what does it mean to be agileSo your team is doing Agile development. You adopted Scrum or Kanban, you have dailies, retrospections and other ceremonies. But how agile you and your team truly are?

Wikipedia defines Agile software development as follows:

Agile software development is a set of principles for software development in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing,[1] cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.[2] Agile itself has never defined any specific methods to achieve this, but many have grown up as a result and have been recognized as being ‚Agile’.

 

Rapid and flexible response to change – this is crucial in fast changing world we’re living. In business this is what distinguish successful companies from the rest.

Flexibility means to be able to change priorities quickly and without lost effort. Is it possible to move quickly from one priority to other if stories take more than 2 weeks to complete? 

If you have such stories this should be first signal for you that something is wrong with your development process. You may be at risk that after finished 2 weeks Scrum, priorities will change and you’ll be left with unfinished code, that needs to be left for better times. This is not only ineffective because of hours spent on this code that could be used on something more valuable for the client. Wasted effort can also affect team morale, because no one likes to throw away her work.

What if you can visualise how many issues per week are completed in one week, two weeks or take longer to complete? This will show you a trend for your team and allow you to react timely.

being agile

Each bar on the chart above represents week in your project. Green bar (LT1W) indicates that issue was completed in one week. Orange bar (GT1W) show number of items that were completed between 1 and 2 weeks. Red bar displays issues that exceeded 2 weeks’ development time. Summarising more green the better.

If the red and orange bars are often and high, you may need to discuss with the team what is the reason of such situation. Maybe stories are not granular enough or they could be more descriptive? There might be many different causes of this but you’re lucky because you can try to pinpoint reasons and then check if your solutions are working!

I created scripts in Python and R to create this chart for your project automatically. Take a look here for details: https://github.com/robert-krasinski/TimeToCompleteGraph  

If you’d like to know how agile is your team and how quickly you can adapt to rapidly changing business environment show this chart your team on every retrospection and discuss.