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Agile IQ®

Stage Three

Agile IQ® Score: 93-130

What is a "Stage Three" team?

A team at this stage of its agile journey is establishing its agile behaviours in the Ha stage of Shu Ha Ri. A Stage Two team has an Agile IQ of 93-130.

A Stage Three team has mastered the basics of agile and is now typically focused on learning advanced patterns and practices to add to their team’s agile ways of working.

Focus and discipline is key to evolving to the next level of agile maturity.

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What do advanced patterns look like?


Kanban is a tool for Lean. Applying it to the team’s flow of work can help to identify bottlenecks and remove them. 

eXtreme Programming (XP)

The core of XP is the interconnected set of software development practices. While it is possible to do these practices in isolation, many teams have found some practices reinforce the others and should be done in conjunction to fully eliminate the risks you often face in software development.

  • The Planning Game
  • Small Releases
  • Metaphor
  • Simple Design
  • Testing
  • Refactoring
  • Pair Programming
  • Collective Ownership
  • Continuous Integration
  • 40-hour week
  • On-site Customer
  • Coding Standard


Scrum Masters start to evolve their facilitation of team events, stakeholder engagement, and coaching at Stage Three. Liberating Structures is often the set of practices Scrum Masters turn to when moving from directing to collaborative, hands-on activities.

Behaviours to encourage

A focus on creating quality with a sustainable pace

Help the team and the Product Owner to focus on what it takes to deliver a quality outcome at a sustainable pace. Sustainable pace improves predictability and reduces burn-out. Encourage the team to find its rhythm and establish a state of flow.

Continue to support and coach self-organisation

Help the team, including the Product Owner, be self-organising. Don’t solve their problems or impediments for them. Help them to solve their own problems by increasing insight and only escalate issues and impediments if these are outside of their control to change.

Encourage structured experimentation through using Koyota Kata

Complex environments have uncertain outcomes, so don’t be afraid to try a few new things and see whether things improve. Toyota Kata is a useful tool to help set goals, experiment, and learn from the outcomes.

Actions for leaders and scrum masters

Agile practice improvement is a key action

Start adding additional Agile practices and patterns to your team’s way of working. E.g. Kanban, Lean, the practices of eXtreme Programming (XP), Liberating Structures, and Design Thinking.

Ensure your practices align with industry

Consistency is key to repeatability of the improvement outcomes you’re trying to create. Best practice often evolves, so ensure you keep up-to-date so you and your team don’t get left behind.

Understand what it means to be systematic in your improvements

Start systematic process improvement through application of empiricism – inspect and adapt with goals and metrics focussed around the impact your improvements are designed to make.

Servant Leadership

Support people in key agile roles – managers, Product Owner, and key stakeholders – to be Servant Leaders over being command-and-control.

Consider how to move from projects to managing products and services

One of the key aspects to evolving to Stage 4 is the shift from project work to one of product management and delivery of service outcomes.

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