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Measuring Software Value Using a Team Health Assessment

AgilityHealthSoftware development is a team effort. Agile software development, in particular, depends on a high level of communication between team members. In order to be able to improve the business value they are delivering, it is important that the software development teams conduct regular self-assessments. By taking the time to conduct an in-depth assessment of the key areas that impact team performance and health, an organization can make modifications to their processes to enable continual improvement that can lead to increased business value. 

In Agile, teams typically rely on sprint retrospectives to analyze their performance for continuous improvement. The challenge is that these events are team- and sprint-specific and often become wasteful ceremonies in that they don’t add any new value. 

It is common for the team to reach a point where they have discussed and fixed the things they can fix and the things they can’t fix require organizational intervention, which is outside their span of control. It is easy – and probably correct – for teams in this situation to conclude that sprint retrospectives should be abandoned because, from a lean perspective, they are not adding value and so represent waste to be removed.    

Over the years, our team has leveraged the AgilityHealth℠ Radar (AHR) TeamHealth Assessment as an event to review team dynamics on a quarterly basis. This structured, facilitated event is an opportunity for a more strategic review than the sprint retrospective typically allows..

There are five vital areas that can impact the health of an Agile team: Clarity, Performance, Leadership, Culture, and Foundation. Each should be carefully evaluated to help the team identify their strengths, areas of improvements and top impediments to growth. From there, a growth plan outlining the target outcomes for the following few months can be developed.

The true value of an assessment like this comes from the open and honest conversations that take place enabling the team to evaluate their performance and outcomes and continually improve their processes for the future.    

Does your software development team regularly assess the team’s performance and make adjustments for future growth?  If so, is there a specific methodology your organization uses?

Mike Harris

Written by Michael D. Harris at 10:09
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AgilityHealth Radar: Release Updates

AgilityHealth Radar

In partnership with AgilityHealth (and as AgilityHealth Facilitators), we offer the TeamHealth Retrospective, a strategic retrospective that focuses on the top areas that affect team performance and health. We guide Agile teams through the retrospective process, in order to discover their strengths, areas of improvement, and impediments to growth, culminating with the development of an actionable growth plan for the next quarter. Yes, this process should ideally be repeated on a quarterly basis for ultimate benefit. 

For those unfamiliar, AgilityHealth is powerful Agile assessment and organizational growth tool designed for companies that have scaled Agile and want visibility into the performance and health of their teams and enterprise.

Like any tool or framework, AgilityHealth is updated over time. As many of our clients use it, we wanted to share where you can find all the latest updates on the AgilityHealth website. This webpage lists all the features associated with each update of the framework.

As of this blog post, the tool is now in version 6.05. 

If you have any questions about the tool or about the TeamHealth Retrospective, let us know! We're happy to discuss its benefits, which we've seen first-hand. Stay tuned for future updates!

Written by Default at 05:00
Categories :

5000-1 Foxes in the Henhouse

Steve KitchingIn the past week, we have seen one of the most remarkable sporting achievements by an unlikely underdog here in the UK. Leicester City FC, of the English Premier League, won the league with two games to spare, beating illustrious teams such as Manchester United and Chelsea to the top.

This was a team with no stars; in fact, it barely escaped relegation a year before, which bookmakers made 5000-1 outsiders to win the title.

How did they do it? Some say it was the discovery and subsequent reburial of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral after his remains were found in a local carpark, bringing the team this run of good fortune.

The truth is that the victory was due to an incredible display of teamwork and commitment. There were no egos, just a drive to perform and support each other to consistently deliver results time after time.

Other teams failed, including my local side, Newcastle, where egos and attitudes ruled and so performances and results degraded.

Why am I talking about this on a software blog? We can all relate this situation to our experience of teamwork in the IT world. I’ve worked on teams where egos dominated. Whoever shouted the loudest would win, and inevitably the team would struggle to meet its goals. Compare this to teams who worked together harmoniously and delivered the goods time after time. The way a team works together directly affects the results.

This lesson can apply to any team in the IT space, but the mantra of teamwork should shine most predominantly in the Agile space, where the team(s) should pull together for a common goal.

How do you improve team culture and habits? We suggest the AgilityHealth Radar, which is a strategic retrospective that focuses on the top areas that affect team performance and health. With the results, there is a clear path forward to improved team culture and thus improved results.

So, are you a Leicester or something else entirely?

Steve Kitching
Estimation Specialist

Written by Steve Kitching at 05:00

A Network of Teams

Mike HarrisAgile development is all about teamwork. The members of a team need to effectively communicate and coordinate to finish a piece of work. There are many benefits to the framework’s reliance on teams (and with teamwork in general). But, like anything else, there are drawbacks. We’ve seen these firsthand with our AgilityHealth Radar Team Retrospectives, which breakdown the issues a team is experiencing.

This is why I found the article “Team spirit” in the March 19th edition of The Economist so interesting. The article shares findings from the “Global Human Capital Trends” report by Deloitte, stating that teamwork has reached a new high in organizations.

On the whole, companies are seeking cross-disciplinary teams that focus on one particular product, problem or customer – no more silos! These teams have the power to manage themselves and they spend markedly less time reporting upwards. Given the rise of Agile (in departments beyond just IT), this is no surprise.

But, like we’ve seen with the Agile teams we evaluate, teamwork fosters its own set of issues:

  • Temporary contractors make it difficult to achieve a common culture.
  • Groupthink can be unavoidable.
  • Teamwork may result in confusion, delay and poor decision-making.

Ultimately, there needs to be more discussion about how to manage teams – like the conversation facilitated by AgilityHealth Radar. And that discussion needs to be put into action. Shifting to a new model is easy enough, but it’s necessary to analyze and tweak that model to continue to progress.

Read the article: “Team Spirit,” The Economist

Mike Harris

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00

"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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