Product Owner: Operational Metrics

Metrics are reported using simple visual controls (also known as “information radiators”), with an intense focus on value creation, current work, and reducing impediments. Radiators are maintained locally and are quite visible.

While leadership is responsible for defining the metrics that will be used across the organization, each team is responsible for keeping its metrics up to date in the information radiator. In practice, this is usually the responsibility of the Team Agility Master as a service to the team. Sometimes, some of the metrics can be automatically gleaned from development tools.

Why to do this practice

Whether an organization is four people or four thousand, organizations who are trying to be serious players are driving to increase the maturity of processes and practices, quality, metrics. It means they must have standards and then enforce those standards.

There are two kinds of metrics in Lean-Agile:

  • Project-level operational metrics show status across the entire project. They are calculated weekly. The Product Owner owns these operational reports.
  • Daily operational metrics are snapshots of a Team’s work at a point in time. They are calculated daily. The Team Agility Master owns all of the daily operational metrics.

Velocity is an especially important metric and must be kept up to date every iteration. Velocity is used to

  • Determine what can be delivered and when (you cannot exceed the team’s capacity)
  • Prioritize (just in time) the next prioritized stories to be worked on
  • Establish release schedules
  • Indicate problems in process, team, work decomposition

Who does this practice

Here are roles involved in this practice:

  • Team Agility Master who owns the daily operational metrics
  • Product Owner, who owns the project-level operational metrics

What to do

Inputs

Inputs to this practice include:

  • The exact description of the Project-level and Daily Operational metrics. These are determined by leadership.
  • Raw data required for the report (stories, defects, tests, etc.)

Approach

  1. At the agreed upon cadence (weekly, daily), calculate the metrics.
  2. Update the information radiator.
  3. Help management see the reports. Ideally, management comes to the information radiator to see the status.

Tools and techniques

Tools and techniques that help with this practice include:

  • Information Radiator. It may be manual or electronic. The team’s project board is one example.
  • Development environment or project management tool that can automatically calculate some of these metrics

Outputs

Here are some expected outputs from this practice:

  • Up to date metrics for project and daily operations
  • Accurate understanding of velocity

When to do this practice

Here is when to do this practice:

  • Project-level operational metrics are calculated weekly.
  • Daily operational metrics are calculated daily.

Where to do this practice

Here is where to do this practice:

  • Metrics should always be made visible in the Information Radiator for the team.