Improvement Metric

This post is part of 101 ideas for agile teams.


You want to measure the progress of your team becoming agile.


Organize a workshop for everyone involved in development and operations of your product/service/value stream.

Gather data

Gather everything that would make the perfect way of producing and delivering your product/service in the following five categories:

  • Time used from idea to production (cycle time)
  • Collaboration (the way everybody involved works together)
  • Continuous Improvement (the way everybody learns, shares knowledge)
  • How you adapt to changed customer/user needs
  • Quality: external quality (visible to users) and internal quality (visible to developers, operators etc.)

Examples (you should choose things that matter for you)

Time used from idea to production:

  • a bug should be in production 2 hours after it got fixed in code
  • a feature that was refined and is ready for development should be in production in 4 weeks


  • communication happens face-to-face, not over tools
  • developers and business representatives sit together in the same room

Continuous Improvement:

  • we have one day per Sprint for learning and experimenting
  • we can execute save to fail experiments with management support

How you adapt to changed customer/user needs

  • we can get rid of functionality in our code that is not used anymore within hours.
  • our architecture is flexible and allows change


  • no defects in production
  • we follow a zero bug policy


Discuss where you stand at the moment regarding the perfect state per category and draw a spider diagram:

Spider diagram with self-assessed values

The perfect state would be achieved, when the green line (where you are now) would overlay the black pentagon. The center means, you do nothing of the things you gathered earlier.

Repeat these steps on a regular basis and measure your progress. Note that you perfect state will change, too.

What you gain

A shared understanding where the team is on its way to become better at delivering software in an agile way.

A better understanding of the different aspects that need improvement.

How to strengthen

Put the spider diagram — with all old versions — on a wall visible to everyone.


Diagram can be misunderstood by outsiders. Talk to them.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember who inspired me with this idea. If you know a link to a page describing this same idea, please let me know, so I can reference the page here.

More ideas at 101 ideas for agile teams

Many thanks to bbv Software Services for making this blog post possible.