Improving Your Team’s Performance Begins with Understanding Everyone Else’s Metrics

In ConnectALL, Value Stream Management, Value Stream Metrics by Soumya Menon

What are your most critical metrics for your job? What is your performance evaluated upon? These you know because they’re most likely tied to your performance evaluation, perhaps they’re tied to a bonus or merit increase.

Now think about your colleagues in other departments. What are the most important metrics for them and how they’re being evaluated? Are your goals and metrics aligned? Are they competing? 

Like most people, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about those questions, after all, you have a job to do and that can be overwhelming in and of itself. However, since everyone’s jobs are entwined and interconnected, your metrics are dependent on others helping you achieve your goals, just as your colleagues’ goals are dependent on you and your team. 

In my previous blog post, I wrote about the importance of data and how it is used to provide context to make better decisions, especially in times of uncertainty, such as what we find ourselves in today. This is also about data, albeit a slightly different type of data. The data I’m talking about here involves metrics that’ll help you measure your product delivery initiatives to make decisions about future performance and value as well as those metrics that your colleagues use.

Teams, whether they’re a World Cup Soccer team, an orchestra, or your IT team, are all made up of individual people, with specific roles and goals. Thus, what’s important to you might not be important to another team or even another member of your team. The most successful teams know their roles as well as their teammate’s roles. 

If you’re an Agile team you might be focused on questions such as these:

  • Does the team have everything they need to perform the work? 
  • Can we meet the release commitment? 
  • Can the team control their WIP? 
  • Can the process catch issues? 
  • Is the code testable, malleable, and maintainable? 
  • Are we incurring technical debt?

Whereas a member of the production team will be focused on these questions:

  • Are defects being addressed promptly? 
  • Is the team’s throughput or velocity stable? 
  • Are we over or under-spending on maintenance? 
  • Are we controlling scope? 
  • Is the next release on track to be delivered on schedule as planned?

And DevOps is focused on these questions:

  • Are we meeting our uptime expectations? 
  • Can the team frequently deliver working, tested, and remediated code? 
  • Will the team meet their SLAs? 
  • Can we release a minimum viable product? 
  • Are we meeting our uptime expectations? 
  • Are we able to recover quickly?

All three have similar problems — the solution to which is a set of interrelated metrics. When you diagnose one, you have a better understanding of the others. When your actions change one, it affects the other. 

So how do you find a balance between all the metrics that ultimately will let you keep a check on the health of your value stream? It starts with finding common ground. 

Each group has metrics that matter to their performance whether those are Throughput variation • Distribution • Bug aging • Mean time to recover • Escaped defects • Bottlenecks

The more you understand what’s important for your colleagues the faster you can begin to increase collaboration, reduce friction and improve predictability, which is the ultimate goal for everyone.

To help you on your journey, download our free chart OPTIMIZING FLOW IN THE SOFTWARE DELIVERY VALUE STREAM.

Want to know how ConnectALL’s Insights product will help your teams get efficient? Click here to schedule a demo.