Measuring Transformation Progress?


One more thought. The data is for the teams, not for execs. Oftentimes, we measure changes in our teams as positive or negative based entirely in an emotion. Wouldn’t it be better to temper that with some amount of data?


Definitely interested in participating in a podcast! Let me know how I can help. Thanks!


Hey Zach - can you explain more why you feel that measuring maturity is dangerous? We’ve only been running our program for about a year, and we’re just now really ramping up the rollout to more of our teams, so if there’s some watchouts we should be on the lookout for, I’d definitely appreciate the insight.


For those that said they’d be interested in a podcast (Zach, Tanner, Jen Meyers)…let me put together a high-level agenda and post for review and then we can schedule the conversation. Judging by this thread alone this is a hot-button topic so I’m curious get everyone on a call (potentially arguing with each other :slight_smile: ). Look for an agenda early next week in this thread.



I won’t speak for Zach, but from my perspective, the dangerous part isn’t wanting more insight into maturity. The dangerous part is using questionable metrics to determine how mature a team is.

At my company, we use the Agile Maturity Model, which is a self-assessment tool to measure how mature a team is on the journey. It doesn’t take into consideration anything like velocity, cycle time, happiness or anything of that nature.

Those items are all valuable to measure and can help with things like capacity/release planning (I know, no duh), for the record. I also don’t want to knock Tanner’s dashboard, because those are again awesome things to put together for the team and leadership. Maybe just to tell a different story.

Make sense?


That definitely helps! We use a similar self-inspection spreadsheet that’s focused mainly on measuring the team’s progress towards practicing and exhibiting the principles. It also doesn’t look at anything like velocity or happiness - I can see how those types of metrics can be tough to really measure accurately. Thanks for helping to clarify - I appreciate the additional insight!


It’s dangerous because measuring a concept like “agile maturity” is open to many interpretations, definitions, and milestones. Even things like measuring principles… I question the benefit. Mindset shift isn’t a goal or destination.

I look at the people I admire (like Chris, for example) and realize I’m an agile novice. I gain new insights daily from practitioners around the world. I find myself lost in thought for days after listening to conference talks or reading blogs from our community.

What’s my agile maturity? What really matters here?

For “maturity” I tend to favor methods like a Dreyfus model, where “stages” are primarily described by behaviors. But even then, just because a team might be higher on the scale, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily higher performing.

“Agile maturity” models that I’ve been exposed to tend to treat people where “higher on the scale is better.” I don’t think that’s fair, appropriate, or remotely useful towards the goal of improving working conditions and results with agile.


I feel much the same, @zachbonaker. I remember once trying to think through where I was in my agile journey, but I got nowhere. Why?

The more I know, the more I realize the less I know.

Since then, I’ve framed it differently. How can I help others in their agile journey? That’s what inspired me to beginning contributing to forums like this and writing my own agile blog. I don’t always have the answer and over time, my answer sometimes changes based on new experiences. What I do have are stories to share, some better than others.

Sorry. Off topic, and I’d imagine @chrismurman will remind me again of this soon. :wink: Back to measuring transformation progress. I stand by what I said in a much earlier post. The best measure of a transformation comes back to the agile manifesto:

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

How often are you putting new features/new products in the hands of your customer? The more often, the better.


I thought of 15 inappropriate things to say in response to your compliment Zach and I’m working on accepting them better. Appreciate the kind words.

We all have to have the same attitude though. In my podcast with Colleen I talked about our need as an industry to have a healthy sense of humor about our own abilities and our work in general. If we take ourselves or our maturity too seriously, we miss the point.