Scrum & Test

What is the Nokia Scrum Test?

by Pete R.

Over a decade ago a man named Bas Vodde introduced a simple test that was able to assess the level of agile adoption and Scrum at the Nokia-Siemens Finland. The test was conducted on almost ten agile teams, and the adoption of Scrum and agile practices were observed. The test has become known as the Nokia Scrum Test and is also sometimes referred to as the "Scrum, But…Test". The test was later adapted by two people, Dan Greening, and Jeff Sutherland and was used in Scrum courses conducted by Jeff.

The Nokia Scrum Test Consists of Two Parts

The Nokia Scrum Test consists of two parts. The first part of the test is used to identify whether you are in fact doing iterative development or not.

The first part is comprised of 3 parts

  • A test is determining whether the iterations are timeboxed to less than 4 weeks.
  • Making sure that the software features are tested and working by the end of each of the iterations.
  • Lastly, the repetition must begin before the specification has been completed.

The second part of the Nokia Scrum Test is testing for the use of Scrum. It involves: - Knowing who the product owner is. - There is a product backlog that is being prioritized by its business value. - The product backlog includes estimates that have been created by the Scrum team.

The team knows its velocity and generates burndown charts. There are no project managers or another person who can disrupt the team’s work.

The teams that pass both 1 and 2 are said to be functioning at a reasonable agile level. There is no agile development when the following happens:

  • The team members are uncooperative.
  • The code or designs are prepared but by individual effort rather than teamwork.

How to Use the Test

There are several different ways to use the Nokia Scrum Test on teams to test their agile transformation. These are:

Single Team-Written

The easiest way to conduct a scrum test is to print out the pdf version of the questionnaire and have the team members fill it out by hand. It takes approximately 10 minutes to fill one questionnaire. After they are done, the score sheet can be used to score the team’s performance.

Multiple Teams-Written

Just like with the single team, print out the questionnaire and have the multiple teams fill it out by hand. Use the same score sheet to determine how each group has performed. The organization’s agile coaches and the scrum master can review the performances together to assess what steps to take to make the performance better in the future.

Electronically Test

You can also have the teams fill out the questionnaire electronically by creating a Google form of your version. Once the tests have concluded, you can discuss and present the results to the teams.

The Nokia Scrum Test provides a performance test on your team before you put your Scrum team to work. While it does not ensure high performance by a team, it is the first step to take in building a capable team.


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