Guide to Building an Agile Maturity Model

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 23, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021

Updated February 23, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

Companies often look for new ways to improve their processes and meet their business objectives. Many organizations choose to implement an Agile workflow to help their teams break large projects into smaller tasks, increase productivity and encourage collaboration.

In this article, we explain what an Agile maturity model is, the benefits of implementing it and some steps you can take to use an Agile maturity model in your organization.

Related: Using the Agile Project Management Methodology

What is an Agile maturity model?

An Agile maturity model is a tool teams can use to assess and improve their organizational processes. While many teams start using the Agile maturity model when they first decide to implement an Agile framework, such as Scrum or Kanban, you can begin using this tool at any point to determine how advanced your team's Agile workflow is. Using the Agile maturity model can help you identify areas for improvement and establish goals to elevate the way your team works.

Related: Comprehensive Guide to the Values and Principles of Agile Software Development

What are the levels of an Agile maturity model?

Understanding what the different levels of an Agile maturity model are can help you identify which category your team is currently in and what steps you can take to improve your processes. Here are the different levels of an agile maturity model:

Pre-crawl

During the pre-crawl phase, the team has yet to implement the Agile workflow methodology. They may not have heard of this strategy yet, but they're starting to realize there must be a more effective way to accomplish their work. Often, teams come to this realization because they feel like they're at a standstill. They may find it challenging to meet deadlines, adapt to change or deliver value through their finished projects. Management and team members may also see that there's room for improvement regarding communication, decision-making and task delegation.

Related: What Are Agile Frameworks? (Plus How To Choose One)

Crawl

If your team is in the crawl phase, you may be testing out one or two Agile practices. As you explore different Agile frameworks, you may start to see some success. Communication may improve, productivity may increase and your team may feel reinvigorated to complete their work. However, team members may still be working on too many tasks at one time, which can lead to stress and diminished quality.

In order to continue building on these practices and move to the next level, it's crucial to make sure management understands how your chosen Agile framework functions so they can support your team.

Related: Agile vs. Waterfall vs. Scrum vs. Kanban

Walk

During the walk phase, managers and company leaders are beginning to recognize the positive impact applying Agile principles can have. Team members may also see that their efforts to optimize their workflow are successful, but recognize that they need support from management to sustain these changes. As management learns more about Agile practices, they start incorporating them in their daily routines as well. The team starts to produce high-quality products at a faster rate and begins exploring automated processes to continue building momentum.

Related: PMI Agile Certification: Definitions and How To Get Certified

Run

Once you reach the run level, you may begin creating small teams to work on specific sections of the product or service development process. These teams typically work in short sprints, which allow them to focus on the most important tasks during each development phase. At the end of each sprint, all of the small teams regroup to report on the tasks they completed, evaluate their progress and make adjustments to optimize their processes.

Everyone has a good understanding of their goals and how to achieve them, even though they may still be refining some of their workflows as an organization.

Fly

In the fly stage, everyone in the organization understands how to operate within their Agile framework. They've refined their workflows and established key performance indicators to track their progress strategically. Management and team members often work side-by-side and see each other as equals. The team is able to deliver continuous value through each project they work on and embraces the idea of continuous improvement. Productivity is at an all-time high and individuals feel like they're making an important contribution through their work.

Related: 14 Agile Characteristics for Project Management Success

Benefits of using an Agile maturity model

While companies often implement an Agile maturity model to improve productivity and efficiencies, there are several other benefits commonly associated with this workflow methodology. Using an Agile maturity model can benefit you by helping you:

  • Understand your company, team or project's current position

  • Define your team's objectives

  • Track your team's progress

  • Develop guidelines to support your team

  • Establish a common language between team members

  • Improve your organizational processes

  • Increase productivity and organization

  • Encourage collaboration between team members and departments

  • Boost morale and improve company culture

  • Increase employee retention rates

How to use an Agile maturity model

Here are some steps you can follow to use an agile maturity model effectively:

1. Identify what level your team is at

Examine the different levels associated with Agile maturity models to determine what category defines your team's current processes. You can discuss these levels with other team members and management to get their input. This can help you develop an accurate assessment and generate interest in adopting an Agile framework.

2. Determine what areas to focus on

Once you've identified what level your team is at in the Agile maturity model, consider what actions you can take to progress to the next stage. Create a list of areas your team can improve and then consider what resources you may need to support them. Prioritize your action items based on what is the most important and achievable. Then establish what key performance indicators you can use to track your team's progress.

3. Implement the changes

Next, work with your team to implement the changes at the top of your priority list. Make sure they understand why these changes are important by communicating your end goal. Establish important milestones to track your progress. Being supportive throughout this transition can also help you motivate your team.

4. Measure your progress

Use your key performance indicators to measure your team's progress at regular intervals. This can help you determine whether the changes you've implemented are successful and identify other areas for improvement. It can also help you recognize when your team has moved from one level of the Agile maturity model to the next.

5. Repeat the process

Once you've reached a new level of the Agile maturity model, repeat steps one through four. Start by identifying what your team needs to accomplish to continue progressing. Then, prioritize your action items, implement the changes and track your progress. This can help you develop a culture that embraces the continuous improvement mindset.

Please note that none of the products or organizations mentioned in this article are related to Indeed.

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