Monday, October 20, 2008

How do I know if I'm Agile?

There are a lot of discussions around Agile and the minimal requirements. I agree that there are many in the industry slapping the agile name on their process because of the positive association. Of course, this only leads to the dilution of the term's value.

There are also many who are pushing back on this and taking too strict of a tone and painting a black and white line. To them, you are either in or out. Of course, these are the same people who will acknowledge it takes months for a team or organization to grow into agile... it's not an overnight transition.

Taking that into account, I typically look at it through one of these lenses:
  • The organization is not agile, and does not care to be
  • The organization is interested in agile, but does not know enough to pursue it yet
  • The organization is going agile without knowing it due to internal coaches who dare not utter the word "agile" for fear of ruining the current momentum
  • The organization is striving towards agile intentionally, but can not call itself agile yet because it has too many areas to still work on.
  • The organization thinks it is agile, but this is limited to what it knows
  • The organization is a leading example of agile, but now the burden is on them to keep pushing the envelope
  • The organization states they are agile, but are lying.
Note how the last bullet accounts for the groups who jump right in without taking the journey down the path.

I've seen tests for agile before, like this nokia test for agility. But personally, if you are just trying to get a simple start to it, I prefer using Cockburn's Crystal test. My group has shifted points 1-6 to a positive position, and now needs to work heavily on #7 before saying we are almost agile.


  1. Good post. Alistair test is something I like as well.

  2. The link to Cockburn's Crystal test now is :