Metrics, Statistics and Other Agile Voodoo


Whenever success is called into question, there is a measuring stick that is used to define where the difference lies between success and failure. With teams, products and dare I say projects that classify themselves as Agile there is no difference. However, the biggest difference may exist in what is measured and why. Let’s address a few questions then in our journey…

What are You Measuring?

This perhaps where the discussion begins all too often. There are many things that can be measured. Completed tasks, completed user stories, defect rates or escaped defects, average cycle time, throughput, velocity, schedule or cost variance and tons of other measurements that may be classified as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Knowing what you are measuring helps to at least start the discussion about data integrity and any comparative analysis over any similar periods of time. Being an accounting major, I love what numbers show. They tell a great story when data integrity can be maintained, but you have to understand what is behind the numbers themselves. Predictability, sustainability, quality control, budgeting allowances and many other things get called into question with numbers that are often tracked. What you need to measure will then lead to the next and potentially most important question.