Changes in the existing performance appraisal methods are essential for the success of an agile development environment. This article examines the various methods to assess the efficiency of an agile team.
The agile process is the buzzword in software development. As organizations are embracing the technique on a large scale it also brings a need to introduce changes in the traditional performance assessment methods.
The agile methodology focuses on customer satisfaction and constant product development where the delivery happens at regular intervals. The key feature of an agile environment is its flexible work style. The annual performance reviews do not fit into this work culture, and the human resource department should embrace alternative methods for assessing the team’s efficiency.
Assessing team performance in an agile framework
An agile team works in time frames called sprints. Each sprint has a certain volume of work to complete and review. The process is continuous and the performance assessment would need to shift to a sprint-based review to match the cycle.
Let’s probe more into agile performance management.
Compared to the yearly or half-yearly assessments, this performance management system carries out assessments continuously throughout the year.
The approach uses regular two-way communications and feedback to understand and address the issues on an ongoing basis. Under this method, the team is encouraged to set SMART goals for themselves. The project goals and deliverables are clear for each member and they take the shared responsibility to meet the targets. There is also increased collaboration and support among the team members along with peer-based feedback.
Important metrics to measure performance in an agile environment
The agile metrics are performance standards that enable to monitor the team productivity in an agile development environment. These metrics help to uncover the weaknesses early during the project. It also creates independent and self-managing teams.
- Sprint Burndown Report – The sprints of an agile team are time-bound. This report allows us to track the progress of the tasks within a sprint. The report uses time and unfinished work as the main parameters. The unit of measurement is called story points, and the chart represents the completed story points and the balance or yet to complete story points. They can then forecast whether the task will be completed within the sprint.
- Velocity – This measures the average story points the team had completed during the past few sprints. It is a result metric and can be used to predict the possible output in future sprints. Velocity also provides information on the team’s ability to work through backlogs.
- Control Chart – These charts track the time taken to move from in-progress status to complete status. This gives an accurate insight into the cycle time of any given issue. The ideal target is a consistent cycle time of short duration.
- Code Coverage – This method measures the percentage of codes that have been covered by unit tests. It is measured by the number of statements, conditions, or methods that are executed during the test. Low code coverage shows a low quality and would require immediate action.
- Lead Time – This metric measures the time between the story entering a system and its completion and release to customers. It considers all the processes that are involved to complete the product.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) – The Net Promoter Score is a measure of the customer’s willingness to refer the product to others. It gives a picture of customer satisfaction. It is usually depicted as an index ranging from -100 to 100. NPS is a highly recommended measure as it tries to improve the value to customers.
- Throughput – This is a measure of the average number of tasks processed in a time unit. It helps to assess the effect of the project on the organization’s productivity and also provides an insight into the team’s capacity.
Performance appraisal of agile teams needs a different framework. The above metrics would help an organization to implement an efficient appraisal system that syncs with the development requirements of an agile environment. The success of any method depends on the efficiency of the team and this is possible only by tracking their work effectively. Introduce the above metrics in your team for improved productivity.