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Does the Agile Community Need a Maturity Model?

Periodically an Agile Maturity Model or a Framework for Agile Adoption shows up on the radar. There are also several consulting companies performing Agile 'readiness assessments' as a precursor to helping their clients 'become' Agile.  Are these indications of an unfulfilled need in the community?

Nick Malik of Microsoft, created the Simple Lifecycle Agile Maturity Model in an effort to help people determine how agile they are:

Using this model, the team follows a simple process:

  1. Write a simple story that describes the process you followed. Examples are included in the spreadsheet.
  2. Rate your process on 12 criteria based on the Agile Alliance principles
  3. Enter weights and view results.
  4. Create a list of steps to address deficiencies. Follow the normal agile process to estimate these steps and add to the backlog.

Earlier this year, Ahmed Sidky and James D. Arthur, presented a framework for Agile Adoption which relies on a readiness assessment that rates a group/organization/enterprise.  Based on the readiness level, a set of practices are prescribed to help guide the team/organization/enterprise in which practices to adopt to get to the next level of maturity.

A quick Google search on "agile readiness assessment" will result in list of consulting companies that are ready, willing, and (claim to be) able to help you find out how ready you are for Agile.

Are these offers filling a real need?  Is being Agile an end in-and-of-itself?  Should you or I care how Agile we are?  If this is a true need, then which of these offerings are correct?  Is it a one-size-fits-all problem that can be addressed with one model?

Or, is being Agile not the goal at all?  Could it be that Agile is a means to an end?  Could the end be valuable, maintainable software that meets and exceeds the needs of its users?  And, if being Agile is not the goal, should we be focused on becoming Agile - or should we be focused on achieving our true goals and only using Agile practices when they get us closer to our goals?

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