Measurements to aid and guide the agile and Scrum journey

Working with agility in your team or organisation is an ongoing journey that never ends. There are always processes to tweak, impediments to remove or tools to experiment with. To help the journey one could looking into simple measurements and key performance indicators. The measurements should be as non-intrusive as possible and aid the team identify challenges to work on.

The assessment that we use is the Scrum Checklist made by Henrik Kniberg which is “generally considered the best checklist in the world” (quote: Jens Østergaard). Each question is answered on a scale from 0-2 (we allow decimals too):

  • 0=statement doesn’t fit with the team
  • 1=statement fit the team
  • 2=team does more than the statement

On team level we measure and follow up on changes between last month and current:

Where each column represent sections of the Scrum Checklist:

  • Bottom line: If you achieve these you can ignore the rest of the checklist. Your process is fine.
  • Core Scrum: These are central to Scrum. Without these you probably shouldn’t call it Scrum.
  • Recommended: Most of these will usually be needed, but not always all of them. Experiment!
  • Positive indicators: Leading indicators of a good Scrum implementation.

The icons represent:

  • Green: Team has increased since last time
  • Yellow: Team has held the same stance as last time
  • Red: Team has descreased since last time

On organisational level, across all teams, we measure and follow up on all time changes in the organisation:

Each line representing a section in the Scrum Checklist averaged across all teams:

  • Yellow: Positive indicators
  • Grey: Recommended
  • Orange: Core Scrum
  • Blue: Bottom line

The data is gathered in two steps:

  • Each month the agile coach and scrum master have a discussion about the current state of the team and the checklist is updated with recent changes. In addition each change is reflected and the agile coach gives input.
  • Two times a year the agile coah and the team has a joint reflection session where the checklist is updated with the current state. In the process challenges are identified and actions discussed. Simple challenges are simply planned for execution while complicated, complex and chaotic challenges needs further refinement and experimentation through Toyota Kata.

By introducing agile measurements in my organisations we have gained the following positive effects:

  • Increased agility across all teams, i.e. the trends on the overall graph is increasing
  • Increased improvement rate of all teams, i.e. all teams have atleast one green arrow
  • Awareness of agility and supporting frameworks, e.g. Scrum
  • Identify trends and patterns in individual teams and across all teams, i.e. to train Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Development Team and managers.
  • Identify and remove organisational impediments, i.e. lack of general knowledge, tools or similar.

2 Comments on "Measurements to aid and guide the agile and Scrum journey"

  1. Thank you. I’ll be trying this out somehow. Glad, I “came this way”

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