While transitioning to Agile, a major mistake that many organizations make is that they are not sure if the organization has the characteristics essential to successfully make this transition. Then once the transition begins, they realise this existing gap and rectifying it at a later stage is extremely difficult.
Hence, any organization before adopting Agile should conduct an Agile Fitness Test, so as to identify if the company is ready to plunge into Agile. This fitness test will broadly cover the following points:
- Management Hierarchy: It is important to know if the senior management is ready for a more collaborative style of functioning, which the essence of Agile is. If the management has become too used to deliver orders and expecting them to be followed without any consultation, adapting to the Agile Methodology will prove difficult. Also, if the Power Distance between the hierarchies is high, then consultation, negotiation and collaboration will be tough to practice.
- Manager Buy-in: Whether your immediate reporting manager is ready to adopt Agile is extremely important, as basically he becomes more of a facilitator and less of a manager. If the manager’s attitude in this transition process seems to be a concern, it is important to be upfront about it and handle it in the right manner i.e. Get his/her buy in or get someone else in his/her place. For successful transition, this point must be considered carefully.
- Developer Buy-in: It has been found that at least initially, the entire team does not participate the way it is supposed to be in Agile. Developers, testers, Business Analysts etc. many of them take a lot of time to adjust to this new methodology. Many of them also don’t see much benefit in providing any feedback or being a part of the planning process. So, they have to be inducted into Agile Mind-set by proper coaching, so that the actual benefits of this methodology can be reaped.
This readiness assessment has to be quantified and input of all the stakeholders in terms of feedback forms has to be analysed to get a clear picture of where the organization stands viz-a-viz Agile adoption. The risks associated with this transition will also be visible in this assessment, and hence the senior management can do a risk vs. benefit analysis to reach a conclusion of whether to adopt agile methodology or stick with the current methodology.