Why measuring value in Agile oriented processes is important?

What is more important to measure in Agile oriented management processes? – Measuring business value in Agile is more important than the tempo of development.

Why measuring value in Agile oriented processes is important?

Please, pay attention to the first out of twelve principles of the Agile Manifesto, where says:

 

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous

delivery of valuable software.”

Therefore, regardless of which of the agile process frameworks you choose to apply in the course of development—be it Scrum, Crystal, Kanban, or XP—the thing of paramount importance to the creators of Manifesto is the early value delivery to stakeholders and satisfaction of their needs.

By mid-1990s, the developed software (take MS Word, for instance) had been mostly desktop-based software and had to be installed onto each separate computer. As web applications came into being, the implementation of new functionality accelerated: one only had to deploy an application on the server for all of the users to gain access to it. This innovation made the competition between companies more intense as those who had managed to apply the new technology earlier was a winner in terms of market and client base.

 

Successful implementation of each agile process is to be measured
according to the increase the value delivery

 

Value is more important than the tempo of development

Many companies measure the success of implementation of agile processes in how quickly the teams develop products. High tempo, however, does not guarantee an increase in the delivered value and may be a poor measurement system. Below we furnish two of the well-known case studies to corroborate this standpoint of ours:

  • Hyperproductive teams in the MySpace company that had been working 4 to 6 times faster than average teams. This was really cool but only if the ultimate goal is Value whereas Tempo is merely a vehicle used to deliver Value.
  • The Nokia team that managed to rearrange its internal processes and is currently developing in agile mode.

Now both of these companies are outsiders that vacated their places in the market to the benefit of their competitors.

 

The Agile approaches should be used as an instrument to deliver value and to perform

measurements of business value at all times. Agile should not be used merely in order to

develop useless products at a great tempo.

So what is business value anyway?

There is no universal definition of business value; neither is there any single approach which should have been and could have been used to measure it. That said, many companies find it useful to measure the following:

  • Return on Investment (ROI)– (that is, ‘reimbursability’ (payback) of investments. E.g., suppose you invested $1,000 in your website and it helped you generate revenue of $2,000—in this case, consider your ROI to be at 200%. And so you can calculate your expenses and your revenue and calculate this ratio.
  • Sales– sometimes, calculation of ROI is a pretty tricky undertaking. Say, do investments include time spent on professional communication on social networks?  Or should this notion only include actual work spent to develop and maintain the website? Thus it is far easier—particularly to online shops—to just measure sales.
  • Employee satisfaction is something that very much depends upon how well the system of motivation and remuneration has been studied. Such a system may include various reimbursements, for instance an ability to acquire additional skills and competences, bonuses, personal satisfaction and suchlike.
  • Customer satisfaction is how the customer interacts with the process. It is crucial to study it in order to assess the value engineering. As a rule, the less the Customer is forced to interact with a certain service, the better it is from his standpoint. There is a good example of a successful approach to value measurement.

There is a good example of a successful approach to value measurement.

Just a couple of years ago, the Airbnb company was still a young startup, critically short of funds. Its creators did, however, succeed in finding a measurement system that was remarkably precise in approximating final value that the end users receive, that is: the number of high-quality photos on AirBnB’s website.

airbnb indexes agile

 

Value is only considered to be value if it has been delivered.

Apparently, you might add plenty of cool features you’re your product; however, until and unless you have actually released, the delivered value shall equate zero. You can, therefore, use the following measurements to show that a certain value has indeed been delivered:

  • Cycle Time is time for the duration of which a certain task has been in development, from the moment when the development started to the moment it passed the phase of final delivery.
  • Time to market is a measurement of time, starting at the moment a software order was placed and ending at the moment the software was delivered.
  • Release frequency.

 

Unconference “Day of collaboration and innovation” by Agile Space. How it was?

On November 5 Agile Space conducted its first Unconference “Day of collaboration and innovation. The event was held at Symphony Solutions office.

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Unconference was designed to bring people together interested in Agile, Scrum and Kanban to provide space where they can communicate, share knowledge, tackle interesting questions and find answers for them.

The event was opened by Theo Schnitfink, the CEO of Symphony Solutions.

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That was followed by a keynote speech conducted by Geir Amsjø, the first Norwegian Certified Scrum Trainer who was invited by Agile Space to provide Certified ScrumMaster Class in Lviv. He presented a vision of how to use Scrum for process and product innovation.

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Unconference ran an open space format, so all participants were able to contribute and create content according to their experience and needs.

Participants were divided into groups for breakout sessions to dig into their own topics. Everybody was invited to raise issues worth a discussion. In total, there were more than ten groups. The raised topics were dedicated to Agile teams, implementation Agile into distributed teams and disorganized projects with no processes at all. Some topics tackled the question of relations with the product owner, how to convince a customer to be Agile and why developers say YES when they actually mean NO. Among the most out-of-the-box topics were the ones about machine learning & art, creating the Agile office, Agility that hurts and Agile for the non-Agile nation.

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Attendees were not part of one group only, but they could move from one to another to find the most relevant discussion, gain the most of its value and create better outcomes.

Besides work, Unconference was full of fun and surprises. Attendees were able to win useful prizes like Planning Poker cards, Kanban boards, T-shirts and set of stickers from Agile Space.

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All participants were awarded with CHM Certificates which designated them as official Certified Hug Masters to always remember about the importance of good relationships in the team. This unofficial certification is by no means less important than any other official ones when building strong teams. Once the main part of the Unconference finished, the astronaut DJ took over the stage to open the Cosmic After party with drinks, laser sticks and trans music.

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More about the event is said by its attendees:

Oleksandr Chmykalo:

“To be honest, I haven’t had any special expectations. I have never been at an open-space format events before and it looked as an experiment. But now I am curious if this format also works for trainings and learning the process in general. What I like the most is that you can raise the topic you are interested in and hear opinion and feedbacks about it from other people. Unconference’s format definitely works for those who expect to participate, contribute, share with others and not only sit and hear a prepared speech. I really enjoyed the event and definitely would take part in the next one, if there will be any”.

Andriy Vilhutskyy:

“I really like that there are so many attendees. Everybody has their own opinion and professional experience and is ready to share it with the others. Everybody is willing to participate and contribute. The format of the event is really cool. I have never been at unconferences before. The best part of it is a real on-going communication process”.

Khrystyna Glushko:

“I found the event very useful. Software development is a core point for young people. I think there is a lack of such non-format events like unconferences where you can meet people who share the same motivation and lifestyle. I think that there should be more events like this. Not only dedicated to software development and just not the standard format of conferences”.

Olga Pochapska:

“It is my first unconference. I have heard before about this kind of events and it was interesting to try. I like the communication between attendees. Raised topics are issues we are facing every day and I got the answers I was looking for. I would like to come again”.
Unconference “Day of collaboration and innovation” is the second event in a chain of first events’ series organized by Agile Space.The first was Certified ScrumMaster Class by Scrum Alliance that took place on November 3-5 at Symphony Solutions.

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Thanks to everybody! You made it happen! We sincerely hope that all of you could take full advantage from the unconference. More events from Agile Space are coming soon, so follow our news and be Agile!

Certified ScrumMaster Class

On November 3-5 Symphony Solutions hosted Certified ScrumMaster Class. The event was organized by Agile Space, the platform for Agile believers who unite to create a regular space for meetings, collaboration and learning in Lviv.

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Geir Amsjø, the first Certified Scrum Trainer from Norway approved by Scrum Alliance, was especially invited for the event. Up to now, he has certified more than 1500 CSMs and CSPOs around the world. The class gathered ScrumMasters and potential Agile leaders from different companies. At the end of the class, after deep dive into Scrum, participants became members of Scrum Alliance organization and got access for passing the test to become Certified ScrumMasters.

The crucial thing to take out from the class was a clear differentiation between Agile as a mindset, and Scrum as a simple instrument but not an easy one to implement.

The class was designed to explain fundamental elements of Scrum and its implementation into real projects. Geir Amsjø also emphasizes that Scrum will not be efficient if its principles are only applied for engineering. For efficient results, all people engaged in increment’s delivery of every single iteration must be involved in the Scrum process.

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A great share of the class program was dedicated to relationships in the team, connections between team members, and efficient collaboration. The class included gamification and other activities that reflected Scrum fundamentals in easy and fun ways. Participants got case studies and scenarios to deepen their practical skills of using Scrum and become efficient ScrumMasters.

Besides, class encouraged work in teams, so the participants could gain some tips not only from a trainer but from their everyday experience as well. Questions to the trainer were more than welcome. The participants could also discuss issues that people face within their on-going projects. It allowed them to explain general constraints to the trainer and find a right solution.

Trainer Geir Amsjø admitted a great enthusiasm that shared class’s participants:

“A big thank to Lviv and Symphony Solutions for three awesome days in the name of Agile and Scrum. Tremendous and warm hospitality, and I was really impressed by the attitude and enthusiasm of all you young Ukrainians.”

After three days of intensive learning and passing the test from Scrum Alliance all participants became Certified ScrumMasters.

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Olha Tymoshchuk, class participant, Symphony Solutions:

“The class was really a worthy investment in the future – for both professional and everyday life. It was a place where we learned to live agile: everywhere. And spread it among like-minded people”.

Yaroslav Sydorenko, class participant, SoftServe:

“I really liked the atmosphere of openness, agileness, a collaboration created by Symphony Solutions and CSM class participants. CSM trainer Geir Amsjø managed to retain our faith in Agile and Scrum. He gave practical recommendations and tools how to use it, and it also encouraged us for continuous improvement. It was a great way to spend time and an opportunity to learn new stuff”.