will achieve.
A central tenet to Agile is that we periodically stop and assess how we work, to improve the process. Because Agile is based on empiricism, we should use data to determine if those improvement efforts are proving effective. Thus, we conduct a maturity assessment with a business to understand where they are on their Agile Transformation journey.
So, what do Maturity Assessments do?
- Provide a baseline understanding of how well you are delivering value to your customers
- Identify what is working well and aspects that can be improved to meet your objectives
- Inform how best to course correct through a combination of coaching, consulting, training, and mentoring
A Maturity Assessment is essential to the growth of an Agile organisation because it provides a baseline from which the organisation can compare its progress toward the goal along their Agile journey. It enables you to drive sustainable change and leadership.
Alan Trivedi, our principal in LA says, “Organisations that integrate maturity assessments into their way of working make better data-driven decisions.”
Early in a business transformation these assessments look at whether teams are adopting Agile, Lean and Design Thinking practices.
Dave Stewart, a project lead in Toronto adds, “Over time the assessments should evolve to look at whether those practices, such as testing product hypotheses, adoption of various DevSecOps practices, or self-organisation in a team, can be attributed to achievement of desired outcomes.”
There are several facets or elements of an organisation that we might consider during a Maturity Assessment.
For example, we might determine whether a Growth Mindset / Culture permeates the organisation, and see whether testing and learning is widely encouraged.
We might consider whether all members of the organisation are equipped with the necessary resources, skills and capabilities to be successful in their respective roles.
Moreover, we might evaluate whether all members of the organisation are entrusted or empowered to act with autonomy in the interest of delivering maximum value to their customers or stakeholders.
Patrick Fitzgerald, a senior consultant in LA says, “Perhaps one of the most critical elements we consider is whether the organisation has a clear, compelling vision to which each member of the organisation is aligned“.
“Having such a vision established and clearly communicated ensures that the collective effort of the team is streamlined, focused, and compounding,” he says.
A maturity assessment requires a diagnostic to understand current state
There are five steps to complete an agile diagnostic:
1. Prepare – set up survey and interview questions
2. Assess – conduct surveys and interviews. Actively listen and observe then dig deeper on questioning to better understand the organisation
3. Analyse – collate survey and interview feedback, interpret and identify emerging themes
4. Recommend – Summarise the results by producing a heatmap of the 7 enablers to boost the organisation’s ability. This heatmap will identify what areas need to be addressed immediately (red), what areas to focus on next (amber) and what areas are performing well (green).
5. Coach – Build a coaching plan based on the heatmap, align on cadence and check in with stakeholders and prepare for launch
There are certain enablers, that must be met, in order for a business to impact its speed of delivery. Maturity assessments will identify these during the assessment, and then provide the means and knowledge to course correct if any of these are lacking. The following list include some (but not all!) the elements which are assessed:
Maturity Assessments identify the following:
- Strong agile leadership capabilities.
- Empowered employees – Teams need to produce output fast and moving decision making to the people doing the work means that those decisions are better informed and made more quickly.
- Have clear prioritisation so teams have clarity and can focus on what matters and will deliver value.
- Autonomy and collaboration – With the right information and mindset, a cross functional team will be able to propose “how” they will deliver the organisation’s goals and objectives.
Everyone must be aligned and have a shared understanding of the organisation’s goals and objectives, the “what”.
- Have a Growth Mindset – Which includes transparency of progress and leaders and teams embracing new ways of working including test and learn behaviours.
- Understand how the career paths will change across the business
What is the output of a Maturity Assessment?
The output from a maturity assessment is an improvement plan with actions to improve teams/uplift capability.
Thanks to the following who assisted in co-authoring this article:
Patrick Fizgerald – Senior Consultant, Los Angeles
Benny Ko – Consultant, Melbourne
Fiona Royall – Senior Consultant, Melbourne
David Stewart – Project Lead, Toronto
Alan Trivedi – Princicpal, Los Angeles
Rachna Verma – Senior Consultant, Sydney