Initially and Continuously evaluate whether your organization
and your project community are ready to adopt XP
A Readiness Assessment is a risk-management tool for a Project Community.
It helps a community discover whether or not it can be successful with Industrial XP.
It's not something you do once, at the start of a project. Things change during projects. As they change, it's useful
to re-learn the readiness of a Project Community.
There are two major questions we'd like to answer during Readiness Assessments:
Answering the first question involves discovering what David Schmaltz described as "learning where the buffalos of change
have been roaming in the organization." What changes has the organization already tried? What were the fates of those changes?
Some organizations aren't ready for yet-another change. Some projects aren't ready to change to
IXP today, given where the project currently stands (or sits ;-).
- Is the Project Community and Organization ready for a change?
- Can the Project Community do IXP?
Answering the second question involves getting as deep an understanding as possible of whether
a would-be Project Community has a chance of succeeding with IXP in their organization.
This involves learning about the people in the Project Community, learning about
current development method(s), learning about team dysfunction and what is already working well. It involves
educating people about IXP so they can help us see whether they can or would want to do IXP.
Readiness Assessments can take days or minutes. We have conducted 3-day Readiness Assessments and we've
conducted 20-minute ones. Below is a list of the kinds of questions we ask:
- We ask technical questions to learn whether we can establish the kind of programming environment IXP requires (staging machines, pair-programming workstations, a database we can actually evolve, version control that is under our control, etc).
- We learn whether Subject Matter experts will be available for a project, whether we can get on-going feedback from the people for whom we'll be creating software
- We ask about the dedication to continuous improvement, whether there is a commitment to doing retrospectives both during and at the end-of the project.
- We ask questions about the organizational culture and structure, whether other parts of the system will support change or construct barriers to change. We ask about the history of change in the organization.
- We ask about the outcomes and dynamics of previous projects and about those who will be involved in the current project community.
- We ask and talk and learn enough to give us a sense of whether IXP could happen.
Embracing Change: A Retrospective, by Diana Larsen