Is there any value in team assessments? If so, what? How have you seen them used in the past? What was the source of the assessment? What was the tool used to conduct the assessment?
I like them!
Especially if you can compare results to some history. I run the. 2x a year and use survey monkey.
I’ve also found that principles based questions get a better response than practice/ceremony based questions.
We use them, once a year survey that leads our agile COP in building a backlog for agile stuff to work on. Found this article yesterday that has in depth categories and questions for a maturity model - https://adtmag.com/articles/2015/12/15/balbes-agile-model-0-intro.aspx
Forgive this shameless plug, but I’ve been working on a team assessment tool with Mishkin Berteig. We’re quite proud of it. We’d love if any of you are willing to try it with your own team(s) and give us direct feedback!
It’s free to use and could be done by a Scrum team within an hour – perhaps do it during an upcoming retrospective.
Assessment of things has this intuitive “feels good” or “feels right” response.
That should be a sign it needs to be questioned.
What’s the goal of assessment?
Assessments are dangerous, and can be abused so buyer beware. However, I do see value in them if used for the right purpose.
“Assessment” sounds like an “Audit.” I prefer “Self-Evaluation” in that only the team should be assessing themselves. Also, an environment of “safety” is a prerequisite.
Therefore, I see assessments as no different than any other retrospective exercise, in which the goal should be:
- Gain a common understanding of the team challenges and continuous improvement actions
- Identify areas that you need help, maybe coaching
- Identify external constraints that are slowing you down and provide feedback up the chain
If done properly, organizations can then use assessment data to:
- To identify teams that need coaching
- Identify patterns and organizational constraints that need investment
- Drive Behaviors that align to there mission and values
Organizations should not use assessments to:
- Judge Teams Performance
- Compare Teams
Finally, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to assessments. Every organization is different so a true assessment should be tailored to their unique case and aligns directly to their organizational vision and values.
Your insights align closely with my beliefs. I share your thoughts in entirety.
At a team level, people are “assessing” themselves constantly. If not at a place of “mastery” with Agile (whatever that is), a coach might be offering insights and ideas to facilitate that “assessment.”
However, in my experience with “agile assessments”, implicit “problem solver” assumptions by most management structures leads to the latter two outcomes (comparison, judgement).
I’m currently trying a slight variation on the Spotify Squad Health Check. Works quite well for getting the team thinking and going to focus a retrospective on the results every few months.
I especially like the Pawns or Players rating, gives great insight into how a teams feel about their influence on the product.
I agree with @paul.cutting noted. I’ve used the Spotify Squad Health Check method and called it the “Team Health Check” for my teams. What I like about it is that the team self-assesses themselves and if done right with the team spawns some GREAT conversations within the team. I also use it as a tool to work with management and other layers of the organization to help get the team what they need to get healthier/better in the future. Teams I work with are comfortable doing this once a quarter but I’m wondering 4 times a year is too frequently. Anyone else using this method have thoughts on frequency that works for them?
I actually shared my thoughts on the method in a podcast with Dan Feldman (Agile and Beyond). Give it a listen if you’d like (sorry for the shameless plug but first podcast I ever participated in so kinda proud. )
Lastly @paul.cutting I love the Pawns and Players one as well. My teams really struggle with it but it always has a good conversation around it!