07 April 2017

Team Metrics, A New Hope?

I just read Schmonz's post on Metrics. In it he asks if there is another way and proposes a very cool idea of metrics with expiration dates. I'd like to further the thinking on that a bit.

A New Hope?
One of the more insidious aspects of metrics in the team room is the coercive nature of measurement. It all ties into the incentivization and general vibe that we get from 'If this number isn't the right number, you've been doing it wrong'. I think we all feel it. Certainly in terms of Velocity or Cycle Time we must all feel some amount of pressure. I know I do. 

Every human being responds differently to pressure. Every human being is motivated by different things and every collection of human beings struggles to agree on what will collectively motivate them. Lets face it, metrics either motivate or demotivate a team and that is a problem no matter which way you look at it. 

So what if we tried this. Instead of the Scrummaster or Delivery Lead or CIO telling us what metrics they will measure us with, we tell them what we will allow to be measured? 

Crazy right? Well. Try this on. If we can agree that as humans we have gathered to achieve a goal _and_ we can agree that in order to get there we need to monitor our progress toward the goal. Then why can we not agree to measure it. If we change our mindset to one of good intention, that is, we all intend to reach that goal. Then selecting metrics to measure our progress should be easier, if not painless.


I think the real hook though has to be the two agreements. If we cannot agree that we are here to achieve a goal, and the same goal, this all falls apart. The second agreement seems intuitive to me, but maybe it isn't so much for others. But, given the first agreement, I think the second one is just a negotiation.