Agile Productivity Measures

Scott Ambler has written a couple good articles about measuring productivity with velocity.  Acceleration: An Agile Productivity Measure. and Examining Acceleration.

From what I understand, this is a measure of the effect of agile on the relative improvement over time of a team.  I would beg to differ that it is a measure of productivity.  Productivity is value delivered over time.  If team A is delivering $5/week and team B is delivering $5000/week, then knowing that team A is accelerating faster than team B isn’t terribly important, particularly if the market can’t bear to absorb $6/week of whatever team A is producing.

Measuring productivity is hard.  I would love to hear from people who have tried various means to measure productivity.  I measure productivity in our business, but I can do that because we are small and everything we do has a direct effect on the bottom line.  Does your business run with that transparency?  If not, why not?

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2 thoughts on “Agile Productivity Measures”

    1. Hi Daniel, I agree this is a tough topic. I appreciate the link to your article. I want to point out that performance and productivity are not the same thing. You are measuring performance with your cost-based metrics, but productivity is about value delivered. Measuring true productivity is particularly difficult and _must_ be based on some measure of the business (dollar) value delivered. So, for example, if a team is creating a new feature for a product, how many sales will be as a result of that new feature? Or if the team is creating an IT system that is supposed to reduce staff effort on a back-office task, how much time is saved… and how does that translate to either savings from letting go of staff or (again) new revenue from efficiency. Cost is easy to figure out and that is why everyone confuses cost and productivity. True productivity is hard to figure out.

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