Assessments serve as a crucial element within the Idea Generation segment. At the core, all Assessments should be focused on generating actionable improvements that can be prioritized within either the Agile Portfolio, Program, Team, or Deploy segments.
An Organizational Assessment evaluates people, practices and purpose across the organization, and uncovers opportunities for Continuous Improvement. While an initial Organizational Assessment can take many weeks or months, smaller Assessments can be done on a recurring basis to confirm an organization’s trajectory and identify new friction points.
Assessments are typically performed by an internal change agent or outside consultant and rely on data that is collected in a variety of ways:
- Self-assessments at Team, Program and Portfolio levels
- Artifact reviews
Assessment data is then used to measure an organization’s people, practices, and purpose, including the motivators that drive people in an organization, the methodologies and processes they use, and the shared sense of why the organization exists. The Competing Values Framework is an effective model for assessing a company’s organizational foundation in this way.1
In addition to Organizational Assessments, more tactical factors may be assessed with the end goal of improving the process of going from idea to implementation within the organization. This can include any of the practices that are involved in the process of Digital Value Delivery. This can include an organization’s technical practices, delivery methodology and rituals, or experience design processes.
A scorecard format is an effective way to summarize Assessment results across multiple areas so that opportunities for improvement can be quickly identified and trends tracked over time. For example, an organizational DevOps score of 5 on a scale 10 suggests that some DevOps best practices are in place, but that considerable opportunity for improvement exists.
The most effective Assessments are those that go beyond simple ratings and summaries of observations to provide clear, actionable recommendations on how an organization can improve. Examples include a recommendation to lengthen a program’s release cycle from 6 to 10 weeks, or a suggestion to use Protractor for testing AngularJS apps. Because most comprehensive Assessments result in scores of recommendations, it’s also important to prioritize the most impactful recommendations so that the organization has a “top 5” or “top 10” list to focus on.