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5 Agile Metrics to Track for Boosting Productivity

5 Agile Metrics to Track for Boosting Productivity

In today's competitive landscape, effective collaboration is critical for the growth and sustainability of an organization. But how do you know you're collaborating effectively? The answer is agile metric tracking.

According to Research Gate, agile projects showcase a success rate of 88.2%, compared to the 47% success rate experienced by teams using the waterfall method. A big reason for agile's success is that teams using this methodology track agile metrics that track their productivity and speed.

Tracking agile metrics can improve everything from managing deadlines, goal setting, reporting on successes, identifying blockers, and more. In this blog, we will discuss what agile metrics are and what agile metrics you should track to manage productivity.

What are agile metrics?

Agile metrics measure a team's capacity, the progress of a project, work completed and work still left, and how work flows through a team's pipeline. These metrics are essential to the development process as they provide stakeholders with information that can identify blockers, forecast finish dates, and resource plan.

5 agile metrics for productivity

1. Velocity

Velocity is one of the most popular agile metric used in software development, performing best when used for capacity planning. Velocity calculates the average amount of work, represented by "story points" completed by a single team during a software development sprint, tracking work over numerous sprints. Velocity accuracy depends on the number of sprints your team has tracked and completed together.

Product owners can use velocity to estimate how quickly a team can wrap up backlogs or complete a release. Velocity can also indicate process improvements over time when used as a benchmark for a team's performance.

Development teams can check their velocity for consistent performance and note whether a change in the development process has added to any improvements or not. A decrease in average velocity indicates that the teams' development process has become inefficient and has room for improvement.

Here's how to use a velocity chart in Zenhub.

2. Throughput

The throughput metric measures the total number of work items, typically represented by "issues," completed by teams within a timeframe. Throughput is an important metric to know as it can calculate other metrics (such as burndown) and indicates the total amount of units of work completed within a timeframe.

Because throughput can calculate other metrics, you can find it in various charts representing different information about your team's performance. In Zenhub, you can find information about your team's throughput, represented by the unit "number of issues completed," in your burndown report or cumulative flow diagram.

3. Sprint burndown

Sprint burndown depicts the amount of work left before the end of a sprint. Sprint burndown charts point out the progress towards the end of a goal, plotting total effort hours remaining on a graph.

A sprint burnout chart helps identify blockers made by the team earlier in the sprint that may impact the expected results. Further, this chart illustrates progress and allows a software team to incorporate changes for on-time delivery.

A limitation of the burnout chart is that it doesn't reveal everything. For instance, it doesn't display changes such as total points in the backlog. This makes it hard to depict whether changes are due to increased or decreased story points or completed backlogs.

Here's how to use a burndown chart in Zenhub.

4. Cycle time

Cycle time is the time a development team spends working on a product until it's ready for shipment. In a nutshell, it's the time taken to wrap up one task, consisting of both wait stages and the time spent creating a product or "production rate."

Cycle time is meaningful data to adjust the lead time and can help teams adjust to meet client demands. One thing to note here is that teams with consistent and high throughput metrics have a shorter cycle time, making them more reliable for delivering products.

Here's how to use a control chart to view cycle time.

5. Cumulative flow

A cumulative flow diagram is *technically* not a metric in and of itself. It represents 3 metrics – throughput, work in progress (WIP), and cycle time – but it breaks those metrics down by pipeline.

This visualization lets you get more specific about where in a pipeline work gets stuck since you can see which pipeline has the most work-in-progress. This is especially important for making process improvements, such as changing how your team does code reviews, changing approval processes, etc.

Here's how to use a cumulative flow chart in Zenhub.

Wrapping up

Tracking agile metrics is key to understanding how a team works, how well they're progressing toward goals, and how to improve processes for enhanced productivity. Agile metrics are also crucial for communicating with external stakeholders and ensuring that projects are completed within the expected timeframe. Learn more about how to measure developer productivity here.  

Using reporting tools like Zenhub makes communicating with stakeholders easier, as charts are automatically generated with real-time data straight from GitHub. Try it for free here.

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