Agile IQ®: Transformation Academy™

Agile capability maturity

Agile Stages of Maturity

Agile IQ Stages CMMI 1-5

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: Efficient

Stage One suggests that you have a number of people focussed on digital transformation, but relative to other organisations, your overall agile capability maturity is likely still fairly low.

Delivery in Stage One organisations depends on talented people, but because skills are embedded in specific individuals, a company’s agility isn’t yet scalable and success isn’t repeatable. 

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: Adaptive

Stage Two companies are typically learning how to support self-managing, cross-functional, agile teams and make the shift from predictive waterfall-style planning to adaptive planning in Sprints. These companies and their teams become “agile” when the basics are truly mastered.

Archetypal behaviours seen in this stage

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

Stage Three companies start to see tangible results from your investment in your business transformation. Transparency of the health of your products and services is higher, enabling leaders to make informed decisions on where to invest.

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

Stage Four suggests that most of the company is taking part in agile teams. Most companies have shifted from “ways of working” in teams to agile product management operating models.

Relative to other organisations, Stage Four indicates your overall agile capability maturity is likely very high.

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

Stage Five suggests that your company has mastered its digital transformation and is engaged in continuous and relentless improvement at a whole ‘systems’ perspective over just teams.

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.

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