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Tracking agility

As a coach, I definitely don’t want to apply cookie cutter recipes to the teams I work with. But feedback loops and metrics are at the heart of agility.

Values, principles and practices need to be explained, supported and encouraged. The coach and the team need a shared vision of what good looks like.

One approach I’ve been using at my current client is to establish and maintain a tracker, which looks at 21 different elements related to delivering the right things, delivering things the right way and delivering value fast.

I use a simple scale of 0-5 for each element, with 0 meaning no evidence, through to 5, meaning this is good enough to use as an example with other teams learning to work in this way.

As I observe behaviours, and work with the teams, I make a regular assessment of each element and score the team accordingly. The team and I discuss the scores, and this is a useful framework for explaining not just what we do, but also why we do things.

We visualise the current status of each element on a Big Visible Chart (an Information Radiator) using different coloured post-it notes. Green for example, indicates a 4 or 5. Pink indicates 0, Orange is a 1 or 2 and yellow indicates a 3.

BVC of agility across teams
BVC of agility across teams

Every element has a corresponding index card with a brief explanation of what “good” looks like.

A description of one of the 21 elements.

I create a graph for each team showing trends of the aggregates of the three groups of seven elements (Right thing, Right Way and Fast).

Tracking agility of a team over time
Tracking agility of a team over time

The teams I’ve used it with really like it, and senior stakeholders also like the big picture it provides of increasingly good practice.

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