Musings about Metrics

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In previous posts, we discussed what you can learn about your team from tracking a minimum of data. We introduced throughput as the most meaningful metric you can get from only the completion time of a work item. In a subsequent post, we explained how you can calculate cycle time and work in progress by tracking the start time of a work item. In this post, we focus solely on how to calculate failure demand and what it tells you about the true delivery capacity of your team.

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Continuous improvement is at the heart of any agile approach. But where do we start? And how can we know that our improvement initiatives are moving the needle? This blog post expands on the ideas from what throughput can tell you about your team and provides some additional thoughts to help you truly embrace the following principle from the agile manifesto:

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.


Well-designed metrics provide your team with insight into where to focus and look for improvement opportunities. They also provide you with a baseline, a measuring stick to assess any improvements.

In a previous post, I focused on what we can learn from a metric as simple as throughput. Here we take it a step further.

Last Friday I presented a session on outcome based metrics at the Lean Agile Network meetup in Toronto. Based on the popularity of the session and the questions which we didn’t have the time to address, the topic is clearly on many people’s mind. More to come on metrics in future posts, but for now we’ll focus on what you can learn from the simplest metric of them all: throughput.

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