Your Organization Needs to Use Agile Metrics Wisely

One of the results of more organizations embracing the Agile process is the increased dependence on metrics as a measurement of a company’s operations. This isn’t always for the best. The recent Wells Fargo scandal saw employees setting up fake accounts for existing customers in the hopes of earning bonuses based on company metrics tracking employee performance.

The damage caused to Wells Fargo – 5,300 fired employees, $185 million in fines, and a loss of customer trust – actually had the opposite effect as the bonus plan originally intended, something noted by Ryan Lockard for Agile Uprising. In short, companies need to ensure they are using Agile metrics wisely — to improve overall efficiency instead of providing the means to game the software development process.

Software Development remains a Complex Task

While Agile ushered in the use of reporting systems and dashboards to make the software development process easier to understand for business stakeholders, a risk this information is being misinterpreted still exists. For example, one metric, known as the story point, is typically used to track progress on a software project.

Unfortunately, story points do a poor job of detailing the underlying complexity of any atomic development task. One team may earn a point for fixing an easy bug, while another team also earns a point for completing something relatively difficult; requiring additional effort in analysis and technical discovery. Essentially, all story points aren’t created equal.

Using story points in project estimating or, worse yet, to compare different teams, can be dangerous for a company. Inaccurate forecasting and internal conflicts are a likely result.

Finding a Better Way to track Agile Performance

Improving the tracking of your Agile software development teams’ performance requires an awareness of the overall culture of your team. You also must regularly take steps to verify the efficacy of whatever metrics you use. Remember, they only provide one view into the process; don’t trust that they are a true indicator of past performance or a predictor of future efforts.

Ryan Lockard noted the effectiveness of measuring the overall engagement and satisfaction of his development team. “Happier teams write better code,” he said. He suggested using tools, like OfficeVibe, which allow for the anonymous measuring of employee happiness. It is something worth considering to get the most out of your Agile development team.

When you need additional insights on building a great software development team, talk to the experts at Contemporary Staffing Solutions. As one of the top employment agencies in the Tri-State Area, we offer the vetted candidates able to contribute to your company’s success.