Key Metrics for Agile Teams
15 March 2016
Agile teams generally use velocity as their primary metric. Here are a few metrics that I feel are important to Agile teams for improving efficiency.
During the preparation of user stories, the product owner assigns points to stories in terms of their value (perhaps by consulting the stakeholders). If it is a technical refactoring story, the product owner should consult the team to get the value for such a story.
In general, the effort put forth in user stories is estimated by using story points. In a similar way, value is estimated by using value points. At the end of the iteration, the cumulative value points delivered (that have adhered to the Definition of Done) can be calculated, which will help us to know the value delivered per iteration.
Gauging velocity in value points delivered per iteration rather than in story points will help the Agile teams know the effective value delivered to the stakeholders.
Value velocity per iteration = ∑ value points done in the iteration
Value momentum is a metric that provides teams with insight into how they are delivering value over the team's original value velocity. The value velocity of the team can be derived in the same way that story points velocity is derived for the team.
Value momentum = Current iteration's value velocity / Team's value velocity
With this metric, teams can determine whether they are increasing the value delivery per iteration. Gauge this metric after a few initial iterations, because the team needs time to determine its rhythm.
The velocity factor metric will help you determine how much of the work in the iteration was actually done or was delivered.
Velocity factor = Story points done / Story points worked per iteration
This metric indicates whether teams have completed the majority of the work they have worked on. If the velocity factor is continuously falling below 0.5 over several iterations, it means that teams are working on more stories than can be done, or that the team is facing impediments. The impediments may be external dependencies on other teams, defect creep, or some other factor. This metric will help coaches identify impediments that are not being explicitly conveyed by the teams.
If value points are taken into consideration using this metric, then it is termed thevalue velocity factor.
Value velocity factor = Value points done / Value points worked per iteration
Apart from the other metrics of the iteration, the team's happiness is one of the crucial aspects that should be checked regularly. This index shows whether the team is happy or stressed by the work environment.
This metric can be derived at the end of the iteration or during the retrospectives. You can ask team members to indicate "Yes" or "No" on a sticky note. Asking the teams to choose on a numerical scale will not convey how happy they are. It is difficult to understand why a team member is only 80 percent happy if the team member chose 4 on a scale of 5.
This metric should lead to a discussion about obstacles that are in the way of the team's happiness and how to overcome them. An organization or the Agile coach should aspire to achieve 100 percent of the team's happiness, because happiness is one factor that drives the team and any other metrics!
Impediments value index
Impediments are the real threat to a team's progress, and they should be addressed as soon as they are known.
Besides logging the impediment in the impediments index or roster, I recommend that you log a value against the impediment. For example, an impediment is causing a delay on the completion of two stories of 8 story points each, so the impediment value is logged as 16.
Impediments value Index = ∑ impediments value / ∑ story points of the iteration
Use this metric to determine to what extent the impediments are obstructing the team's progress. Check this metric at daily meetings and retrospectives. The coach should address and resolve the impediments at the earliest opportunity.
These five metrics, in addition to the more common ones, can help teams thrive.
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