Agile Maturity

Reported benefits of Agility

Enterprise agility have helped organizations from financial sectors, telecom, mining, oil and gas, health care and pharmaceuticals, public sector to achieve;

  • 10 to 30 points improvements in customer satisfaction

  • 20 to 30 points improvements in employee engagement

  • 30 to 50% improvement in operational performance with respect to speed, target achievement and predictability

  • 20 to 30% improvement in financial performance

Even if the benefits are high, changing the traditional mindset to agile mindset is a continuous process. It is a journey. Like every other journey, without a road map it becomes difficult to reach the destination with precision. The enterprise agility maturity model provides a clear road map for enhancing enterprise agility.

Enterprise Agility Maturity Model

  • Level#0 – Zero agility

  • Level#1 – Partly agile

  • Level#2 – Defined

  • Level#3 – Disciplined

  • Level#4 – Automated

  • Level#5 – Optimized

Level#0 – Zero Agility

Characteristics of level#0

  • At this stage, organizations will have either very rigid processes if it is a very traditional organization, resulting in zero agility

  • If it is a start-up, most probably, there will not be defined processes at all

  • Project teams will be using very diverse tools

Level#1 – Partially agile

Characteristics of level#1

  • Someone enthusiastic about agility has started experimenting with agility in some projects

  • Bottom-up initiative

  • No organizational sponsorship or commitment

  • Some projects are following some of the agile practices

  • There is no common vocabulary and tools

  • Nothing is measured in quantifiable terms (no empiricism)

  • Teams still work with the traditional command and control mindset

  • Organization understands the need to be agile

Steps required to advance to level#2 from level#1

1. Agile vision definition and communication

Why should we become more agile? What is the need for agility? Having a common challenge (risk or opportunity) out there is the best way to motivate the employees to embrace agility. Playing together to win is the essence good team performance. The agile vision of the organization must be articulated and communicated continuously and consistently to the entire organization by the senior management. Create, communicate, document, display., demonstrate the vision continuously. Do not take this lightly because proper communication or lack of it can either make or break the agile initiative.

2. Ownership definition and empowerment

Who will own the agile initiative at the organizational level?. A steering committee comprising of senior executives representing the various functions, who have the conviction to persuade others about the need for agility must be part of this steering committee. Improving agility within their functions must be one of their key responsibilities.

3. Agile awareness programs for the senior and middle level management

Do not assume that everybody is aware of true agility. Many have the fear of the unknown, when it comes to agility. The best way to to eliminate this fear is to introduce them to the agile way of working, so that they can experience the benefits. This will help them to drive it in their respective functions / teams.

4. Agile strategy development

After having established the agile vision and ownership, the next important step is to decide on the agile strategy. A good agile strategy will provide answers to the following questions;

Should we switch all projects to agile way of working?

Should we choose those functions which has high impact on customer satisfaction?

Can we follow a hybrid approach? In this approach, all teams are introduced to the agile way of working and are encouraged to practice agility where as those high impact functions are transitioned into the agile way of working holistically as quickly as possible.

5. Agile ground rules and minimum viable processes definition

Define the minimum viable agile processes to be followed by projects

Define the ground rules

Train the trainers

Train the teams

Level#2 – Defined

Characteristics of level#2

  • Teams are trained on the minimum viable agile practices defined at the organization level

  • Still there is no standardization on tools

  • There is no empiricism

  • Poor predictability

  • Better visibility than level#1

Steps required to advance to level#3 - Disciplined

  • Standardization of monitoring and controlling tools

  • Estimation

  • Mentoring / coaching

Level#3 – Disciplined

Characteristics of level#3

  • Highly disciplined agile implementation

  • All defined agile practices are followed

  • High degree of predictability because of empiricism

  • Better project visibility (transparency) due to standardized set of tools

Steps required to advance to level#4 – Automated

  • Investment in test automation

  • Investment in build and deployment automation

Level#4 – Automated (applicable for I.T projects)

Characteristics of level#4 (Applicable for software development projects)

  • Automated build and test cycle

  • Build metrics gathered and analysed

  • Teams regularly meet to discuss integration problems and resolve them with automation

  • All environments managed effectively

  • Operations and delivery teams regularly collaborate to manage risks and reduce cycle time

  • Production rollbacks rare.

  • Defects found and fixed immediately

  • Automated unit and acceptance tests

  • Quality metrics and trends tracked

Level#5 – Optimized

Characteristics of level#5

  • Wider adoption in the organization

  • Ability to dynamically change project portfolios gives the flexibility to change business strategies very quickly.

  • Continuously improved


Agility is not a destination but a journey. As we need a map while travelling through unfamiliar territory, this agile maturity model will act as a map to travel from level 0 to level 5 of the agile continuum. A good starting point would be to create a profile of the current projects against these maturity levels which will act as a baseline to enhance agility.