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Determining Whether a Team is Agile

 
Scott Ambler
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My December print column How Agile Are You? is now available online. The column describes the issues that I look for in determining whether a team is agile or not. The goal isn't to give teams some sort of "agile gold star" but instead to identify those teams which are claiming to be agile but really aren't. Personally, I'm getting really tired of having to argue with traditionalists which claim that agile doesn't work because they think that a "code and fix" team is agile. This column provides the criteria against which they can judge whether a team is agile or not.

In my experience, agile teams:
1. Can introduce you to their stakeholders, who actively participate on the project.
2. Can show you, and run, their regression test suite.
3. Produce working software on a regular basis.
4. Write high-quality code that is maintained under CM control.
5. Welcome and respond to changing requirements.
6. Take responsibility for failures as well as successes.
7. Automate the drudgery out of their work.

- Scott
 
Frank Carver
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I find it interesting that your list has nothing about collaboration or communication between team members.

I've worked on teams where several individuals might meet these criteria, but I'd be very wary of classifying the team as agile because each team member worked only on a specific area of the project. A "Truck Number" disaster waiting to happen.
 
Ilja Preuss
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Good catch, Frank!
 
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