Agile Metrics: Tracking Numbers that Matter
posted on 02 May 2011
Many agile teams keep track of velocity as a measure of their performance.1 This is a useful measure, but it shouldn’t be the only one. This past week we realized that another performance metric of an agile team should be how much work it avoids doing.
During a discussion with stakeholders last week, we realized that much of the work in our queue was a temporary fix for a problem we would ultimately solve at a later date. Thanks to the stakeholders keeping their own planning queue in a visible location, the development team was able to see that the proper fix for the problem was scheduled for just a few weeks later. We engaged the primary stakeholder in a discussion about the requirements of the proper fix, and deemed that it would be no more work than the temporary fix. Naturally, we started work on the proper fix, abandoning the temporary one — and eliminated nearly a week’s worth of work!
Velocity is a great metric to track, but perhaps agile teams should also get in the habit of tracking work avoided on account of successful communication. After all, the best code is no code at all.
This, of course, is not the recommended use for velocity, but remains a method of measuring performance.↩