by Luis Goncalves
Team Assessment Survey is a great tool for a retrospective. This tool comes from a SAFe framework established by Dean Leffingwell. You can find the original assessment here. The exercise demonstrated in this blog post is an adaptation from Luis Goncalves. He also shares this exercise in his book co-written with Ben Linders “Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives”.
What you can expect to get out of this exercise
The idea of this exercise is to analyse how teams perform in different areas and identify possible improvements in next sprint/near future. This assessment has 4 main areas:
- Product Ownership Health – How the product owner performs
- Sprint Health – How activities within the sprint are being managed
- Team Health – How healthy is the team spirit within the team
- Technical Health – How well the team has implemented technical best practices
Each of the areas has different questions, which you can rate from 0 to 5. This allows a team to visualise what are the areas that need more attention in the team. This exercise is awesome to reveal overall agile health of a team.
When you would use this exercise
Although this exercise is suitable when a team wants to understand better how well they implement agile, it does not require any special occasion. This exercise, however, will not solve specific problems that occur during the sprint, but it might acknowledge some reasons why those problems happen. For example, if your team finds many bugs during development, the problem might be that their unit testing or automation practices are not well implemented.
How to do it
It´s very simple. You will need an excel sheet. You should have 4 main areas I mentioned earlier: Product Ownership Health, Sprint Health, Team Health and Technical Health. Now create several questions for each different areas. These questions must be appropriate for your team. You can refer to questions from SAFe Team Scrum XP assessment, which you can find here.
As an example, see below 2 questions for each different areas:
Product Ownership Health
- Product Owner facilitates user story development, prioritisation and negotiation
- Product Owner collaborates proactively with Product Management and other stakeholders
- Team plans the sprint collaboratively, effectively and efficiently
- Team always has clear sprint goals, in support of PSI (Potentially Shippable Increments), objectives, and commits to meeting them
- Team members are self-organised, respect each other, help each other complete sprint goals, manage inter-dependencies and stay in-sync with each other
- Stories are iterated through the sprint with multiple define-build-test cycles
- Automated acceptance tests and unit tests are part of story DoD
- Refactoring is always underway
All these questions can be rated from 0 to 5, where 0 means “Never” and 5 means “Always”.
During the retrospective session, the team needs to fill in the excel sheet and evaluate the team to see where they stand. For easier and more clear demonstration of results you can create a graphic, just like on the picture on the right side.
Visualising the graphic will give a team a good understanding where they stand. They should be able to decide which area they want to improve. Choose one area at a time and one topic within that area.
This exercise does not require to have a collocated team, it can also be run in a virtual setup (in a distributed team).
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