Measure Performance 101: Are Your Agile Teams Really Improving?
How can you say if your agile teams are truly successful? What’s the key factor to assess whether your improvement efforts are actually paying off?
Been there, done that. Here is what it looked like for me:
First, I tried to set a seemingly satisfying arbitrary number and measured my teams against it.
When that approach failed, I attempted to align that number with industry standards.
Then, I shifted my focus to comparing our teams and working with those who “didn’t deliver.”
The outcome? Frustration, frustration, and more frustration.
Here’s the reality – it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be really easy if you let it be.
Resolving the Agile Teams’ Performance Dilemma
You shouldn’t try to fit your teams into industry norms or arbitrary benchmarks, and you don’t have to compare them to each other. Why? Because this comparison is fundamentally irrelevant.
From an agile perspective, assessing the effectiveness of the changes you’ve implemented is as simple as looking backward to where you’ve started.
That’s all you need to do.
Reflect on your teams’ performance from one month, three months, or six months ago (their own, and no one else’s!). Then ask yourself, “What do the trends reveal?”
Pay attention to the emphasis I’m placing here.
I didn’t say focus on the numbers. Absolutely not!
There’s a reason for this advice. Focusing solely on the numbers will lead you straight into the gap.
In the gap, you’re looking at how far you and your team are falling short in reaching your goals. You’re thinking about the pitfalls: “What is missing? What are we doing wrong?”
On the other hand, when you’re in the gain, your focus is on how far you’ve come from where you started. Progress is the ultimate measurement of success.
Don’t delve into the numbers; they distract you from what truly matters:
Setting goals is important, they give you direction! But judging your teams’ success isn’t about reaching your goals. The ultimate criteria is measuring where you started against where you are now.
Watch how trends evolve over time. Are they getting better? Declining? Staying stable?
How to Measure Agile Teams’ Progress
Let’s turn theory into execution.
What tools can you use to assess whether your agile teams are improving or not? This is where the Executive Report comes into play.
With Nave’s Executive Report, you can quickly determine whether your teams are making progress or experiencing a decline in performance. Try for free for 30 days →
This report gives you a visual look at how each team is performing compared to the last month, three months, and six months.
When there’s a significant change, a red warning appears. If a team is improving, you’ll see a green mark.
Teams with gray marks haven’t had major changes, signaling they’re maintaining a steady pace.
The main aim is to pay attention to teams with red warnings and start the right conversations at the right time.
A word of caution: Don’t focus on the actual numbers, the % is what what matters the most.
Here is your action item: If you haven’t done that yet, go ahead and analyze your executive dashboard. It is free for 30 days, no strings attached →
Export your executive report and share it with your stakeholders. It will give them an objective answer to the “How are your teams doing?” question.
Here’s what I want you to remember:
Your stakeholders aren’t in the trenches; they don’t know the ins and outs your teams have to deal with to improve and deliver better results faster.
So, if you have to present a single report answering the question, “Are the teams improving?” make sure it’s a reliable one! That’s how credibility is built.
I hope you found this concept helpful. If so, please share this message with your teams to help spread the word. I would highly appreciate it!
Wishing you a productive week ahead, and I’ll see you next week, same time and place for more managerial goodness! Bye for now.
Meet the Author
Sonya Siderova is a passionate product manager and a driving force behind Nave, a Kanban analytics suite that helps teams improve their delivery speed through data-driven decision making. When she's not catering to her two little ones, you might find Sonya absorbed in a good heavyweight boxing match or behind a screen crafting a new blog post.