Numerous companies leverage metrics to measure the success of their business. However, when it comes to leveraging metrics to measure the success of Agile projects, things become a bit more trickier.
The main reason is that you have to define success in Agile projects, to begin with. There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to Agile project management or Agile software development. With that in mind, here are a few Agile project management metrics that could help you both define and measure success.
Delivery on time
Many organizations measure the success of their Agile initiatives by on-time delivery metrics. But what exactly does that mean? Agile projects don’t have fixed scopes and schedules, which means you're basically always on time.
However, in this case, on time has a different context and it's measured in accordance with expectations on what's about to be delivered. In other words, it improves the visibility of Agile project management milestones in reference of what's delivered and how things are getting done, in order to encourage the teams to tackle difficulties more decisively and on time.
Using the customer satisfaction metric to measure the success of Agile projects is what Agile is all about. The Agile methodology focuses on delivering value to the end-user through working software. There are various ways you can measure customer satisfaction. As an example, you can monitor your Net Promoter score, sales increase, usage statistics and so on.
Measuring the success of Agile practices through product quality can be difficult. As mentioned before, Agile methodology focuses on value for the end-users, which means there's an emphasis on product quality. The challenging part is that there are various ways you can measure quality.
For instance, you can look at customer satisfaction rates, revenue growth rates and even technical aspects of testing in the Agile environment. In other words, Agile development teams focus on building working software with quality integrated within the product. Continuous testing throughout the product's lifecycle ensures the code's health, thus ensuring quality at the end of the project.
Measuring business value is also a vital metric when determining the success of your Agile practices. After all, even the Agile Manifesto recognizes the importance of business value in several of its principles. Measuring business value is quite clear, especially when there's a contract, compliance requirement and even fines for unfinished work involved.
On the other hand, business value can also be quite approximate when market trends influence decisions, which makes value a good guess at best. Nevertheless, applying a business value score to the features that need to be delivered can help measure value effectively.
The scope of the product
You can also measure the success of your Agile practices by measuring the scope of the project. The project's scope includes features and requirements as part of the Agile project management KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). If you set a goal about what is to be done in the next three months, for instance, then tracking the status of the project and completing tasks can be quite rewarding.
As a matter of fact, when you have the real-time progress of the work being completed, it benefits everyone involved in the project. When it comes to Agile software development, you can always rely on the KPIs or simply visualize the project progressing toward success.
The visibility of the project
Visibility can be a major factor and an important metric in Agile practices and the project's success. Visibility is based on transparency and transparency is essential for building trust. In other words, having plans available to everyone and ensuring the progress of the project is visible to all. That way, everyone involved in the project, ranging from stakeholders to managers can have their unique perspective on the progress.
By using metrics to portray features or the overall progress of the activities against the plan in mind can provide everyone with valuable insights. Another reason why visibility is so important is that you must ensure alignment, especially if you have multiple teams working on the same project. That way you can ensure collaboration and mutual understanding between the teams, which will contribute to the overall success of the project.
Productivity is crucial in the Agile environment and it can be quite a useful metric to look at and monitor. However, the fact of the matter is that productivity in the Agile environment is perceived as a measure of outcomes and not the measure of outputs. Therefore, by looking at the number of user stories processed, as well as the number of requirements finished, you can accurately assess how much the teams are delivering with every iteration.
Another important factor and an important metric in the Agile environment is predictability. That said, the main metric used to measure predictability is the velocity trend. A velocity trend is the amount of work an Agile team, oftentimes Scrum teams, can complete within each sprint.
If you measure this metric throughout a three to four month period, you can determine how much work has been completed at a sustainable pace during that period. If the velocity metric varies drastically, it can mean any number of things, such as changes within a team, unpredictability of work, teams getting used to defining work and so on. You can measure velocity based on the number of user stories completed each week, which is a great indicator of the predictability itself.
The improvement of the process
One of the major principles of Agile methodology is continuous improvement, i.e., striving towards getting better all the times. However, you cannot really determine if there's an improvement, to begin with, unless you're measuring the outcomes.
The fact of the matter is that you can measure the process improvements by utilizing the combination of above-mentioned metrics. Productivity, velocity, predictability and other factors can indicate whether or not your teams are improving or not.
Using Agile project management metrics to determine the success of your efforts or your projects isn't easy. In the end, it comes down to which metrics you will opt for and which metrics will indicate what you perceive as a success the best way possible.