Auditing Agile Scrum Project

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Why Audit Agile Scrum Projects?

  • Effective Audit helps uncover problems and ensure efficiency.
  • Ensuring effective quality delivery of the project.
  • Ensure best practices adherence.
  • To perform a “due diligence” review for all impacted Stakeholders.
  • Unearth Problem areas proactively and work on solution/improvement
  • Provides objective insights and Evaluates Risks
  • Allows to Get Rid of Inefficient Processes
  • Assessment of gaps that lead to corrective and preventive measures
  • Continuous improvement across all teams in the enterprise
  • Process consistency across all teams in the organisation

We are Agile !!! This is something every organisation / team these days claims to be. But the question is how effectively Agile processes are inherited by the organisation. Are they truly working in the spirit of Agile? 

To measure the effectiveness of an Agile Scrum Project, Agile Scrum Audit Process comes in handy. We follow 3 phase approach.

  • Phase 1:  Planning the Agile Project Audit Plan
  • Phase 2:  Agile Project Analysis (Interviews, Artefact Reviews, Fieldwork)
  • Phase 3:  Report and Recommendations

Phase 1:  Planning the Agile Project Audit

In this phase Auditor spends time to understand the current processes in place and plan for the analysis phase. Key elements include:

  • Interview the Product Owner and Scrum Master to determine what is their “success criteria” for this agile project. 
  • Identify the competencies of the Scrum Master and Sprint Team members.
  • Identify if Agile project management tools and templates exist to ensure a consistent application of agile quality processes.
  • Validate if the project is strategically aligned with business goals. That is backlog is mapped to the Vision
  • Schedule interviews with Scrum Master, Product Owner and other Scrum team members.
  • Have a discussion with any key stakeholders who will be impacted by the project.
  • Schedule to attend some of the Sprints, Demos and Retrospective meetings.

In the planning phase we came up with a set of questions that would be asked to the different stakeholders of the Project on the following 14 parameters. Intent is to see how team is performing in these different parameters of Agile Scrum process

  1. Sprint Backlog
  2. DOR
  3. DOD
  4. Sprint Grooming
  5. Daily Scrum
  6. Sprint Planning
  7. Retrospective
  8. Sprint Demo
  9. Time boxed iterations
  10. Velocity
  11. Burn down Chart
  12. Jira (Other Tools) Updates
  13. Impediments
  14. Scrum Master

Each of the parameter is then scored on the scale of 0 to 5 considering how closely parameter is met as follows:

  • Never – 0
  • Rarely – 1
  • Occasionally – 2
  • Often – 3
  • Very Often – 4
  • Always – 5

Phase 2:  Agile Project Analysis

During this phase the project auditor dives deep into the Agile project.  Key elements include:

  • Interview the Product Owner and Scrum Master.
  • Review the competencies of the Scrum Master and Scrum Team members.
  • Assess the issues, challenges and concerns in more depth to get to the root causes of any possible problems.
  • Be a silent observer of the Sprint.
  • Attend and Observe the daily Scrum stand-up meetings.
  • Participate in the Sprint Demos.
  • Attend and Observe the Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective Meeting.
  • Review the backlog and how stories were broken down into these backlogs.
  • Determine how change and risk have been managed.
  • Review the Sprint Burn down chart and other artefacts.

Phase 3:  Reports and Recommendations

In this phase the project auditor reviews all of the data they’ve collected and creates the final report and recommendations.  Key elements include:

  • Compile the information collected from the interviews.
  • Consolidate the findings from the review of project artefacts.
  • Review the observations from the meetings.
  • Validate that the customer requirements are understood and being met.
  • Validate that the Sprint team members are being effectively and efficiently utilised.
  • Review the observed issues, concerns and challenges.
  • Identify the Short term and Long term recommendations. Short term recommendation will help immediate improvement of the project.
  • Finalise the the report with recommendations based on the findings and present this detailed Agile Project Audit Report with recommendations including the steps required to keep this project on-track.

Basis inputs Effectiveness Score is calculated for all the parameters as:

Conclusion

Our 3-phase Agile Project Audit will uncover the root causes of problems, issues and challenges that may be preventing an Agile project from succeeding.  Report will also provide “Lessons Learned” that can help improve the performance of current and future Agile projects. Agile Project Audits are always highly beneficial to an organisation and pay back the investment many times over.

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Written by 

Neeraj is Masters In Information Technology from Symbiosis Pune and a seasoned PMI certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Certified Scrum Master (CSM)® and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)® with 16+ yrs of exp in Project Management/Agile/Business Analysis and Quality Assurance across diverse organizational domains.