Continuous Measurement & Growth

Make It Stick

Overview

To determine whether the transformation is having the expected results, continuously measure performance by looking at team health holistically and creating growth plans for improvement. The transformation roadmap should include specific measures of success that can be tracked over time to determine whether the expected outcomes for improved performance and delivery are being met across each level and area of the organization.

It is important to capture qualitative and quantitative measures of health consistently and regularly to identify trends and areas that need support. Measuring before and after every quarter allows the organization to tell the story of growth. Managers and leaders actively prioritize and respond to the needs and impediments raised by the teams so that the entire organization is working together toward growth and improvement.

Continuous Growth

A continuous growth program integrates measurements and health assessments with activities that are connected at every level of the organization, working in synch toward improvement.

  • Retrospectives (Tactical – after each iteration/sprint and Strategic – at each release/quarterly)
  • Impediment tracking – impediments are visible and resolved quickly, according to priority; measurements such as impact/cost and resolution time are captured and shared
  • Process for issues and needs to be escalated from team level to program level, from program to portfolio/enterprise level
  • Program, Portfolio and Enterprise growth backlog is maintained and Agile/Lean processes are used to prioritize and complete items from the backlog, with a high degree of visibility, communication and collaboration
  • Growth plans provide a backlog of actionable items to be worked on by cross-functional teams that are responsible for making the improvements
  • Creating a safe environment where Failure = Learning; everyone is encouraged to experiment, measure, learn and grow

 

Metrics

Capturing data accurately across time, within a reporting structure that groups teams based on programs, value streams, lines of business, portfolios, etc. provides visibility to key metrics such as quality, predictability, scope and return on investment. A best practice (and necessary for sustainability and data quality) is to implement tools and repeatable processes to ensure accurate, complete and consistent capture of data. Both quantitative (hard) and qualitative (soft) measures are needed to provide a complete and clear picture of leading indicators and outcomes.

Team Health Assessments

Surveying team members quarterly through a self-assessment and strategic team retrospective provides teams an opportunity to dig deeper into their health, create strategic goals and ask for help where they need it. It also provides information to leaders and managers on the overall health of teams, multi-teams, programs, portfolios and the enterprise as a whole. Team health is a leading indicator for delivery health and business outcomes.

Team Health Dimensions include:

  1. Culture – Team Dynamics
  2. Foundation – Agility and Team Structure
  3. Clarity – Vision, Planning and Roles
  4. Performance – Confidence and Measurements
  5. Leadership – Team Facilitator, Technical Lead, Product Owner and Manager

By assessing health every quarter, trends emerge in the data to show areas of improvement or decline. This data can be viewed at the team or multi-team level.

Basic Team Performance Metrics

  • Target versus actual points delivered for each iteration and for the release or quarter (predictability)
  • Current % done toward the release or quarterly target
  • Average velocity
  • Total scope and % change in scope
  • Escaped defects
  • Customer satisfaction (net promoter score)

Basic Release Health Metrics

  • Count and % of target versus actual points, features and value delivered
  • Target versus actual release date
  • Escaped defects
  • Customer satisfaction (net promoter score)

Key Organizational Success Metrics

  • Delivering predictably
  • Delivering quickly
  • Delivering value
  • Good return on investment
  • Quality built into process and product
  • Healthy teams
  • Happy customer
  • Collaborative processes

Business Results

  • Employee engagement
  • Time to market
  • Quality
  • Productivity

Team Maturity

One key aspect of growth is to measure team maturity over time. When teams are formed or new people are introduced into a team, the team naturally goes through a forming process. The process is captured in the Tuckman stages of group development:

  • Forming: In the Forming stage, team members are just beginning to form relationships and become comfortable with one another. It is natural for people to feel unsure and nervous as team members try to understand their own roles, the roles of the other team members and their purpose in the group.
  • Storming: Storming is the most difficult stage for a team to weather, but it is necessary for healthy team development. Team members begin building trust by airing out their differences, showing a readiness to work things out as a team.
  • Norming: Once the team has moved past the polite stage of Forming and has recognized and worked out their differences through Storming, they begin to focus on how they will accomplish their work.
  • Performing: Performing teams act as a highly effective, problem-solving unit that can reach solutions quickly and can even head off issues before they become problems.

With regular and consistent assessments of team maturity, coaches and leaders can target support, training and tools toward the needs of teams based on their level of maturity. For more information about how to assess maturity and growth and associated goals and growth plans, see the Agile Team Maturity Model.