Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

May 3, 2019

This week, your host, Dan Neumann, is going solo! He’s going to be talking about Agile assessments, and — using medical terminology — discuss whether it’s a helpful remedy or harmful toxin.


If someone is receiving the right medication for the right ailment, it can be absolutely lifesaving. But if you take that same medication and apply it to the wrong circumstance, it can be incredibly detrimental — such as a toxin, poisoning your system. Dan views Agile assessments in a similar way. They can be super helpful tools for organizations that are trying to understand their current state of agility, or, they can potentially be destructive to team safety and employee morale —  essentially becoming weaponized and destructive to teams.


Join Dan to explore this topic and learn how to properly leverage Agile assessments in your organization!


Key Takeaways

Why organizations look to Agile assessment in the first place:

  • To establish a baseline of performance
  • To look at which teams are doing (or not doing) well
  • To look for areas where help can be applied
  • To validate assumptions

The four categories of gathering assessment:

  • Self-reporting
  • Externally measuring
  • Having an expert come in and observe what’s happening in the teams
  • Looking at the inner workings

Dan’s tips for a successful assessment:

  • Having phases in the assessment and planning with intentionality
  • Know your “why”
  • Collect data and interpret the results in a collaborative way
  • For planning, ask yourself: what do you hope to learn? And what decisions might this enable?
  • Look to Agile survey tools for electronic data collection
  • Look to people and interactions over processes and tools
  • When receiving the assessment, create options for the teams
  • Collaborate with the organization being assessed and those doing the assessment to figure out the next steps and how to move forward collectively

Why an assessment may not serve an organization (AKA: the pitfalls):

  • Help isn’t always helpful; sometimes teams just need to work through a problem and sometimes the intervention of an outsider is not particularly helpful
  • The information is used to evaluate (i.e. ranking teams)
  • Jumping to evaluation and looking to reward or punish

How to go about interpreting the results of an assessment collaboratively:

  • Use open space technology
  • Bring the data
  • Share observations
  • Ask participants to organize around the data and observations and add their own perspective to what is happening
  • Identify patterns and ask the team what they have the energy for turning into action


Mentioned in this Episode:

Slideshare Visual

Comparative Agility

Lean Agile Intelligence


Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on!

Email your thoughts or suggestions to or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!