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How do you measure up?

The evidence based approach to optimizing your performance.

To improve in any arena, you need to track data and decide on metrics. A simple analogy would be deciding that you wanted to lose 10 Kg and get fit. A strategy to achieve your outcome is to eat healthy and train for a half marathon with a finish time of 1 hour 45 minutes, however today you are overweight and have never run more than one kilometre.

So how do you get started? It will make sense to invest in a smartwatch like a fitbit or a garmin to help you assess your journey and to help you understand how achievable your goal is. Then like most things, you just need to start by running and reducing your food intake.

Tracking your performance is a journey, what you track depends on what stage you are currently in. For example when you get started, performance tracking upfront is very crude. You might start tracking how many days you run and how long each run is. As you get fitter, you will want to move to more sophisticated tracking like heart rate threshold, pace and split times.

Large scale agile transformations are no different. How do you decide what you should track? To get started you need to think about what do you wish to achieve and what is the current stage of your journey. It can seem overwhelming to decide upfront, the first step is transparency, make your work visible and ‘listen’ to the data by tracking trends daily or weekly. The intent is to use the data to drive conversations and debate, the data is the start of the conversation, not the outcome. We need the data because act, MEASURE, adapt is so important for performance and without the data we cannot assess where to focus our energy and why.

Starting with pre-release tracking, I recommend you track and observe trends on:

  • Pace/Velocity – what speed are you currently moving at /delivery cycle time

  • Work In Progress – How much work do you have in progress

  • Predictability – How accurate are you at predicting what you can complete in a cycle

  • Over-Commitment – Do you frequently over commit leaving too many items unfinished

  • Backlog Growth – Track speed that backlog is increasing and quality of backlog

  • Speed to Value - Speed it takes from idea to value*

  • Cost to Value - The cost to deliver value*

*Value realized only in the customer's hands

Encourage open conversation on why the trends are moving the way they are and if you should change your behavior or actions.

High performance teams do things differently to give themselves an edge over their competitors. This applies equally to enterprise transformations as it does to ironman competitors. A person training for an ironman who wishes to have the edge will measure their performance and calibrate their program to optimize their outcome. If you wants to stand out from your competitors, you need to get used to measuring how you are doing. This is not to say metrics are the be all and end all of everything but you will get useful data which may cause you to tweak your approach or path to success.

So you decide high performance? Or average performance – what path do you want to take?

Next week, i will look at strategies you can take to uplift performance, but for now, my fitness stats are +2kg, 1hr exercise done this week, I haven't run a 10k in two weeks, hmm...time to listen to my data, so where are my running shoes i have some more work to do on my fitness!

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