Across the globe, companies are investing in Agile transformations primarily for two reasons — to increase speed, and improve the quality of their technical product delivery. We’ve all been sold “Agile” for over 10 years, told to treat “waterfall” as a curse word to be uttered with disgust in boardrooms. However, migrating from old school methods to new is a process fraught with challenge. It’s painful for those on the ground, as existing working models are discarded, and confusing for leadership to adapt management techniques to support these new teams. Change can lead to feelings of resistance, resentment and insecurity.
While TribalScale has methods of dealing with these varied challenges, here we focus on the first major hurdle–ensuring clear direction and definition of an end goal for transformation. Setting the vision and defining success is not only an important practice in high functioning Agile teams, it’s also key to a successful transformation. Without it, the endeavor will fail as everyone focuses in different directions, without the collaboration required to transform. Progress is lost, and regression dissolves any benefits achieved.
To prevent this, we take time upfront to develop a KPI success framework. This cross-functional process requires collaborative discussion to narrow down 3–5 of the most important metrics and targets (sample metrics below) we want to achieve. Tracking these metrics starts immediately. If the selected metrics can’t be tracked, then tools need to be set up or different metrics need to be adopted. Of course, all metrics must be SMART.
This process may sound like a simple task, but it’s usually a major challenge, and effort is frequently underestimated. Companies in process-rich and project-based waterfall models have become comfortable in their silos. Each team has their own metrics and they benefit from obscurity in their internal processes. Product owns the “business” objectives, while tech has “IT” objectives, and they rarely share it across the organization. Driving cross-organizational teams towards similar outcomes takes time, energy and leadership, but everyone needs to get on the bus and head in the same direction.
How does TribalScale help manage this for our clients? Our method is all about showing you how to run like a lean and Agile startup. We pair with your product, design, and engineering teams to ship high quality, user-validated code on a weekly basis. We help you select a few key metrics to illustrate improvements. We don’t work like a traditional consultant with flashy boardroom presentations on ideas that won’t work in your organization. Instead, we work with you to customize a plan of action that works.
Transformation is a long, often painful process as organizational bones are broken and reset. But taking time early to define measurable targets will keep people on the same page throughout the process. And the payoff is huge–a transformed organization will experience significantly faster development time and will ship better and higher quality code. It might just be what saves your business from the disrupting forces toppling companies all over the world.
Some sample focus metrics:
SPEED / PROCESS
Velocity volatility: How predictable is the team’s projected velocity of work output?
Cycle time: Average time for a user story to progress from prioritization to app store.
Production defect rate: How many defects, on average, leak to production per release?
QA cycle: Time from dev complete to upload to the app store.
Availability: How often the app and all services are available, minus any down time.
Crash rate: Frequency of crashes that customers experience.
Average load time: Latency experienced while completing key customer flows, such as login or checkout.
Test coverage: Percent of code covered by unit, UI, and integration tests.
Revenue: Incremental revenue generated by an initiative.
Task completion rate: Increase (or decrease) in key task completions that a user attempts to perform.
Fallout rate: Percent of customers that drop out during the conversion funnel.
Michael Rutledge is a technical and design centred product leader with 6+ years of Product Management experience in eCommerce, digital payments, aerospace, and media businesses. He is adept at defining holistic business-centred product strategy from customer insights and testing hypotheses in-market. Michael is currently working out of TribalScale’s Dubai office as an Agile Transformation Lead and working alongside forward-thinking organizations.