Just as with any initiative, you want to try and measure whether transitioning to Agile helps your company move in the right direction. But measuring is not that simple, as it’s not just one metric you can look at and because, like many other companies, you might not have pre-Agile data to compare with.
This article is part of a more comprehensive guide: Demystifying Agile in Software Development. Make sure you get yours!
#1 Project metrics
For one, you can look at project KPIs and determine if your team delivered functionalities faster, if the quality of the product improves and if the process itself improves over time.
“You can ask yourself if you delivered faster and at better quality. These questions then translate into pure Agile metrics: velocity, lead time, cycle time.” Agile Consultant, Rolf Consulting
Technical debt is another aspect you can assess. Ideally, your technical debt should be reduced as you work with a constant loop of improvement.
|“We continuously look at technical debt in our project and ask ourselves if we are in a good place and plan improvements for the next sprint, if otherwise.” Vasi Axinte, Senior Software Developer, Wirtek|
#2 Delivery predictability & speed
Having confidence in what the development team can ship from sprint to sprint, in other words being predictable, can be a good measure for success. Stakeholders and clients know what to expect when the team delivers a constant volume of features/story point every sprint.
|“Promises made to clients are an accurate measure for us. If you manage to have predictability and deliver what you intended to, then you can say the process you have in place is an accurate one.” Flaviu Zapca, Co-founder, CoreBuild|
|“You can also look at the lead time of your product development- how long does it take from idea to delivering value for the customer?” Ralph van Roosmalen, Agile Consultant, Agile Strides|
|“Agile is about frequent delivery of working pieces of software. I think that’s where you can see best what is happening, if you deliver successfully after each sprint, for example.”Ionuț Pop, Scrum Master, Wirtek|
#3 Team engagement and motivation
You can assess your company’s success with Agile by looking at how happy the team is with the entire process, how the communication with business owners works, and how easy it is for the team to adapt when something changes.
|“The success of your Agile implementation is related to a lot of things. It’s not just revenue. For example: it’s also engagement, are people more engaged?” Ralph van Roosmalen, Agile Consultant, Agile Strides|
“Agile gives the team a more strategic role. Employees can bring an added value to the project rather than having a passive role. So this aspect of empowering people should be enough to keep team members motivated.” Agile Consultant, Rolf Consulting
|“When the team shares the same product vision and mindset, the team runs less into stressful situations, for example, changing the sprint scope mid-sprint. Eliminating bureaucracy empowers teams to be autonomous, creating that feeling that you actually made an impact to the product.” Mircea Alexandru, Software Development Manager, Mark Information|
The common sense of responsibility felt by all the team members is also crucial for successfully implementing the Agile methodology.
|It’s important to know that I can count on a colleague to do his job properly and to have initiative whenever unexpected things appear or when the situation requires this.” Vasi Axinte, Senior Software Developer, Wirtek|
#4 Customer satisfaction
With small incremental shipping of working functionalities and reacting to changes fast, customer satisfaction can increase in a successful Agile implementation.
“I believe the main indicator should be client satisfaction: with often validation and frequent input, your clients should be happier.” Agile Consultant, Rolf Consulting
|“Your customer happiness can improve as you are able to respond faster.” Ralph van Roosmalen, Founder & Agile Consultant, Agile Strides|
#5 Improved quality
The overall product quality can improve and the overall development process, as the team meets regularly to reflect on what they can do better.
|“When assessing our progress, we look at different things such as respected deadlines, if the quality of the product and our process is improving.” Raluca Meyer, Founder &CEO, Viralink|
|“We look at the quality of our application to determine if we are moving in the good direction, tracking KPIs such as overall performance.” Alexandra Filip, Scrum Master, Wirtek|
|“With Agile, you should see improvement in the product quality: you have a short feedback loop and can make adjustments if needed. If you can adjust fast enough, that means you are in the right direction.” Vasi Axinte, Senior Software Developer, Wirtek|
One final aspect to look into? If the Agile process you have in place works for the long run.
|“If your development process is stable long term, it means the team finds it valuable and continues with it. But if you make changes all the time: you start with Scrum, then change to scaled Agile and so on, that tells you something isn’t right.” Adina Balea, Director of Software Engineering Services, Wirtek|
Regardless of what you track to measure the success of your Agile process, it matters that you decide on the criteria upfront, define your goals and see if you are moving towards or away from them.
Special thanks to our contributors for sharing their insights and ideas with us:
Ralph van Roosmalen, Founder & Agile Consultant, Agile Strides
Raluca Meyer, Founder &CEO, Viralink
Flaviu Zapca, Co-founder, CoreBuild
Alexandra Filip, Scrum Master, Wirtek
Adina Balea, Director of Software Engineering Services, Wirtek
Ionuț Pop, Scrum Master, Wirtek
Mircea Alexandru, Software Development Manager, Mark Information
Vasi Axinte, Senior Software Developer, Wirtek