GDD730 Module: 2 Week: 7 – Performing

“A high performing team should focus on efficiency and optimisation, rather than person hours and maximising effort”

This weeks objective from the course content “This week we focus on the theory and practice of measuring, analysing and improving team performance. We do this now in the hope that you will find ways of improving team performance throughout the last half of the module.”

Parker states the things that can be measured by Agile development software are Planning, Progress Tracking, understanding and improving quality, fixes, motivation.

Lencioni states in the book that one of the Five Dysfunctions of a team is inattention to results. The team should agree results and once in place, they should be regularly reviewed. He recognises that this dysfunction can be driven by ego but suggests making the team’s ego greater than the individual’s ego. He asserts that when everyone in the team is focused on results to define success, it makes it harder for individual ego to persist. If the team loses, everyone loses regardless of how well an individual thinks they have performed (Lencioni, 2012).

Describe the key attributes of high-performing teams.

Kropp conducted a study of Agile Software Development Teams and identified the following success factors Excellent communication in the team, Continuous delivery, delivery on time, very few bugs, satisfied customers, and no overtime. (Kropp, M 2015)

At this stage, we have hit some of the high performing objectives. We created and delivered our draft pitch successfully as a team which was our first significant deliverable. In my opinion, we have also become good communicators as everyone feels able to contribute to the discussion.

Research team performance metrics.

In a study of Real-Time Agile Metrics for Measuring Team Performance, Budacu and Pocatilu identified three key metrics; Velocity, Leadtime and Cycle Time. Velocity calculates the number of story points (estimated effort) delivered by a team per irritation or sprint. Leadtime measures the amount of time from the request being raised to fulfilling the request. Cycle Time “Time the amount of time passed from when work started to fulfilling the request”. ( Budacu and Pocatilu, 2018 ). For our team, Velocity and Cycle Time would be good internal productivity Metrics if we migrated to short 1-week sprint cycles to allow time to see the data and reflect on it.

So that the metrics are meaningful and we have time to analyse them, we as a team need to be selective about the metrics that we employ. We need to avoid vanity metrics that will only provide a flattering picture. Value metrics can show satisfaction, volume metrics estimation vs work carried out and work not done. Velocity will give us a picture of work overtime.

Simon Sinek asserts that the best approach is to employ balancing metrics to measure momentum, looking for a steady-state and steady growth. Not about getting somewhere but how we got somewhere. (Sinek, 2019).

I have created a section on FigJam to propose different sets of Metrics that we could employ as a team. I am constantly thinking about metrics and measures and how I can use them to promote continuous improvement in my professional life. However, I am not in a PM role on the project I have found that it has helped the team when I elevate the aims and team activities in the course content.

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The next steps for the team this week are to agree upon the metrics we want to measure; we need to be able to view the data in a scoreboard or dashboard, and it should be visual will essentially be quantitative data. The team needs to take ownership of the dashboard then. The course recommendation is to use agile scrum for Trello and a once a week survey to check procrastination and team wellbeing, satisfaction, downtime.

The picture below shows our SWOT analysis after all the team had contributed. It was great to have a discussion based on the SWOT analysis. There were two predominant themes which were lack of clarity around our goal and work breakdown and ownership. The performance metrics I believe, are dependant on the breakdown of work. I want to put forward an idea to do a planning and estimation session to break down the work, create a backlog, and have an agreed way of applying story points. We have stuck to Fig Jam as our primary collaboration tool for ease, but I think we should try Trello, Jira or Smartsheet so we can place more rigour around our workflow. It will also help to generate quick metrics.

On Gordon’s suggestion, we created a weekly Barometer to measure the teams feeling week on week. After our team meeting, Stephanos set up a Trello Board; this has been great as it should help us with metrics on workflow, and it has also helped us improve our team organisation and time management.

Identify ways of improving team performance

Gleeson identifies 9 ways to improve team effectiveness:

  1. Ensure alignment and buy-in
  2. Clarity Goals, roles and responsibilities
  3. Engage in Proper Planning and Rapid Execution
  4. .Develop People and Teams
  5. Create Feedback Loops for Learning and Accountability
  6. Design Networks, Not Hierarchies
  7. Run Effective Meetings
  8. Increase “Face-to-Face” Interaction
  9. Lead but Get Out of the Way (Gleeson, 2020).

Sources: 

Nguyen, D.S., 2016. Success factors for building and managing high performance agile software development teams. International Journal of Computer20(1), pp.51-82.

Budacu, E.N. and Pocatilu, P., 2018. Real Time Agile Metrics for Measuring Team Performance. Informatica Economica22(4), pp.70-79.

Flex.falmouth.ac.uk. 2021. Log in to canvas. [online] Available at: <https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/913/pages/week-7-welcome?module_item_id=54480&gt; [Accessed 3 August 2021].

Gleeson, B., 2020. 9 Simple Ways To Improve Team Effectiveness. Forbes, [online] Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2020/07/08/9-simple-ways-to-improve-team-effectiveness/?sh=366358926ad5&gt; [Accessed 3 August 2021].

Lencioni, P., 2012. The five dysfunctions of a team. San Francisco, Calif.: Pfeiffer.

Mike Cohn (2012) Advanced Topics in Agile Planning [online video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2r2KryYAaY (Links to an external site.) [accessed 5 May 2021]

Simon Sinek. (2019). How do you measure success? | Q+A. [Online Video]. 23 September. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyqLJSclNb4. [Accessed: 3 August 2021].

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