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Team Maturity – Tuckman and Beyond

As organizations go through an Agile transformation or try to scale Agile, inadvertently the focus will turn to “team maturity” at some point. The thinking is that teams go through various stages of maturity during the course of their existence: initially, as it is coming together, a team is less mature and then slowly moves to a higher state of maturity as it begins to “gel” which is typically associated with a higher level of performance.

Key factors that influence a team’s maturity are:

  • Time the team has existed in its current configuration
  • Scrum Master guidance
  • Coaching
  • Training
  • Size
  • Skills
  • Level of experience
  • Ability co-locate the team in the same physical location
  • Organizational stability
  • Individual personalities
  • Etc.

Maturity is usually not static and can change over time. For example: Teams going through significant changes, e. g. team members leave and/or new ones get added, will likely result in teams temporarily going backwards in their maturity.

One common maturity model is Tuckman’s Model of Group Development, which was first introduced in 1965 and has since seen some minor refinements. It proposes the phases of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing and states that the “phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results”. (See also this informative post from our friends at Trello.)

If you are an AgilityHealth Facilitator (AHF), you may remember that you will want to capture an Agile team’s maturity when you edit an assessment, in the same location where you would store assessment notes:

While the model has been used widely, not all Agilists are bought into Tuckman’s model. We also know that various consultancies and coaches have their own way of thinking of team maturity. What if you want to make it Crawl, Walk, Run, and Fly? What if you just use Low, Medium, or High instead? Or maybe you don’t even like the notion of maturity in the first place and prefer to think in terms of suitability, fluency or proficiency?

Well, with our recent release of AgilityHealth, we’ve created the capabilities to customize all this and more!

Terminology

You can now choose a different term instead of “Maturity” which will be used consistently throughout the application:

Stages

The Tuckman model is still used as a default, but you can now change, add or delete stages to really make the model your own:

Radar Type-Specific Models

AgilityHealth is about more than Agile Team Health as you may utilize other surveys like our DevOps or SAFe Release Train Health radars. For different radars, you may also want to use different models, e.g. you may stick with Tuckman for Team Health while using Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 for DevOps maturity. For this purpose, the settings are now relative to the radar type, so that you can fully customize the model for each type of radar.

Now with all this useful data captured, you’ll want an easy way to visualize the results. For that purpose, AgilityHealth has several useful widgets available:

Bar Chart Widget

This widget on the Enterprise Dashboard replaces the previous pie chart widget. It shows the distribution of the teams across the various stages. As teams get healthier, you may see the distribution move from the left more towards the center or even the right.

 

When the user clicks on a bar, the team names will be shown (provided the user has the appropriate permissions). This widget also enables comparison between different time periods, so it’s easy to see the progression of the teams between periods.

Scatter Chart Widget

This widget resides on the Enterprise Dashboard as well and shows the distribution of teams across the stages relative to their health (Y axis). This may be useful, for example, in identifying teams that rated themselves high, but the AHF ended up noting a lower maturity stage. This may be a good reason to dig deeper.

Hovering over a dot shows the respective team name.

As you’ve seen, AgilityHealth now offers a lot of flexibility to accommodate different terminology choices, maturity models by radar type and it also visualizes the results on the Enterprise Dashboard for further analysis. Hopefully this functionality will be useful in the process of helping your teams get healthier and your organization more successful!

 

 

 

 

Did you know – NPS?

For Agile teams, it is very important to make their “customers” happy. One of the principles in the Agile manifesto is “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

In practice, knowing and measuring the customer’s satisfaction can be tricky. For software developed to be used internally, this – while not trivial – is a little easier to measure, at least anecdotally. For software developed for external use, where we don’t have easy access to the user, e.g. in the consumer space, this is even harder (see also Three Levels of Optimization).

To that end, many companies have turned to the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which according to netpromoter.commeasures customer experience and predicts business growth” (details).

Did you know that AgilityHealth uses NPS as well? While we don’t have direct access to the end consumer of the software developed by Agile teams, AgilityHealth is using the team’s stakeholders as proxy and asks them whether they would recommend the team to others:

Knowing whether a team’s stakeholders are happy with the team is a powerful indicator of how they’re doing and are perceived.

The results of the NPS question to stakeholders are shown in the assessment results (under Metrics Summary) and on the Enterprise Dashboard in the “Hard Metrics” section, for example:

Through filtering, the user has the ability to change not only which teams are included, but also the time period and calculation method for the NPS:

Additionally, the compare feature allows the viewer to see how the NPS has changed when compared between 2 time periods, e.g.:

So, next time you’re in the Enterprise Dashboard or in the assessment results, keep and eye out for the NPS!

For those customers using individual health radars such as the Coach Health, NPS is also available at the individual level. If you’re interested in individual health, please let us know!

3 Insights on Managers

Some mangers have made the following observation:
“As a manager, when I look at the ratings of  Leadership > Manager in the Team Health radar, it’s hard for me to determine who this feedback is for since the team has several managers and where exactly I need to grow/improve”.
So, we wanted to clarify the 3 key insights you can gain on managers using AgilityHealth and how:
1- Our intention from the Team Health view was to gain insights on “How does the team feel about their general management team?”. It wasn’t intended to give managers specific feedback for themselves but to identify if there is a common area like ‘People Dev’ that is a strength or an opportunity across all managers for this team.  Consider this Mgmt. insights #1.
 
2- Mgmt. Insights #2 is achieved by looking at the rollup across a program and filtering by role.  This answers ‘How do all the Developers in this program feel about their managers?” or any other role. For example let’s take the Card Acquisitions program rollup, when you navigate and filter by role, you can pick the ‘developer’ and you would get the view below. This view allows us to zoom into how the managers of the developers are doing.
 
3- Mgmt. Insights #3 is achieved by having managers send out our Agile Leadership health (or a custom version) for feedback for all their direct employees, peers and their leaders. This enables managers to receive feedback including textual responses on how they’re doing. We recommend scheduling a 1:1 coaching session with a leadership coach or a mentor to help review the results and  build an actionable growth plan for themselves. They can re-assess again in 3 or 6 months to see if they’ve made measurable progress.
This approach is probably what managers who are looking for concrete feedback on themselves could utilize. Want to try this? contact success@agilityhealthradar.com and we’ll get you setup.
Please give us your thoughts below on this approach. We’re always open to feedback :).