As coaches, my colleagues and I wanted to offer the teams we support a tool they can use to not only challenge their own agile practices, but also identify their own areas for improvement. After some thought and collaboration, we successfully created a set of “Agile Health Check” cards. Don’t worry, we’ll explain!
Why an Agile Health Check?
Many of the teams we support use agile frameworks (including rituals, artefacts and roles) without necessarily having understood or acquired the agile mindset. So we wanted to offer them a way to take a step back from these frameworks and a look at a range of agile principles, as well as the benefits they can get out of them.
By creating these cards, we wanted to:
- Get back to the basic values of agility and the benefits we are looking to get out of them
- Getting teams to take a step back to look at their agile practices
- Enabling teams to examine their own behavior and identify their own areas for improvement
What we didn’t want:
- The cards becoming a way of assessing or even comparing teams. We deliberately chose not to have a rating system and instead opted for a smiley-based team satisfaction scale. But we are aware that the use of these cards will depend on the willingness of the people who will use them…
- Asking the teams only about agile frameworks. These can be misused as toolboxes to do the same thing as before in a different form (new roles, new rituals, but without necessarily adopting self-organization, collaboration, accepting change, etc.). So we wanted to free ourselves of frameworks to address mindset.
How are the cards structured?
Inspired by Heart Of Agile that gets back to the basics of agility, our 12 cards are structured into 4 themes:
- Inspection and improvement
- Team morale
The front of each card has a general question on an agile principle, and the back features questions to further examine this theme. We propose 4 levels of team satisfaction assessment (no rating). This means the team can self-assess each issue included on the cards then discuss the assessment, particularly identifying areas for improvement.
Here’s an example:
Obviously, these cards will inevitably change over time, based on your feedback and our experience.
Agile Coach & Consultant