Agile Performance Standards

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When we think about measuring the performance of agile projects we typically think of concepts like burndown charts and velocity. Those work well at the project level, but they aren’t going to satisfy the needs of an organization looking to leverage agile to deliver business results. In those instances, we ultimately measure success in terms of whether the goals have been met (market share, revenue, etc.) But those don’t work as a project performance metric because the time horizons are too long – you may not know whether the revenue targets have been met for several quarters or even years.

So how do we find metrics that work for the business and project teams, and how do we define appropriate standards for those metrics? The starting point has to be the consideration of how success is defined. How are we going to establish whether a project succeeds in business terms without waiting for the financial measures to be established at some point in the future? We require the use of proxies for those financial measures and I believe the following are appropriate in Agile:

  > Satisfaction – how satisfied are our customers and employees with the outputs of the project and the process for delivering those outputs? For customers this is an indicator of their willingness to purchase and to remain loyal, for employees it is an indicator of …

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