Maturity Assessment Model for Scrum Teams

2 July 2014


Introduction

Assessing the maturity of Agile teams has been a big challenge for most organizations. The main reasons for this are summed up by two questions:
  • On what basis should the maturity assessment should be done to get the best results?
  • How do we keep it simple to administer?
We can get the expected results from Agile only if we follow the Agile Manifesto and its principles judiciously. So it makes more sense if we assess the teams on the Agile principles, derived from the Agile Manifesto, rather than on anything else.

Hence I am proposing the following simple method of assessing teams based on the Agile principles. You can make your own customization to this per your requirements. For example, you can use ratings other than 1 to 5, or you can name your own maturity levels, or you can have a different maturity-level table, or a different color combination for the various maturity levels, and so on.

Instructions

  1. Each of these points to be rated has been derived from the Agile principles.
  2. The PO, ScrumMaster, and team members must go through each of the points and give their ratings from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.
  3. The coach has to facilitate this activity and ensure that the team members understand each of these points, give their unbiased ratings, and do so without getting influenced by each other's ratings. (One way, for example, could be that coach explains each point clearly to the team members and tells them to put their ratings for each on a post-it. Later all the post-its from all the team members could be compiled.)
  4. Whoever gives an extreme rating, on either the lower or the higher side, has to justify it and that rating can be modified/retained based on the team's and coach's decision.
  5. The average rating for each point is arrived at based on the average of the individual ratings.
  6. The overall averaging rating is arrived at based on the average of individual ratings.
  7. Based on the overall average rating, the team's overall maturity level is determined from the maturity level table.
  8. Based on the weaknesses observed for the various points, the coach should give his comments and suggest possible improvement actions.
Abbreviations used: PO = Product Owner, SM = ScrumMaster, TM = Team Member

Maturity Level Table
Average Overall Rating Range Interpretation - Color
Greater than or equal to 4 Innovative - Green
Greater than or equal to 3, less than 4 Adaptive - Green
Greater than or equal to 2, less than 3 Operating - Amber
Greater than or equal to 1, less than 2 Emerging - Red
Less than 1 Developing - Red
 



Please share your valuable feedback for an improved and robust maturity assessment system. Thank you.


Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



Article Rating

Current rating: 1.6 (5 ratings)

Comments

Tim Baffa, CSM, 7/2/2014 1:57:09 PM
This sounds like an incredibly overcomplicated approach to team evaluation.

As a scrum master, I would resist any attempt to solicit my own ratings on team performance, or to even quantify them in any way. And what value could there possibly be in a PO evaluation of good design practices or a team's technical ability?

From my perspective, the same can be accomplished much easier through simple Genchi Genbutsu (go and see) and working with the team to foster their self-managing abilities.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools! This proposal is simply an unneeded and potentially destructive process.
Zach Bonaker, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 7/2/2014 4:17:55 PM
Couple of concerns:
1. Like @Tim mentioned, is it servant-leadership to rate team members on a arbitrary sliding scale?

2. Should "maturity" for a Product Owner be plotted on the same scale as The Team?

3. What is the perceived value in judging individual performance of a self-organizing team? Deming has taught us too much to ignore!

4. From a statistical perspective, a team average is painting a potentially false picture of what you're trying to assess.

5. I'd much rather explore the meaning of Team comparison to Agile practices across teams/organizations. Try comparativeagility.com... I think you'll be impressed by the data provided.
Marmamula Prashanth Kumar, CSM, 7/3/2014 1:43:09 AM
Hi Tim & Zach,

Thanks for your valuable comments.

Following are my comments based on your feedback.

1.We have to remember that Scrum Master is a Team Member also, so he is giving his own rating here as a team member but not rating the other team members.

2.In a agile setup there is a lot of transparency and I wont think there is anything wrong in PO sharing his perception in good design practices etc as he is the person most interested in the outcome.

3.I agree with your suggestion that go and see is a good idea.

1.Pls understand the my article is on maturity assessment model for the Scrum teams but not for the PO.If you want to do it for
PO then obviously the scale should be different.

2.In my article we are not judging the individual performance but we are measuring how far we are able to satisfy the Agile principles in the perspective of the team.And the perceived value is that we will come to know the teams strength's & weaknesses in terms of the Agile Principles that they have to follow.

3.Team average is just an indicator nothing else here.Our Action plans are not based on the overall team average but on each of these individual principles.Pls refer coach comments section in my above article.

4.I have worked extensively on the Comparative Agility before coming up with my Article. I am not sure how we can rely on Comparative Agility which has 79 questions which is very complicated to administer & which goes against the KISS
one of the Agile principles,it is very generic,demographic factors like the Age of the team, Project Characteristics, Industry,
Project location & geographical distribution are there in the survey but not considered in the overall ratings calculation. And also I
suspect the reliability of the Industry Benchmark because there are many people who does test surveys on comparative Agility site
(Even I did couple them to understand how comparative Agility works).

Regards,
Prashanth.
Sekhar Burra, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 7/3/2014 6:04:06 AM
Prashanth,

My answers to your points are listed below

1. It is highly recommended that Scrum Master is full time, so taking the assumption of Scrum Master being a team member, doesn't work well, and it is against the Scrum Guide recommendation. It may work in your known environment, but ScrumMaster is meant to be full time. Since Scrum Master is a neutral person, he should not rate any team member like a typical manager does.

2. I don't recommend PO giving the feedback on team members on Good design, a self-organizing team must be capable of finding what is a good design by itself. We don't want PO to rate the team on his/her non-core areas.

3. This would be better, if as a a whole team, they give a combined rating after due discussions, rather an individual rate every parameter. To me it is a individual rating, which is against the Agile principles.

4. About comparativeAgility and how it is supposed to work, read directly from Mike Cohn himself
http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/articles/determining-how-agile-you-are-comparatively

Overall, it is a Thumbs down from me :) :)
Marmamula Prashanth Kumar, CSM, 7/7/2014 1:18:17 AM
Sekhar,
Thanks for your feedback.

1)Agile says that Scrum Master is the part of the team whether it is fulltime or parttime & considering his as an outsider goes against the Agile principles. So I won't think it is wrong if a SM gives his own rating.In my above proposed method SM is giving his own rating not rating the team.
2)I won't think there is any restriction on PO to give his feedback on good design because in Agile we talk about cusotmer very much a team member & including him even in retrospectives & customer collaboration as one of the Agile values.
3)Thanks for providing the link.I have gone through the link found the following information which is contradicting what you are saying in the third point.
"With this in mind, Kenny Rubin, Laurie Williams and I created the Comparative Agility assessment (CA), which is available for free online. Like the Shodan Adherence Survey and Agile:EF, a CA assessment can be based on individual responses to survey questions. However, it was also designed to be completed by an experienced ScrumMaster, coach, or consultant on behalf of a team or company based on interviews or observation."


The method I have proposed above is inline with whatever has been said above.

Even comparative Agility does not restrict PO/SM from giving their ratings.

Thanks,
Prashanth.
Marmamula Prashanth Kumar, CSM, 7/7/2014 2:37:13 AM
HI Sekhar,

I cannot accept your thumbs down as the reasons you have given are very small does not have any impact on the overall concept of my proposed method.
I have already mentioned in my article that you can do your customization like If you do not want your POs'/SM's not to rate then fine, you can still go ahead & use it.
Vishal Prasad, CSPO, 7/7/2014 7:54:38 AM
You have defined a simple (good & light weight) process to check how well a team is doing to achieve agility by following the agile principles. Whether it’s required or not may be a personal choice.

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