The Agile Fluency model, developed by Diana Larsen and James Shore in 2012 and substantially updated in 2018, is a framework to help teams understand their current position and to help them develop an individual road map. Agile teams pass through four distinct zones of fluency as they learn (fluency evolves). Diana Larsen defines fluency as things that you do automatically without thinking. Each zone brings specific benefits:
- Focusing teams produce business value (agile fundamentals). The team thinks and plans in terms of the benefits their sponsors, customers, and users will see from their software.
- Delivering teams deliver on the market cadence (agile sustainability). The team can release their latest work, at minimal risk and cost, whenever the business desires.
- Optimizing teams lead their market (innovative business agility, agile’s promise). The team understands what their market wants, what your business needs, and how to meet those needs.
- Strengthening teams make their organizations stronger (possible future of agile). The team understands its role in the larger organizational system and actively works to make that system more successful.
A team’s fluency comes from the ability of team members to self-organize so that individual skills are applied to the right problems at the right times. A team is fluent in a zone when it’s fluent in all of the zone’s proficiencies, including predecessor zones.
The appropriate zone for your teams depends on your organization and can be different from team to team. It is not a ranking system, but is about understanding and working towards the appropriate level of fluency for your needs at a particular point in time. Delivering or Optimizing are often the best targets, but Focusing and Strengthening can also be good choices. Fluency is more a matter of habits than skills.
Video: The Agile Fluency Model Explained: A Brief Guide to Success with Agile
This model definitely fits into the culture-targeted block of my bird’s eye view on the agile frameworks forest (see also the complete article):