Team metrics: who and why needs them?

Why do I need metrics?

I am not working very close with teams on daily basis recently and it’s not so easy to gather information in order to take actions or discuss priorities. But I need data to have an overview on important areas in the department, foresee problems and understand how I can help.

What do I want?

Teams’ metrics can be useful only if you seek this:

  • Visualize problems and discuss when noticed
  • Focus on trend, not absolute value
  • Foresee the future
  • Take actions proactively
  • Keep the balance among areas

Metrics game?

Don’t forget, metrics are needed to get better. So, treat it as a game.

Elements of the game:

  • Evaluate initial state of each area
  • Set goal for each area
  • Each team every Retro of Retros tells if certain area improved (+11), unchanged (-1), worsen (-9)
    • What does it mean: improved, unchanged, or became worse? It doesn’t matter how teams decide since trend is important, not absolute number
  • Metrics must be actionable. You must agree on rules and take actions. Sules samples:
    • if something doesn’t change/reduces 3 times in a row, all teams must help team which has most of the problems
    • if something doesn’t change/reduces 5 times in a row, each team must include improvements into sprint as high priority
    • Discussion must take place
  • Everything can be changed at any moment if you find it not valuable

If you find first two elements difficult to implement, you can omit this for the first version

One simple, but important NO
Don’t map these metrics to any reward/bonus system

Sample table:

Area/Team Team 1 ….. Team X Start Current Finish
Area 1 +11 -9 50 Previous + ((T1 + … + TX)/# of Teams) 100
Area 2 -1 +11 100 ….. 300
Area 3 -1 -9 60 …..


And this is how your visualization might look like:
teams metrics