Bonus Track (K) 2015
Bonus Track (K)

Session type: Bonus

Craig Girvan and Toby Parkins – The Open Agile Profiling System – Live Blog

Craig and Toby founded Headforwards in 2011 as an alternative outsourcing option for companies looking for better software development. They are currently engaged with NTT and AXA PPP Healthcare as well as some startup businesses. You can catch up with Craig and Toby on the Headforwards website.

One of the most overlooked yet important parts of Agile is about helping others achieve more.

Why ask ‘How Agile’?

Agile profiling system

It’s a hard question to answer. How do you measure something that means lots of different things to many different people. Answers are likely to be highly subjective and dependent on with parts of Agile that are followed.

Headforwards asked this question after a client requested an assessment of their agility. With only 2 days to work with the used a fact finding approach using

  • Process doc reading
  • Interview / discussion (anonymous)
  • Observation

It’s always worth going to the coal face to see exactly how processes work in reality.


Existing tools were good in their own way but were limited for the teams needs.

  • Process specific
  • No indication of state of agility
  • Closed / limited

This in turn lead to the Open Agile Profiler Tool. The Agile manifesto was used as a starting point, devising questions for members of the organisation in different rolls.  the Agile Alliance practice guide ‘s ‘symptoms of agility’ were a core foundation. This allowed Headforwards to use the ethos of Agile.

Businesses often like standardised tools and processes whereas Agile is a philosophy. People need leading through the philosophy to usable practices.

Different teams need different solutions. A organisation of three has vastly different needs to one with 1500 team members. The resulting profiles from the Open Agile Profiling System are not comparable between organisations, instead being bespoke to that organisation.


The profile begins with a set of questions, depending on the goals of the profile.


Toby and Girvan are looking to create a focus group to help develop the profiling system. The starter question set are available at the Headforwards website, with development of your own questions encouraged.