Measuring progress is important (not everything, do not overdo). However, I worked with many teams and scrum masters that do not have an idea what they want to improve and how to know they are improving.
The most difficult part is NOT finding the right metrics or researching what works and what doesn’t. It is more about taking a step back and trying to understand to depth what we want to improve and how do we consider it improved.
To help kick start this I am sharing some easy to start metrics that will help the teams on measurement. These measurements have a lot of variations as well, each focus on a separate side of the problem.
The point of it is for people to focus on problems as a team and do the needed experiments to see the progress towards addressing the metrics.
Task Carry over:
What work items did we plan to finish in the sprint? How many of them?
Then after we finish the sprint, how much work goes back to the backlog because it was not finished in the sprint?
This spread or difference is important to create better predictability for the teams work. A 100% predictability that is constant means the team is not trying to challenge themselves.
Number of defects:
My favorite way to use this can is how many items we thought were done and were actually not done. (Definition of Done)
The focus on quality is crucial for teams to be agile and actually deliver with speed is start to make sure work items to do not go back.
There are many reasons for this. Example would be lack of understanding of agreement on the DoD or the developer wants to finish the work items based on estimation so rushes.
Unplanned work inclusion:
Unplanned work is a reality. As the team is working, external forces asks the team to deliver URGENT work.
This metrics checks two main areas:
- Empowerment and focus of the product owner: Without going into details the product owner that cannot protect the sprint goal causes the issue.
- The operational work the team has to handle: predicting it can help the team manage unplanned work.