Skip to main content

Nokia Test Results: Is anybody really doing Scrum?

Last week, I challenged the Scrum community to take the Nokia Test: a Scrum litmus test to deterimine whether a team is agile and doing Scrum. How did the Scrum community fare?

Protecting Team Members from Management is clearly the biggest challenge faced by Scrum Teams. Only 51% of the respondants claimed that their team members were well protected from Project Managers or others disrupting work.

Prioritized product backlog and burn down charts are second and third from the bottom at 72% and 74% respectively.

Interestingly, all three points are issues relating to managment and the product owner (who is likely part of management), suggesting that management buy-in is a challenge. Either Scrum adoption is coming bottom-up or management is "talking the talk" but not "walking the walk".

On the total test score, only 26% of the respondants claimed an 8 on the Nokia scale. 36% claimed 7 points (total of 62% for 7 or 8 points). At least 7% did not meet the minimum definition of "agile"

Without question, doing Scrum is difficult. There was some discussion on the Scrum development group as to whether the Nokia test is hard enough. But even with this simple test, 3/4 of the teams in question are not doing Scrum. Or are they?

I have three issues with the Nokia test:

  1. "Software tested" is too specific to software development. I would ask the question "Is there a definition of 'done' which is consistently applied'?

  2. Continuous improvement is completely missing. Iterations don't necessarily imply retrospectives. I would add a question "Does the team perform retrospectives every sprint and implement top priority improvements?"

  3. Intent is also missing - Is the team actively trying to use Scrum to better realize the project? I think even if a team had to compromise on some points for tactical reasons (e.g. "the customer said no"), it should earn points for trying.


As some have previously pointed out, the so-called Nokia test is about the bare basics.

Nevertheless, I miss a key criterion for all Agile and Scrum teams: there is no test of collaborative working by the team.

In my experience this is the hardest lesson for Scrum teams to learn. Although smaller teams find it easier.

What do others think?

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…