Three questions to analyse the agility of the teams

Many claim that they have implemented agile, and very few have good implementations of agile. In order to understand the type of implementation one has, these three questions to help;

  • What is the velocity of the last sprint?
  • Do you have work allocation or work volunteering?
  • Can I see your sprint burn down chart?

What is the velocity of the last sprint?

Velocity is the productivity figure of the previous sprint, generally counted in story points. In order to calculate the story points, one need to have user stories, planning meeting and planning poker in place. In a sprint, the team is supposed to commit to the velocity (story points achieved in the previous sprint). The team may achieve slightly more, if their capability is better, and that becomes the basis for estimate for the next sprint. This is the continuous productivity improvement mechanism. If the team members do not know the velocity of the previous sprint, then I must say that it is a serious symptom of faking agility.

Do you have work allocation or work volunteering?

Agile teams are self organizing. The team has to decide how they are going to do the work. In true agile teams, it has to be work volunteering, not work allocation.

If the team has velocity calculations in place, and is thriving on work volunteering, then I respect their agility. They are doing things correctly, where as others are just claiming that they are agile.

Can I see the sprint burn down chart?

A burn down chart is more like a flight landing within the runway. Without it there is no transparency into the process and inspection based on empiricism is lacking. If the team is using the burn down chart to track their progress every day and make decisions based on it, that is a great positive sign of a good implementation.

If a team is doing very positively on the above three questions, then they have a respectable agile implementation. Others are just talking about it.

About the author of this post

Abrachan Pudussery (Aby) is a freelance agile coach, working closely with teams in improving their agility. He lives in Kochi and Bangalore cities of India. Phone 0091 9895372115 email : 


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