How Agile Metrics can Boost your Product Development Process

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A report by the Harvard Business Review states that companies that adopt Agile processes, experience 60% in revenue and profit growth. The statistics surrounding Agile Methodology thus points to the simple fact that this methodology has grown legs. In simpler words, the adoption of agile methodology has become popular owing to the fact that it is the secret sauce for ensuring efficient product development. That said, businesses need to be acquainted with an aspect of Agile called the agile metrics to effectively reap the benefits. What exactly is Agile Metrics? 

Metrics could be defined as a system or a standard of measurement. Therefore, Agile metrics help development teams to measure the various aspects of the software development cycle, such as the product’s quality and delivery, and the productivity of the team. While quantitatively measuring work, these metrics also enable teams to become self-aware. The agile metrics can be broadly classified into three families. They are as follows:

  • Lean Metrics: Helps control and observe development processes to facilitate continuous quality improvement by eliminating unnecessary activities. Eg: Cycle Time, Lead Time.
  • Scrum Metrics: Widely used metrics that focus on the effective delivery of the working software to the clients. Eg: Burndown Chart.
  • Kanban Metrics: Focuses on measuring the workflow and enables to predict the time required by the team to complete the project. Eg: Cumulative Flow.

Mark Twain once remarked, “If the metrics you are looking at aren’t useful in optimizing your strategy- stop looking at them.” However, the process of differentiating between useful metrics and the ones that aren’t is easier said than done. Nevertheless, as a result of our experience of working with Agile, we have compiled a list of Agile metrics that could help boost your product development process. We have grouped them according to the results delivered by these metrics. Let us take a look at some of the most effective metrics in the world of Agile.

Agile Quality Metrics

Release Net Promoter Score: Also called as NPS, Net Promoter Score helps to measure customer satisfaction while also predicting the business growth. Customer satisfaction is an important factor that determines success, and thus, it becomes important to gauge the customer experience. This agile metric measures the likelihood of the customers recommending or not recommending the software to others. The NPS index ranges from -100 to 100 and helps understand the customer trends while constantly improving the product quality. The respondents are classified into the following categories:

  • Promoters: Customers who are likely to contribute to the business growth by buying the software while also recommending it to others.
  • Passives: Although these customers are satisfied with the product, they are unenthusiastic and more prone to lean towards competitive offerings.
  • Detractors: As the name suggests, these are unsatisfied customers who can detract business growth.

Let us take a look at an illustration of the above-mentioned classification for better understanding.

NPS Agile Metric

Defects Leakage: This is a metric that helps to identify the number of defects after the build has been released to the customer for UAT or production. In some cases, this metric is also used to track those bugs that had not been addressed in the same sprint and had flowed over to the next sprint. This metric proves to be highly relevant and useful as it helps maintain and measure the deployed software quality.

Failed Deployments: It helps measure the number of deployments while measuring the reliability of the testing and production environments. It is a highly essential quality metric that helps understand if the sprints are production-ready or not.

Productivity Metrics

Agile Velocity: Also known as ‘Velocity,’ this metric measures the number of completed story points on an average over the past sprints. It’s a powerful result metric that helps measure the team’s productivity and also predicts its efficiency in the upcoming sprints. It is important to understand that velocity keeps evolving with respect to the optimized work processes. Hence the teams have to monitor its evolution through time. A decrease in velocity would suggest inefficiencies in some parts of the development process. Take a look at a sample velocity chart.

Sprint Burndown Chart: Similar to Agile Velocity, this metric helps visualize the number of completed and remaining story points. It enables the Scrum/Kanban master to track the completion of story points in real-time and helps predict if the sprint scope will be completed on time. It is an important productivity metric as it helps measure the value delivered by the sprint while showing how efficient and agile the team is.

Given below is a sample sprint burndown chart.

Sprint Burndown

Epic and Release Burndown: This metric tracks the development progress over a larger body of work as compared to the sprint burndown chart. It guides the development for both scrum and kanban teams and focuses on tracking the progress of existing epics and versions. The epic and release burndown chart ensures that the entire team is kept aware of the workflow in the epic and version.

Project Metrics

Cumulative Flow Diagram: Known as one of the most powerful Kanban project metrics, CFD helps ensure consistent workflow across the team. The X-axis represents time, the Y-axis represents the number of issues, and the colors represent the workflow states. It helps measure the state of the work in progress and identify and eliminate bottlenecks. In an ideal situation, the diagram should be smooth from left to right. This is a sample Cumulative Flow Diagram.

Agile-Metrics-Cumulative-Flow-Diagram

Code Coverage: This is a metric that helps calculate the percentage of the product’s code that is covered by unit tests. Code coverage can be run automatically as part of every build. Although it gives a decent perspective on the quality of the product, this metric comes with a catch. It does not measure the inputs of other types of testing, and hence high code coverage does not represent high quality.

Agile Product Development Metrics

With the world of Agile becoming highly competitive, one has to keep up with the fast-paced development and changes in the scenario. At this point, we can accept that the hype around Agile is not a fad that is going to be short-lived. With that in mind, it is important to focus on its implementation, and for that, one must include the above-mentioned list of metrics as a part of the workflow. Also, one must measure the various aspects of the SDLC for continuous improvement in your business processes and for the business to scale new heights.

By,
Amritha Nampalat
Marketing Executive, RapidValue

References: Scrum Institute, Kanbanize.

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