Agile metrics help you to evaluate, document, and improve the delivered business value of the systems that you currently use. For your team or individual teams within your team, agile metrics provide better insight into how your team functions, where changes can be made, and even how quantitative agile metrics can be used. As an overarching look at your business, quantitative agile metrics can often lead to decisions that are smarter and more effective.
All information used in agile metrics comes directly from the agile tools that you use already. They simply measure the effectiveness of your tools. Even briefly looking at these snapshots can be helpful in making informed decisions.
Worthwhile Agile Metrics
Agile metrics are used to better understand the current situation of agile software development as well as to gain insight into how it has changed over time. Without agile metrics that you can understand, many resort to bias or “gut feelings” when interpreting data. While this works in some situations, in others it can be misleading.
Worthwhile agile metrics help to lead a change by:
Tracking meaningful agile metrics that apply to teams;
Measuring parameters of all kinds, not only those that are easy;
Tracking context as well as data
That last item is one of the most important but most overlooked items in understanding agile metrics – without context, some of the reporting could seem more or less important than it actually is. Though agile metrics seek to remove bias, one has to be careful to avoid it in agile metrics as well.
Within agile software development, the most important metrics measure the value given to a specific project over days, weeks, or even months. These insights create change that program managers, team members, IT teams, and more can use to proactively progress throughout projects. It is important to have different levels of agile metrics that are specific to a team.
Agile Metrics: Lead Time and Cycle Time
Agile metrics help you to gain a competitive edge over your competition. They do this by providing structural information from information based on dates, lead times, results, timelines, sprint backlogs, and more.
For instance, when using agile metrics you may be able to see lead time and cycle times and reduce them so that you can improve delivery value to customers. You can see where problem areas are and find solutions to fix them. Agile metrics may even suggest changes to get you where you want to go: creating cross-functional teams, creating new teams or new types of teams, or furthering whole-product perspectives.
Agile Metric: Velocity
Velocity is a metric of how much work is accomplished within a specific period by a team. These are measured in sprints and can be used to determine how much work can be accomplished in a given time and by whom it can be accomplished. It is a way to compare workloads and time periods – why did less get done in the summer months than in the spring months? It enables teams to see how outside factors (and inside factors) impact productivity, and thus impact predictability.
Another metric to model this is a sprint burn-down chart metric. Using this agile tool, teams can see the progress during a sprint. Agile metrics backlog this work and then display the rate and amount of progress, which is then visible on an agile dashboard.
Agile Metrics in Staffing
Agile metrics can measure the success of staffing within a project, which is important because staffing is one of the largest costs a business has. Agile metrics then measure the labor put into a project. For those working with federated and co-located groups, it is a great way to determine the value put out by each team.
Similarly, agile metrics help to determine schedules that work best for a given project or team. After evaluation, you are able to maximize the performance of a team by scheduling in a way that gives you the best outcome.
Deliverable Agile Metrics
Agile development offers a more direct view of progress for many teams, allowing them to make changes as something moves through the system. As a result, the results of that work tend to be of higher quality. Even better, they allow the chance to refine and edit final products, assuring that when something finally comes through the pipeline, it is a finished product. Agile metrics help to deliver something that meets your standards and requirements, not just something that comes through within a certain time or under budget.
Agile metrics are detailed and complete reports that help you to understand where your business is now, where it has been, and where it could possibly go. You can use these metrics in almost every facet of your development, from hiring and firing to project management and building. Even better, for teams it offers a chance to clarify, extrapolate, and prioritize requirements in a way that is visual and intuitive. Many have seen success in using the agile method, though when using agile metrics, they’ve seen a great improvement in the final results, reducing the amount of “rework” a team has to do.
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