xScion Blog

Measuring for Agile Success

Feb 19, 2019

Measure for Success

Clearly knowing what to measure and how to communicate and utilize the learnings are challenges for Agile success in today’s data rich environments. In the webinar 4 Communication Strategies for Agile Success, Agile expert Bhavani Krishnan and xScion’s Mason Chaudhry discuss why to measure, some of the reasons organizations fail to measure and communicate learnings effectively, and useful principles behind identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. They address the challenges of what to measure and how to best communicate and use findings.

 

Krishnan recommends measuring periodically whenever introducing something new, looking for patterns and early indicators. The term “inspect and adapt” is used to describe the process of looking for the root causes of patterns and then modifying course or pivoting if necessary. Within an Agile framework communicating what is learned from measuring is critical.

 

How do you measure and communicate success?

There are many ways to measure success and communicate findings across an organization, including service demos and sprint reviews. They allow for teams to communicate what is built and provide an opportunity for collaboration with stakeholders and other teams.

 

Despite the clear benefits of measuring and communicating, both experts note that many organizations skip retrospectives. The main reasons are perceived lack of value and missing opportunities to realize value. Three main problems are:

  • some organizations simply omit the process
  • lack of employee engagement and participation
  • no follow through.

Retrospective activities should be creative, fun and include celebrations of what is accomplished. Deciding how best to communicate learnings, progress and setbacks can be an iterative, collaborative process too.

 

What are the best KPIs and metrics?

A challenge here is to use indicators and metrics that tie to the overall strategy and avoid measuring what is easiest to measure. For example, it is easier to measure velocity than it is to measure value delivery, but if you focus on velocity then you may end up putting out poor quality quickly. Measures should be simple, transparent and sustainable. Ultimately, you want to end up with indicators that encourage natural improvement and avoid having metrics become the purpose rather than tools for achieving the purpose.

 

Most of us work in complex, dynamic environments, which makes successful measurement and communication of learnings more crucial. We can’t only be better than the competition; we must be the best we can be. The strategies and ideas from the webinar (available to watch on-demand here.)  are a great starting point. They provide a foundation for thinking about how to best measure and communicate success and a framework for assessing and adapting what you already may be doing.

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