How to measure agile team performance
To better understand the impact of your team and how to keep improving
By Humphrey Fredriksz
How do you measure your agile team performance? How do you know if they are adding value to the business, is the team happy with their agile progress and where can we improve the team first to get better. Knowing the investment your company is doing in IT agile development teams, will trigger you to ask yourself this question. Also, how do you know if these investment are paying off. The better the team, the more trusts and cool stuff they can build. So, lets see how you can measure their performance.
There are different levels to measure your team performance, I will go from top level, which you can measure on for example quarterly level all the way to what you can measure on a daily level. Assuming that you already started working in sprints with the team. If you haven’t started yet, then you can look at other progress, but most of the time in this stage you aren’t burning a lot of money yet. So let’s start on top.
Yearly question: what have we achieved as team in terms of generating revenue, saving costs or what have we learned about customers or new technologies? These insights give direction and guidance for next year strategies. It’s not possible to stir a team based on these number on daily business. You can do 360 feedback and annual performance reviews, but also these should be done at least every 3-6 months. Company objectives will result in a next year strategy and determine the budget available for a team. They will decide if we want to hire extra developers or is it needed to lower the investment in team A and invest more in team B.
Many organisation work with OKRs, this stands for Objectives Key Results, and these are measurable team KPI’s. Teams commit tho these objectives, which are in line with the company objectives, and manage dependencies with other teams. Every 2-4 weeks teams give an update about their progress on their objectives. These objectives can be found back in the team’s product roadmap, but the good thing about OKR’s is that they must be SMART the better the team is able to achieve their OKR’s, the more predictable they are and successful.
“Looking at the ‘Sprint burndown chart’ will tell you how much work is burned down compared to how much total work is planned for the sprint.”
Impact of deliverables
Every new developed piece of software, like a feature or an improvement should be measured. The team should have a hypothesis or assumption about what they expect the business or customer impact should be after releasing. Examples are the impact are the increase of conversion rate or usage of a new features. These should be measured and reported back to the stakeholders preferably during sprint reviews.
Sprint goals (bi-weekly)
If your team works with 2 or 3 week sprints, you will be able to measure if they succeed. In line with their quarterly roadmap, you will be able to see if the sum of their sprint goals will bring the value they committed to for their OKRs. In traditional agile, the sprint goal can be a ‘headline’ or a specific goal, like releasing a feature or increasing conversion. Team present their sprint goals during the sprint review which takes place at the end of very sprint. All stakeholders are welcome to join and are able to verify the work and ask questions. If the sprint goals of the first 2 or 3 sprints aren’t made, you know that their quarterly target will become difficult.
Sprint burndown chart (daily-level)
If you are working closer to the team and what to be able to see the progress on daily level, then you can look at the Sprint burndown chart in JIRA (or other project management tools). In JIRA the sprint work is reflected and during daily scrums the team updates their progress. Looking at the ‘burndown chart’ will tell you how much work is burned down compared to how much total work is planned for the sprint. If teams work with subtasks and hour estimations, you’ll have a very accurate view on the sprint progress.
To deep dive into team performance on sprint level, it’s possible to monitor their sprint velocity and especially how much time they spend on user stories which are planned and time they spend on bugs, production issues, which we call ‘unplanned’ work. This gives you a better understanding what is causing specific performance.
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