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Align Your Metrics

An unusually long link-excavation strikes pay dirt: Greg points through Jorge Aranda to Ed Yourdon who, in the course of an article well worth reading, happens to point to an interview with Linda Rising (also worth your time) at InfoQ. The interview was conducted by Deborah Hartmann, a Toronto-based agile development consultant who co-authored a paper at the agile2006 conference called “Appropriate Agile Metrics: Using Metrics and Diagnostics to Deliver Business Value” (.pdf)

And there was the gold.

It’s a short paper; take the time to go read it. It’s a much better version of the argument I tried to make a few weeks ago about making sure that you understand what you’re measuring and why.

Hartmann describes a process based on a single central metric, which must be the best possible (at the time) approximation of the business value generated by the effort and capital invested. Of course, like all things agile, this metric must be continually reassessed and improved.

Everything else you might measure, including things like agile iteration velocity, must be taken as short term “diagnostics” that are only meaningful in their immediate context, and only applicable to the overall goal of maximizing the business value metric.

The “Metric / Diagnostic Evaluation Checklist” on page 4 is worth the paper it’s printed on and then some. If my requisition for a stapler ever goes through, I’ll be attaching copies of that to anyone from the Current Employer’s Project Management Office who stands still for long enough…

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  1. Adam Goucher » Blog Archive » Metrics - 6/30/07 on Saturday, June 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    […] that come around over and over. Most recently, Irving Reid got the ball rolling the other day with this post. I responded with a couple links of my own through the backchannel which meant I didn’t […]