Are We Agile Yet? Are We Agile Yet?

Are We Agile Yet?   Are We Agile Yet?


Bob Maksimchuk, Principal Consultant

Project Pragmatics, LLC


That question is not nearly as irritating as “Are we there yet?” being chanted ceaselessly from the backseat on a long summer road trip.  But I have heard it asked in many development shops who are trying to “become agile”.  The question is somewhat puzzling.  What is the real intent of their question?  Are they looking for a blessing “Yea, thou art agile.  Now go forth and Scrum.”?  Is “agile” a badge they are looking to wear?  If so, they are missing the point.  They need to ask a better question.


Agile is more about the journey than a specific destination.  You should maintain awareness of how well the journey is going instead of how long you’ve been traveling.  How can we explain this, in a simple manner, to those who don’t yet grasp the purpose of agility or never understood the values that agility promotes?  Ask instead how well you are doing in achieving or following the various agile principles, such as:


  • Are you focused on customer satisfaction or don’t you know who your stakeholders are?
  • Are you delivering value early or focused on just getting the code out?
  • Are you working at a sustainable pace or are you still having “death marches” and “tiger teams”?
When your bosses ask “Are we agile yet?” you can use a simple dashboard like the one below, based on a number of the agile principles. 



Depict the agile principles that your organization wants or needs to focus on.  Label the scales as appropriate for your organization (maybe even with your stakeholders’ help).  For example, regarding Collaboration with the Business, your scale may range from: Daily (best), Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, to Who is Our Customer (worst).  Honestly assess where you are on the scale and assess your progress on each item.  Then you will be able to give a balanced and more meaningful answer to the dreaded question.  Plus, your dashboard will provide a view as to what direction your team needs to progress on your agile journey.


Even if you’re not “there yet”, at least you’ll know where you’ve been and see where you need to go.  You will have a reasonable, pragmatic answer.  And you won’t even have to stop the car.






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