In today’s competitive business landscape, there is a widespread adoption of Agile project management in organizations across the globe. Initiatives are being undertaken to incorporate Agile extensively, and Agile metrics plays a key role in determining whether the Agile initiatives taken up by your organization was a success or not.
Choosing the right Agile metric to measure the success of Agile is tricky. Below mentioned are how Agile practitioners across the globe are measuring the success of their Agile initiatives in their organization. Get to know top 10 ways to assess / measure Agile success.
*The data which we have used in the following blog is collected from the 9th Annual State of Agile survey.

  1. Product Quality:

    Quality is a crucial by product of Agile initiatives. In the survey, 48% of respondents from the survey assessed the success of their Agile implementation through product quality. Moreover, quality is measured in many ways such as customer satisfaction, technical aspects of testing, revenue growth, and more. With Agile teams, the velocity of creating a working software that meets quality is taken into consideration. By constantly monitoring the testing trends, one will be able to keep a regular check on build and code health.

  2. Delivering on time:

    The main reason why Agile has found widespread acceptance is because of on time delivery attribute of working software.
    In Agile development, the schedule is more or less fixed and scope is flexible where the product can be tweaked in epics and versions. In the context of Agile, on time delivery is measured with regards to the expectations that will be delivered. To have better visibility of what is being delivered, you may have to look at the burndown or the burnup chart metrics, where you get to see the trend of work getting done and the impact of scope changes.

  3. Customer satisfaction:

    According to the “9th Annual State of Agile Survey”, 44% of respondents assess their Agile initiatives with customer satisfaction. There are different ways to measure customer satisfaction that includes sales reports, the number of support calls vs. number of features delivered on time, Net Promoter score, site capabilities, and more.

  4. Business value achieved:

    Again 44% of survey respondents believed their success rate of Agile initiatives is measured with business value achieved. Even many of the principles in Agile Manifesto give importance to delivering business value.
    In most of the principles of Agile Manifesto, it recognizes the importance of delivering business value. While measuring business value, there is an inherent understanding of work that needs to be complete and there are fines if the work does not get finished within the stipulated time. Moreover, measuring value is speculative at best as market inputs drive decisions and the value derived is often a best guess. But if you have business value score applied to the features that need to be delivered can measure the real value.

  5. Project transparency:

    30% of respondents in the survey measure through project transparency / visibility. It means that the project plans are visible to all. By sharing project’s progress at various junctures provides project stakeholders all the information that they need. Also, metrics that showcases overall progress for a project plan will provide better insights.
    Project transparency / visibility is even more important as there needs to be an alignment among other internal teams to manage their work with inter-related dependencies.

  6. Product Scope:

    39% of ‘9th Annual State of Agile Survey’ respondents measured their Agile initiatives with product scope. It is all about setting goals around what needs to be done over a specific period of time, tracking the status, and getting them completed is one of the most rewarding experiences in Agile initiatives. In fact, real-time feedback towards the progress of work is extremely useful for the team. In Agile development, the projects rely more on burndown charts or check the progress of the project via cards moving from left-to-right on the Kanban board.

  7. Productivity achieved:

    29% of respondents from the survey measured the success of their agile initiative through productivity achieved.
    Productivity in Agile is an altogether different ball game. Productivity in Agile is measured through outcomes rather than output. By looking at the burnup chart for a product is very useful. By just seeing the number of stories or features on a burnup chart will give one an idea of how the team is performing and delivering for a particular project.

  8. Predictability:

    Close to 25% of the survey respondents measured the success of Agile initiatives through the means of predictability. Agile initiatives will be successful when a project manager / product owner can predict beforehand the timelines, features and the number of epics and versions required to complete a project after creating an initial project plan.
    One of the metrics used to assess predictability in Agile is velocity trend. As a product owner, when you get to know what is the amount of work that is getting completed in a three to four month period will give you a fair idea of the pace of the project. If the velocity fluctuates wildly, then it indicates the team is changing, work is unpredictable, or the team is getting used to define work to complete in an iteration. You can always use a velocity trend chart to assess velocity by just counting the number of story cards completed each week. This gives you a fair assessment of predictability.

  9. Improvement of Processes:

    Nearly 23% of respondents from the survey measured their Agile initiatives through improvement seen in their processes.
    One of the core impression of Agile initiatives is the continuous improvement seen in their processes. Many enterprises fail to realize this benefit as they do not know how they are getting better. There are many metrics to measure but one such metric is cumulative flow chart that shows how the work is flowing all throughout the project lifecycle. In this flow chart, you can exactly see where the bottlenecks or slowdowns are occurring and take appropriate actions.
    Then there is also cycle time metric which helps in predicting and planning with all the information available. Cycle time metric over a period of time gives you a great view to see how certain tweaks and adjustments are impacting productivity.

  10. Do not know how to measure:

    Close to 11% of respondents from the survey said, they do not know how to measure the success of Agile initiatives.
    As a product owner / project manager, if you are finding it difficult to measure the success of Agile initiatives, then start looking at the metrics mentioned above. Over a few sprints or epics and versions you will see improvements in the value delivered, quality of the product, predictable cadence, and improved customer satisfaction.

Though Agile has found widespread acceptance, enterprises are finding it difficult to measure or assess the success rates of their Agile initiatives. Moreover, the survey results show us that there is no single metric that Agile practitioners use. Different organizations need different metrics and different assessments with regards to the type of the management, and teams. Do let us know in the comments section how you measure the success of Agile initiatives in an organization.

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Billie Keita
Billie Keita is known for her exemplary skills in implementing project management methodologies and best practices for business critical projects. She possesses 10+ years of experience in handling complex software development projects across Europe and African region. She also conducts many webinars and podcasts where she talks about her own experiences in implementing Agile techniques. She is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)®, and has published many articles across various websites.


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