Agile IQ®: Transformation Academy™

Agile capability maturity

Agile Stages of Maturity

Agile IQ®’s AI with machine learning understands the statistical correlation between behaviours, traits, and mindset, and business outcomes, such as improved flow of value and decreased costs. As certain behaviours get stronger, business results improve.

There are distinct sets of behaviours that strengthen as a team becomes more agile. While their growth in these behaviours is not linear, it does follow a predictable pattern of development and team evolution.

Stage One: Efficiency

Agile IQ: 0-48 / 200

  • Delivery typically depends on talented people
  • Skills are often embedded in specific individuals
  • Scaling agility is difficult and good practices are often not yet  repeatable.

In Stage One, companies typically don’t see a lot of returns:

  • Deployment Frequency: once per 100+ days
  • Throughput: < 6 items per Sprint per team
  • Lead Time for changes: 180+ days
  • Mean time to recovery: 180+ days
  • Change failure rate: 30%
  • Psychological safety: Very low
  • Cost reduction impacts: None.
  • Forecast NPS: < 0
  • Forecast eNPS: < 0

‘Agile in Name Only’ is often the term used to describe companies that just tweak at the edges of their processes. If your Agile IQ benchmarking doesn’t show any improved throughput or time to market, it’s likely you are indeed at Stage One.

Archetypal behaviours seen in this stage

Management by task delegation
move to
Self-management with set timeboxes, minimum agile roles, potentially releasable increment every Sprint.
Ad-hoc or waterfall practices
move to
Cross-functional teams that can deliver outcomes without needing to rely on upstream or downstream teams to provide an increment of value.
Optimising for utilisation
move to
100% utilisation doesn't mean people are working on the most valuable thing. Ensure teams are effective at delivering work to a standard level of quality that is "potentially" releasable to userrs and/or stakeholders, not just being 100% utilised.

Keys to growth

Self-organising teams
actions for growth
Executives and managers must establish and promote guardrails for self-organisation. Agile needs to become the company's operating model.
Agile IQ® ROI metrics
actions for growth
Use data, not gut instinct, to make informed decisions on where to focus capability development.
Improve the transparency of work
actions for growth
Employ team backlogs over project gantt charts are a good place to start.

Stage Two: Adapting

Agile IQ: 49-92 / 200


  • Strongly invested in mastering the basics
  • 70% of teams start with Scrum as their operating model
  • Establishing consistency of roles and practices is key

Stage Two beds down the essential aspects of inspecting progress on at least a monthly basis and adapting forecasts, milestones and plans. The rythm of the Sprint helps teams to get into the habit of adapting to change when they need to, when they get feedback, and when their delivery plans don’t turn out right.

In Stage Two, companies start to see some returns:

  • Deployment Frequency: 2x per 100+ days
  • Throughput: < 50 items per Sprint per team
  • Lead Time for changes: 7 days
  • Mean time to recovery: 24 hours
  • Change failure rate: 20%
  • Psychological safety: Medium
  • Cost reduction impacts: $10M+ / yr
  • Forecast NPS: < 40
  • Forecast eNPS: < 15

Establishing agile roles and aligning with industry standards is key at this stage over trying to customise a range of patterns and practices the organisation is not yet fully proficient with.

Archetypal behaviours seen in Stage Two

Customising practices
move to
Learning the fundamentals before your company starts customising it doesn't yet have any experience with.
Customising roles and titles
move to
Alignment to industry standards with new words that will help create change
Creating an overly complex company-wide "agile methodology"
move to
Keeping things simple

Keys to growth

Ensure key agile roles are in place
actions for growth
Understand the role off managers versus Product Owners and Scrum Masters. Ensure minimal agile roles are supported.
Changing digital practices
actions for growth
Learning mindset. Focus team leads and capability managers on improving the company's capabilities over directing and task managing them.
Focus on teams
actions for growth
Self-organisation with guardrails established by management
Create consistency
actions for growth
Creating consistency of practice and terminology so that everyone has a shared understanding of how work is now delivered

Stage Three: Responsive

Agile IQ: 93-130 / 200


  • Focussing on strengthenning use of Sprint Review to elicit regular feedback from customers, their context and adapt to their needs
  • Shifting from project management to product management practices and frameworks
  • Shifting from project management metrics to value: business impact and customer outcomes

In Stage Three, companies start to see significant business impacts:

  • Deployment Frequency: 2x per 100+ days
  • Throughput: Up to 50 items per Sprint per team
  • Lead Time for changes: 7 days
  • Mean time to recovery: 24 hours
  • Change failure rate: 20%
  • Psychological safety: Medium
  • Cost reduction impacts: $10M+ / yr
  • Forecast NPS: < 40
  • Forecast eNPS: < 15

Archetypal behaviours seen in this stage

Project Management
move to
Product Management
Stakeholder requirements
move to
"Customer first" mindset
Measuring efficiency and milestone based deliverables
move to
Measuring value, impact and outcomes

Keys to growth

Explore additional practices
actions for growth
Add DevOps, Design Thinking, Kanban, and XP on top of Scrum
Evolve to Product Management
actions for growth
Avoid reinforcing traditional project management behaviours and practices.
Alignment and Cadence
actions for growth
For scaled agile initiatives and agile release trains, ensure all teams are Sprinting and aligned so that the whole company can also "Sprint".

Stage Four: Resilient

Agile IQ: 131-165 / 200

Stage Four companies and their teams are typically focussed on:

  • Flow metrics and value stream management, improving throughput, cycle time, the amount of work in-progress, work item age.
  • Agile OKRs on product development and not on individual people or teams against teams that create competition over alignment to a common product outcome.
  • Heavy use of Kanban and Lean to understand bottlenecks in the flow of value and actively maximise throughput from idea through to delivery.

Stage Four organisations are high performers. Their teams regularly show consistent high throughput at a high level of quality and sustainable pace. It shouldn’t be unusual for their teams to double their throughput when the type of work is consistent over a few months.

Stage Four companies typically see the following impacts and outcomes from their ongoing investment in agile capability maturity:

  • Deployment Frequency: 1-2x per Sprint
  • Throughput: Up to 70 items per Sprint per team
  • Lead Time for changes: 1-2 days
  • Mean time to recovery: 12 hours
  • Change failure rate: 19%
  • Psychological safety: High
  • Cost reduction impacts: $20M+ / yr
  • Forecast NPS: < 70
  • Forecast eNPS: < 30

Archetypal behaviours seen in this stage

Management by objectives
move to
Lean practices and measuring value
Reporting on objectives and tasks
move to
Reporting on value-based metrics based on the impact and outcome investments have to customers and the conmpany

Keys to growth

actions for growth
Use value stream maps to understand bottlenecks in the flow of value to customers and take actions to remove them.
actions for growth
Aggressively assess whether processes and practices add value to customers and, if not, how they can be removed.
actions for growth
Heavy use of value metrics will see a focus on why investment is being made and a focus on its impact over a "tick and flick" approach to delivery of features.

Stage Five: Composable

Agile IQ: 165-200 / 200

In Stage Five, companies continuously improve their capability with a focus on:

  • Systems Thinking to better understand and improve the whole value stream.
  • Supporting teams to take more of a leadership role and higher levels of responsibilitiesfor supporting each other and growing enterprise agility.
  • Nurturing their network of teams over the company’s hierarchy.

Stage Five companies are global leaders. They have an aggressive focus on the customer and their needs and making rapid decisions through their network of team over the hierarchy. Stage Five teams have a ‘systems thinking’ mindset and operate to optimise the whole value stream. 

Stage Five companies are rare. They actively and continuously invest in agile capability maturity because their data reinforces the ongoing benefits it gives to business impacts and customer outcomes:

  • Deployment Frequency: 1+ per day
  • Throughput: Up to 80+ items per Sprint per team 
  • Lead Time for changes: < 1 per day
  • Mean time to recovery: 7 hours
  • Change failure rate: 15%
  • Psychological safety: Very high
  • Cost reduction impacts: $30M+ / yr
  • Forecast NPS: ~ 80+
  • Forecast eNPS: ~ 50+

Archetypal behaviours seen in this stage

Teams optimise for its own outcomes
move to
The team sacrifices its own needs over the needs of the whole value stream.
Continuous improvement
move to
Product management actively invests in capability improvement.
Individual OKRs
move to
Product based OKRs and KPIs with teams' goal aligned to contributing to those.

Keys to growth

Agile leadership
actions for growth
Executives and managers should lead by example and work in executive agile teams.
Agile capability management
actions for growth
Invest in improving time to market and ability to innovate as part of the improvement of products and creating capavbility to enter new markets.
Inspecting/adapting cycle for OKRs
actions for growth
Employ Sprint Reviews and quarterly review cycles on inspecting progress toward OKRs and adapting initiatives to ensure these are reached.

Building Agile Behaviours and Mindset

Four key behaviours are paramount to building an agile enterprise: self organisation, agile values, continuous learning culture, and sprinting.

As these behaviours become stronger, enterprise agile outcomes grow, including lower costs and faster time to deliver, while maintaining high quality standards.

Working with agile roles

Agile roles are distinct from project management roles and responsibilities. They focus on value, long-lived teams, and specialist roles like Scrum Masters to help build effective agile teams.


Developers are the people in the Scrum Team that are committed to creating any aspect...

Product Manager

What does it take to lead an Agile Release Train as its Product Manager?

Scrum Master

Scrum Masters are responsible for the effectiveness of agile.

Learn to work with agile frameworks

Agile roles are distinct from project management roles and responsibilities. They focus on value, long-lived teams, and specialist roles like Scrum Masters to help build effective agile teams.

Waterfall vs Agile

What are the key differences between traditional linear, waterfall delivery methodologies and agile frameworks?

What is Kanban?

Is Kanban more than just visualisation of work in-progress?

What is Lean?

What is Lean and how does it help agile teams deliver?

What is SAFe?

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), is a knowledge-base of organisation and workflow patterns. SAFe® enables...

What is Scrum?

Scrum was developed by Sutherland and Schwaber in the early 1990s. It's is a lightweight...

agile iq academy logo 2022-05-05 sm

Enter your details

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close