Agile metrics have transformed the way companies run their business. There are so many positive effects of agile metrics, including shorter time to market and lower initiation costs. Agile metrics will help to monitor productivity across all stages of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). It’s important to discuss how an enterprise can benefit from agile metrics to manage their projects and deliver on KPIs and add value for organizational success. Below are five agile metrics that your organization should be keeping an eye on.

What Are Agile Metrics?

Before we talk about the five agile metrics that will benefit your business in the long run, we must understand the meaning of agile metrics. Metrics are simply standards of measurement, and agile metrics are specific standards that help a software team by monitoring how productive a team is throughout the different stages of the SDLC. 

These metrics help to assess software development and measure how productive a team is and ensures the team is kept up to date. If problems occur, agile can help identify them from the initial stages. Let’s say there are flaws in the software, agile metrics can be used as a tool for discovery before development goes too far. The worst thing for your software development project would be to ignore your control chart metrics and progress tracking, just so you can get done on the project and move on.

Continuous improvement (CI) is the primary goal of agile metrics. However, teams must focus on CI, but first, each individual who is part of the team should go through self-improvement (SI). Every good team can not have CI without SI. Teams that focus on SI usually produce better results than ones that don’t. Creating an effective SI takes time and needs to be adequately managed. Agile metrics directly support SI by tracking software quality and team performance. 

Not only is improving continuity important for agile metrics, but it’s a key component to creating a high-quality product. The only challenge is finding the balance between both. That’s why teams should have access to progress measurement to know how long a project takes and how to track each team members’ output.  Agile metrics are instilled to help teams deliver more value and ensure teams become self-managing. 

Agile Metrics to Pay Attention To

Agile metrics are meant to help you understand the development process. Every step of the project development process is important, but there are 5 key agile metrics that you should pay attention to, to help ensure a smooth process for the final software release. 

Sprint Burndown Report

An agile framework is made up of different scrum teams. According to Visual Paradigm, “a scrum team is a collection of individuals (typically between five and nine members) working together to deliver the required product increments. The Scrum framework encourages a high level of communication among team members so that the team can follow a common goal, adhere to the same norms and rules, and show respect to each other.”  They then organize their processes into timeboxed sprints, outlining how much work they anticipate to complete. A sprint burndown report is used to track the progress of tasks during a sprint and the completion of each one. 

Total time and tasks left to finish are the two main factors measured for a sprint burndown report. The X-axis is the time, and the Y-axis is the work left to complete a task. These steps are measured in units of hours or story points (estimates of the overall efforts required to complete a product backlog item or any relevant work). It is up to your team to predict the workload at the initial start of the sprint, ultimately completing the workload by the end of the sprint. 

Epic and Release Burndown

Differing from sprint burndown, epic and release burndown (also referred to as epic and version burndown) charts track development progress over a larger body of work. This type of burndown report also helps to guide the development of scrum and kanban teams. According to SAFe, “team kanban is a method that helps teams facilitate the flow of value by visualizing workflow, establishing Work in Process (WIP) limits, measuring throughput, and continuously improving their process.” In simple terms, this metric and the resulting charts keep everyone aware of the ebb and flow of work inside the epic and version and takes into account any learnings and scope creep.

This metric is a valuable tool since a scrum team’s sprint report may have several epics and versions; while this measures the progress of individual sprints as well as epics and releases. It is vital to remember that the epic and release burndown charts are utilized for making everyone involved aware of the workflow happening within the epic and version. 

Velocity

The average work completed by a scrum team during a sprint, based on hours or story points, is called velocity. This metric is useful for future forecasting and can offer a prediction on how quickly a team can address backlogs. Since the report tracks both forecasted and completed work over several iterations, it’s a great metric for a project manager to make predictions – the more iterations, the more data you have to make an informed prediction.  

It’s very important to keep an eye on this metric and monitor it closely. Velocity usually will change and evolve as time progresses. New teams can find ways to optimize their work and increase their velocity, while existing teams can ensure that their performance stays consistent and if any changes have made improvements or not. On the other hand, a decrease means that your team has become inefficient and needs to correct something. 

Control Chart

Control charts keep an eye on the entire cycle time it takes to solve a problem. It tracks the total time from the initial start to the end. Teams that are faster with solving problems usually have higher throughput. Teams that are consistent with solving issues are generally more predictable in completing work. And even though Kanban teams rely on cycle time as a key metric, this also can work well for scrum teams to optimize the time it takes to solve individual issues. 

By measuring these issues, it is an efficient and flexible way to enhance a team’s process. Changes are noticed almost immediately, which allows a team to alter and fix any issues quickly. The final goal of the control chart is to have a consistent and speedy problem-solving process, regardless of the type of work. 

Cumulative Flow Diagram

To track consistency across all team members, a cumulative flow diagram (CFD) should be used. This is a visual representation of how your project is moving through the stages, from “To Do” to “In Progress” to “Done.”. Looking at this diagram, you’ll notice that the X-axis is time, while the Y-axis is the number of problems. The perfect diagram is straight from left to right, indicating that projects are moving through the categories equally. It’s critical to straighten out the color bands in case of uneven chart flow – you don’t want to see any bottlenecks on the chart, or more things in the “To do” colour, as compared to what’s “in progress” or “done.”. The more narrow the band, the more increase of throughput than the rate of entry. The wider the band, means the workflow capacity is greater than required. If this occurs, you can move the band to straighten the flow. 

It’s important to remember that the CFD measures the process of the “work in progress.” You can use the CFD to initiate a strategy that will help speed up the process and workflow. The diagram should be used as a visual to notice any issues that may be occurring. It is also used to analyze how problems began to form from the beginning. Then your team can do what’s necessary to eliminate the issues and make better improvements. 

Partnering with an Agile MSP

If you’re looking to improve your development projects, and need resources that know the agile method inside and out (or scrum or Kanban if you prefer), you don’t need to look any further than K2 Partnering Solutions. Our team of specialists, technical experts, and enterprise solutions consultants have years of experience in delivering custom solutions, complex migrations, and software development – all requiring unique project management methodologies and KPIs. 

Having been at the forefront of technology and talent for over 20 years, with world-class solutions at our fingertips, we help businesses to innovate and grow. With a worldwide network of locations, we have a global reach, but local expertise to deliver first-class technology solutions and unparalleled industry knowledge to our clients. 

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