Skip to main content

Quick Poll: the Nokia Test

Last week, I asked the question, "How agile are you?" which I defined in Lean terms, i.e. the amount of time needed to generate business value for the customer.

It turns out, just as Scrum teams create a formal definition of done, there is a widely accepted minimal definition of doing Scrum: the Nokia test (Jeff Sutherland Video) (see also the description in text form from Joe Little and his commentary on the Nokia Test).

The Nokia test asks 8 questions. The first 3 determine whether you are doing iterative development and the remaining 5 checks whether you are doing Scrum:
  1. Are iterations time-boxed to less than four weeks?
  2. Is the software tested and working at the end of an iteration?
  3. Do iterations start before specifications are complete?
  4. Does the team know who the product owner is?
  5. Is there a product backlog prioritized by business value?
  6. Does the product backlog have estimates created by the team?
  7. Does the team generate its burndown charts and knows its velocity?
  8. Is the team protected from project managers (or other people) disrupting its work?
This week's quick poll has 2 parts. The top part, are the Nokia questions, the bottom, your total. (The number you give in part 2 should correspond to the number of boxes you clicked in part 1, but that's obvious, and you'll remember to vote on both, right?)

As usual, I will post the results in this space in a week's time.


[Update - Joe pointed put out two important flaws in my retelling of the Nokia test which are now reflected in this post - see the comments for more details. Thanks, Joe!

Unfortunately this meant editing the poll, which means throwing away the first votes, so if you have already voted, please vote again. Thanks!]


Joe Little said…

I think the Nokia Test is important. It has gone through some revisions of wording, but I think the version you have posted is different in some important respects from the "original". Could I ask you to at least note the differences from what was said here ( (I got my info from Jeff Sutherland.) Bas Vodde is perhaps the official source.

So, for example, you don't note the difference between Iterative and Scrum (the 2 parts). You add the word "completely" before tested. These seemingly little things are important I think. I think it is useful to not imply a false precision. It is at best only a rough and ready test. Very useful in some ways, but definitely with limitations.

Thanks, Joe
Joe Little said…

Let me also note that I would not call my comments about the Nokia Test a Critique. To me that implies I don't like the Nokia Test...when I do like it.

At the same time, as I said, I do think the Nokia Test (or any test) has limitations.

Most of my comments were more commentary, explantion, elaboration. With more of this yet to come.

Thanks, Joe
Peter said…
Hi Joe,

Thanks for the feedback! I used an unofficial source (who shall remain nameless) and some interesting errors came in. They make the results rather meaningless, so I have pulled the poll.

As I write this I have a beer in my hand and barbeque party waiting for me, so I'll repost the poll and check the definition of critique tomorrow morning

Thanks again!
Peter said…
Hi Joe,

Some definitions of critique:

criticism: a serious examination and judgment of something;

Wikipedia says: The word critic comes from the Greek κριτικός, kritikós - one who discerns, which itself arises from the Ancient Greek word κριτής, krités, meaning a person who offers reasoned judgement or analysis, value judgement, interpretation, or observation. ...

So I don't think critique implies that you don't like the test, only that you have analyzed and commented intelligently on it.

But I don't want to belabor the point, I changed it in the main article.

Joe Little said…
Hi Peter,

re critique. Yes to your points. It is more how the normal reader will react...the connotation, that I was worried about. In a more formal sense, "critique" is fair.

Thanks, Joe

Popular posts from this blog

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

What is the role of a Business Analyst in Scrum?

When I teach a CSM class, my goal is that my participants go home delighted (and of course that they learn about Scrum, that they are motivated to do Scrum, and can pass the online CSM exam). So after every class, I ask for feedback, in particular what could I do to get a better score. And for the next class, I strive to implement or address two or three of the points raised by my participants.

One issue that was raised was unanswered questions. It is annoying to ask questions and not get answers! Time is limited, so it is not always possible to answer all questions, so I thought, why not answer them on my blog? So here goes, first question:
What is the role of a Business Analyst in Scrum? This question is a challenge because Scrum doesn't answer this question! Scrum is a simple, team-based framework for solving complex problems. The roles and ceremonies in Scrum are designed to ensure that inspect and adapt can occur regularly with complete and correct information. Scrum does not…