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Unlock Your Team’s Agile Intelligence

There are many forms of intelligence — some more easily defined than others. It’s time to add “agile intelligence” to the lexicon.

Here are some of the most commonly used references to various forms of “intelligence”:

  • artificial intelligence
  • business intelligence
  • competitive intelligence
  • emotional intelligence
  • human intelligence
  • military intelligence
  • social intelligence

According to Wikipedia, “Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving.”

To me, this sounds exactly like what agile software development teams do every day. To us, it’s agile intelligence. Whether following Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean or another agile approach, the fundamentals are the same. To determine your team’s agile intelligence level, begin by answering the following questions:

  1. Are you focused on satisfying your customers?
  2. Is working software the primary deliverable that matters?
  3. Do you deliver working software fast and often?
  4. Is your team motivated, equipped and trusted to deliver?
  5. Does the team seek continuous improvement by adjusting its behavior?
  6. Does the team embrace change and adjust as needed?
  7. Are technical excellence and good design key goals for the team?

This isn’t an exhaustive list of what it takes to be agile. In fact, the precise criteria are situational. For example, small, start-up companies can respond and deliver faster than major enterprises. Why? Simply because their code bases are small and their customer bases are smaller.

Try answering the above questions. If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of them, you have strong agile intelligence. If not, you have work to do. Are there other criteria you think should be added?

Updated: August 9, 2011 — 10:42 pm
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