No matter what approach your team may take to managing a new project or developing a new software product, it’s important to understand how your progress and success will be measured. For Scrum teams, that’s where Scrum KPIs come in. Here, we’ll look at the concept of KPIs in general and some of the Scrum team KPIs that are important to track over the course of your project.
What is a KPI?
First of all, what is a KPI? KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, and is a way of measuring how effectively your company or team achieves their business or project objectives. KPIs are used at all levels of business management — high-level KPIs could be used to look at the overall performance of the business, while low-level KPIs may focus on the finer details of how each department, or project team, works.
Effective KPIs should be clear, concise, actionable, and unique to your business and project. Defining KPIs can be tricky, so it can help to use the SMART criteria to evaluate whether a KPI is relevant to your business.
What are the Scrum KPIs?
For Scrum teams, there are a number of relevant KPIs that can be tracked to ensure the success of your next project. It’s important to note that there is no one universal master list of KPIs for every Scrum team. Like any kind of KPI, it’s important to tailor and adjust them to your specific business goals. What’s crucial to measure in one Scrum project may not make your list for the next project at all.
However, there are some key Scrum KPIs that are helpful to be familiar with and may inform you as you begin to build your own team’s KPIs for any upcoming project. Here are five that may prove useful.
Five Scrum KPIs to keep in mind
Stories completed vs stories committed
A user story is a crucial factor in any Agile project’s progress. Scrum teams have a certain number of user stories to consider in any one sprint. A KPI to track here is how many user stories have been completed in full, how many are left to focus on, and whether any have been carried over.
In Scrum, no user stories should be automatically rolled over to the next sprint if the team has failed to complete them in the current sprint. Any undone work should join the backlog, where it may or may not be planned into a future sprint ahead of time. If your Scrum team has a lot of unfinished user stories, this is a sign that things need to change.
Release cycle times
If your Scrum team is in charge of migrating your product to production and launch, release cycle times are a good example of a KPI to measure. Release cycles in Scrum and Agile should typically be kept short — often only to a couple of months, with each iteration in this cycle kept to between a week and a month. If your release cycles are dragging on past deadlines, it may be time to reconsider your workloads.
The customer’s satisfaction should always be a top priority for any Scrum team. This is the main focus of any Agile project — if the customer isn’t happy with the result, then the project cannot be considered successful.
There are a number of ways to measure customer happiness. These can include (where applicable):
- CSAT (Customer satisfaction) surveys
- Total tickets submitted and ticket types
- Response time
The quality of the final product is also of the utmost importance to a Scrum team. Depending on the nature of the product, a Scrum team may look at the following to determine its quality:
- Defect data
- Customer satisfaction and feedback
Just as your customer’s happiness is important, so too should your team’s happiness. Your Scrum team should be able to work consistently to a high standard, with minimal staff turnover or complaints. If this is not the case, it may be time to look at the factors affecting your team’s happiness levels.
Are they burnt out because the pace of work is unsustainable? Are they feeling ignored or unappreciated by management? Are they able to freely pitch ideas for improvement, or is creativity stifled? Are they being properly compensated for their work? These are issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later for a successful outcome.
We’ve talked above about some of the KPIs that Scrum teams can measure to gain clarity over their success. But what are the units of measurement that Scrum teams should look at specifically? For more information on Scrum metrics, take a look at our dedicated FAQ.