The exponentially growing popularity of Agile software development practices suggests that this iterative and incremental framework really does enhance the performance of software development teams. That helps a great deal when trying to get management on board for an Agile transition project.
But once Agile has been implemented, you'll need metrics to assess the productivity of your teams. This article gives you an introductory list of the metrics most widely applied in Agile software development.
Team Velocity Overview
Team velocity overview is one of the fundamental metrics used by Scrum Masters and Agile project manageres to measure the productivity of their teams. Velocity is used to measure the work the team has completed during one sprint. Partially completed or not completed stories should not be included in the calculation of the velocity. Velocity can then be compared across iterations and visualized on charts that will, ideally, represent increasing productivity.
Historical data on team velocity helps effort estimation and Agile release planning. Therefore, it is essential that velocity is tracked accurately.
The burndown chart illustrates the completion of work committed to at iteration planning. Essentially, it shows you the ratio of work completed vs yet to be done. Because of its simplicity, it's a great visualization tool that gives you valuable insights to your team's performance at a glance. Updated on a daily basis, it lets customers and all stakeholders track the progress of your iterations, releases, or sprints continuously.
In addition to optimal performance, you also have to make sure that the quality of work delivered by your Agile teams is satisfactory. Metrics such as Escaped defects help you track the accuracy and quality of development work. Escaped defects is, of course, a simple metric: the number of problems discovered after the product has been released. Comparing it to the number of defects discovered during development (QA and testing) will give you a better overview of the accuracy of development – especially because the later you fix a bug, the more it will cost you (both in terms of costs and in terms of lower customer satisfaction).
This set of metrics is often overlooked. If all your metrics are good, the customers are satisfied, and business is profitable, you would be tempted to sit back and enjoy the fruits if your work. But it's possible that you're sitting on a ticking bomb: if your team is unhappy and burning out, your metrics won't last long. Therefore, experts suggest asking a few questions or even handing out surveys during retrospective meetings to assess whether your developers are satisfied and motivated.
Better Performance Analysis with codeBeamer ALM
Rounding up all the data necessary to track and analyze these metrics can be tricky if you're using dozens of development tools. Using an integrated Application Lifecycle Management tool such as codeBeamer ALM puts all the necessary data at your fingertips.
Advanced queries let you search for any and all lifecycle data, while reporting & visualization options enable you to create continuously updated dashboards. Send out these charts in automated reports to make sure all stakeholders are updated about your projects' progress.
Some of the features of codeBeamer ALM that help monitoring, reporting, effort estimation, and release planning:
- Burndown charts for tracking the effectiveness of your Agile projects
- Velocity trend charts for measuring the productivity of your teams
- Gantt charts to visualize and efficiently manage your releases and sprints
- Automatically updated burndown charts
- Activity stream reports on the recent activities of all team members
- The Release Planner helps you to plan and manage multiple releases, milestones and sprints