In Scrum, we measure performance using velocity. However, the velocity of one team cannot be compared to the velocity of another, since it is a relative measure that is only meaningful to the team using it. So can we accurately compare the performance of teams? Measuring Value Added Time as a percentage of Total Time is a metric that is used in Lean Manufacturing to help get a better understanding of production processes and optimize those processes.

Verbruggen et al (2019) introduced an adaptation of this metric to the Agile environment (see attachment). Giving teams an objective insight into their flow of work helps them optimize their efficiency and compare themselves to other teams. This adapted metric is called Process Efficiency and is comparable across teams, technologies, and domains of practice. Jakobsen and Sutherland (2009) showed that using the pattern “Good Housekeeping (scrumplop.org)” and improving flow (process-efficiency) to over 50% allowed every team to achieve 400% increase in velocity – twice the work in half the time. Sutherland coached an Indian team to put the average process efficiency of a story into their Scrum tooling. By the third day of the Sprint the team had increased their process efficiency from 10% to 80% (using the pattern “Swarming: One Piece Continuous Flow (scrumplop.org)” and on the fourth day, completed all stories planned for a two- week Sprint.

The standard definition of Lean is that process efficiency is greater than 25%. Focussing on this metric is emerging as the fastest way to improve team performance. An easy way to implement this metric using points, story start time, and story end time will show how your Scrum tooling has all the data necessary to calculate this metric and how to use it to improve team delivery capability.

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