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Do you know why you aren’t consistent in your delivery of value to your customers?  Are you confident that your team can deliver value each iteration? Are your reports and metrics helping you continuously improve your agile practices?

Every agile team has their own tools and metrics for managing an iteration but are your tools the right tools to improve your agility?  Are the reports and metrics you’re using helping you identify areas of improvement in your agile delivery practices?  Many organization and teams evaluate their progress using the same tools and metrics that were used with their traditional software development practices.  Planning and estimation quality, Error Rates, and number of unit tests written are unhealthy metrics because they do not directly focus on delivering value to your customer.

If your reports and metrics are not telling you something valuable about the flow of value your are delivering, then find reports that will. The cumulatively flow diagram allows you to identify cycle time and bottlenecks in your process.  Burndown and burnup relate to on-time delivery.  Product statistics, such as number of features delivered, can help you better understand user satisfaction. It is the value you are delivering, or the flow of value that you should be paying attention to.

If you do not know how to read your reports and metrics in a way that provides actionable data then find someone to teach you.  If you are unclear how to use the information to improve your practices, talk to an agile practitioner who know how to.  It’s time to hack your metrics.

(Original article appeared in April 15th 2015 edition of The Tempo)

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