Go beyond velocity with advanced product metrics 

Configuring a comprehensive framework of metrics that drive results

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Establish the framework

Selecting the right metrics, working toward the desired outcomes, drives adoption. A metrics framework fosters bidirectional communication for setting goals, attacking blockers, and communicating success. When designing the framework, consider the context and objectives of three distinct audiences:

  1. The working agile team (engineers and designers)

  2. The product manager (the person handling a single work stream)

  3. The portfolio owner (the CIO or CPO)

A metrics framework facilitates bidirectional communication. Avoid pointing fingers. Focus on enabling teams to succeed.

Classic project management techniques teach the project management triangle. Its rigid structure implies that scope, cost, and time are interdependent. In this model, increasing scope for a project increases either cost or time, or both. Strategically, this approach fails to consider the effectiveness of the product (Is the right thing being built?), the quality of the product, and the time to market. Blindly following the budget, time, scope paradigm, and so on compromises the results.

As an alternative, try a square construct to monitor the product’s quality, customer value, velocity, and organizational effectiveness.  

Customer value establishes what’s important for users to inform and guide the product build. Customers can be external or internal. Use the build-measure-learn loop to keep the team aligned to outcomes. 

Quality measures escaped defects, performance KPIs, and the level of debt accrued. Intentionally sacrifice go-to-market speed (e.g., intentional debt) or industrialize for a mass rollout and mission-critical applications, which in turn lowers overall velocity. 

Velocity determines the product go-to-market and feature release speed. This facet helps the team and product leaders project and plan throughput in a given time period. 

Organizational effectiveness tracks the health of delivery and people processes (e.g., retention, communication, and engagement). As a result, the enterprise achieves more through better processes, higher engagement from the team, less churn, and the like.

Use the factors outlining the product square as boundaries. A product team needs to decide which of the four variables to invest in, which to sacrifice, and which to appropriate depending on the maturity of the product.

Continue to:Product value metrics: Drive business outcomes