I have evidence: 6 very smart, experienced and well-intentioned people can make a complete muck of enterprise agile metrics. Why do metrics at the team level seem so straight-forward, but at the product, program or portfolio levels they are so very … hazardous? The answer, of course, is that the questions being asked are less well-defined, the comparisons treacherous, and the distractions brightly colored. All the usual reasons we humans fall into fallacy. There is, though, a need – a persistent and legitimate need – for visibility broader than a single team and farther than the next sprint. Those of us with agile scruples but enterprise responsibilities are still searching for a solution.

This talk presents an approach to the problem of rolling up agile metrics and answering the questions relevant to managing a product, program or portfolio. It starts with a little manifesto, our moral compass: 8 principles of metrics design and 7 principles of metrics usage. The approach is founded on 3 models and the interactions among them: a value stream model of the application development process, a layered model of management decision-making, and an updated take on an Agile Balanced Scorecard. With these tools, we talk through what to measure, and what not to. Where to measure, and where not to. When and where the questions change. How to aggregate without comparing. And, how to keep it all real. For several clients, it has begun to shine a light out into the darkness where we have come to know that our problems truly lie.

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