9 Fundamental Agile Metrics

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Toyota motor company and its manufacturing culture and core values (Toyota Production System) led to the appearance of modern “lean” design approaches including Agile. The latter is, probably, the most widely practiced software development methodology. In this article, we propose to discuss Agile software development metrics that can help you gauge the efficiency of your team’s activities.

Why Measuring Agile Metrics is a Necessity?

Despite the popularity of the methodology itself, there are not so many development companies that evaluate the effects and result of Agile introduction regularly.

agile metrics meaning

The main reasons here are the absence of established estimation standards, a large number of indicators, and the inability of some project managers to appraise them correctly. Nevertheless, metrics are nothing more than factors, the deviation in the values which indicate the required adjustments to the working process. Therefore, when you create a particular software product, analyzing these metrics helps to increase productivity and yield more positive results. Let us describe the nine most important Agile development metrics in our opinion.

Nine Fundamentally Important Agile Metrics

  • Sprint Burndown. Our list begins with Sprint Burndown. In essence, this is a graph where the horizontal axis is the days spent in the sprint, and the vertical axis is the effort made (usually counted in man-hours). First, you draw the “perfect” line for your team, then, by marking the daily points, determine the actual situation (under- or overperformance). This will provide you with information on whether there is a need to speed up the workflow and how flexible your team is.

sample burndown chart

  • Agile Velocity. As a rule, the Agile Velocity metric is displayed as a diagram, where the horizontal axis is the number of sprints conducted in a certain term, and the vertical axis is the number of tasks/features implemented. Over each sprint, we mark the ideal and the real numbers of tasks/features done during this sprint. This allows to see clearly the team’s estimated working speed and the actual productivity. It is very important to ensure that the speed assessment is carried out either for all the teams at once (total) or for separately selected teams since it is not entirely correct to compare the productivity of groups working on completely different tasks.
  • Release Burndown. This metric shows how much time was spent on the implementation of the software release, intermediate or final, – from the start of its discussion until its completion. In some cases, when no intermediate releases are needed, Release Burndown is completed at the final stage of the project, that is, demonstration of the finished product to the customer. This metric is more indicative than the previous one because it displays the main indicator for the development team – have they managed to complete the job before the deadline.
  • Cycle Time. One of the newer, so-called actionable, Agile development metrics, Cycle Time determines how long it took for the task to go through all of its execution stages – from definition to finalization (“Done” or “Closed”, depending on the scheme the company is working upon). If the predefined cycle time exceeds the length of the sprint, this indicates that your team cannot cope with the timeframe assigned to the task and there is a need to improve performance. For instance – divide the major tasks into smaller subtasks.
  • Test Coverage. This metric is ideal for evaluating the performance of your quality assurance (QA) team. It can be measured by the number of tests carried upon one module, sets of input parameters for testing (conditions), as well as in the number of man-hours spent on one hundred percent coverage of the code of a particular module. When a team develops the code in such a way that it is not fully covered by tests, this indicates its low quality (and insufficient qualification of specialists). On the other hand, even if a large number of successful tests covers the code, this does not mean its complete infallibility.
  • Cumulative Flow. This metric analyzes the entire volume of tasks, stages of their execution, and their flow for a certain period. That is, you note down periodically, how much tasks are at each stage at the moment (defined, in progress, done, etc.). It helps to track at what stage of development the members of your team are under the most severe load. This metric is usually used to analyze the performance of sprints.
  • Escaped Defects. Escaped Defects metric is related to product quality assessment. It testifies to the fact that your team has completely created and tested the code. This metric displays defects that were found after the release of the product (or its demonstration to the customer). The metric also allows you to get a rough estimate of the qualification of your team.
  • Failed Deployments. This is another type of QA Agile metrics, which allows determining how well your team’s expertise meets the requirements for a “viable” product. It also helps to establish how successful the selected development environment is. In short, it is just a counter for the number of times the product was returned for revision after deployment.
  • Team Spirit Level. Our list of best Agile metrics is closed by one of the most commonly used company health indicators. In order to obtain data for the Team Spirit Level, you simply need to regularly ask each of the team members to rate their current work satisfaction (for example, on a scale from 0 to 5, where 0 means “absolutely disagree with the statement” and 5 – “completely agree with the statement”). Good statements to collecting data for this metric are the following types of phrases: “I am pleased with the work we have done as the team recently,” “I feel that I fully realize my abilities in the team,” “I love what I do in team,” and so on.

Read alsoDevOps vs Agile

 

In fact, there are dozens of metrics used to evaluate the effectiveness of the applied Agile technology. However, many of these Agile project management metrics can confuse newbies, and some have shown to be meaningless in the long run. One way or another, if you do not want to tempt fate, then it is better to entrust the development of your software project to professionals. We have many years of experience in building solutions of varying scale and spheres of application. We always guarantee the highest possible quality of our creations, as well as the rapid implementation of the ideas proposed by our customers.
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