Project Management

Develop Value-based Agile Metrics

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 [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

There has been a lot written over the last few years about the importance of shifting project performance measurement away from project metrics and towards business metrics. It’s the idea that ‘on benefit’ is more important than on time, on scope and on budget. It’s an important change and one that helps ensure projects deliver on their purpose—to make the business better in some way. But a lot of the focus has been on traditional project delivery approaches; what’s about Agile?

In some ways, Agile was always in a better place than waterfall when it came to focusing on value. From the outset, the focus on incorporating customer and user feedback, and adjusting what was built as a result, helped ensure that solutions were aligned with needs, which in turn makes it easier to achieve the required business outcomes. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement.

Common agile metrics don’t indicate value

Let’s consider some of the more common agile performance metrics. Burn down/burn up charts and velocity measures give an indication of productivity and suggest that the team is delivering a steady stream of features, but they don’t provide any insight into value. You could argue that if the right features are prioritized then the value should follow, but that’s a flawed argument. It not …

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