In my opinion, the best indicator how “agile” teams actually are, is their sprint length. The theory says 2-4 weeks. To be honest, as an agile coach, this doesn’t feel agile all the time.
Like I wrote in one of my previous posts, in my opinion the ultimate form of agility is nature. Nature’s sprint length seems to vary from billions of years how the universe is created to a fraction of a second how matter is formed.
Of course, it’s nonsense stating we could end up in sprints of just a few nano-seconds. But on the other hand, we see our society is speeding up dramatically. Where a service or product could take years before it went to market a couple of years ago, now it can be a matter of days, even hours. Think about the development of disruptive apps and technology like Uber and 3D-printing.
In these disruptive examples a sprint length of 2 weeks can be a light year. Even in Scrum we can be trapped in our patterns here. Why don’t we experiment with shorter sprint lengths? All agile rituals are relative in time; during build parties and hackathons I often use sprints of only 30 or 60 minutes; 5 mins for planning, 45 mins for the sprint, 5 mins for the review/demo, 5 mins for the retrospective. Combined with a fun party atmosphere and competition, this creates a hyper-productive environment.
Try some hyper sprinting next to your regular sprints. You’ll be surprised how ultra-productive and fun they are. For example, it enables your team to build a car in just an afternoon. Enjoy!