You’re a project manager and you’ve just been given an Agile project to look after. You ask for reports and you get burndown charts, velocity graphs, and cumulative flow diagrams. What in the world are these, and why do you suddenly have a migraine headache?
Metrics are different in Agile, but the questions remain the same. Come and see what your brain needs to understand the tracking of products built in an Agile way. We’ll build an Agile dashboard that you can take into your next meeting.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

Introduction (10 minutes)

a. Overview of cognitive biases, heuristics, fallacies, illusions and other definitions
b. Some brain myths explored through games and interactive work
c. References and acknowledgement of the sources of information for today’s presentation

A Brief History (Time) the Structure of an Agile Project (15 minutes)

a. The iterative and incremental nature of agile delivery through some games – measure and report on reality, not the idealized future envisioned by yesterday’s mindreaders
b. Why Percent Complete, RAG, and other traditional metrics don’t work well for Agile
c. Illusion of Control – why poor metrics are bad for our brain
d. An interactive game for demonstration

Good Metrics, Bad Metrics, Ugly Metrics (15 minutes)

a. The cost of measurement
b. Vanity metrics, estimates vs. actuals, false positives and other misleading numbers
c. Poll: What are YOUR vanity metrics??
c. Hawthorne Effect, Goodhart’s Law, Friedman's Thermostat and general Causation Fallacy (polls included)

Picking the Good Metrics and Turning Them into a Dashboard (25 minutes)

a. GQM – how to pick a good measurement
a. OKR - GQM's younger brother (and better looking?) What are your OKRs?
b. Focus on the goal – 2 reasons to measure anything
c. What are the questions and what are the answers?
d. Product Steering and Process Improvement metrics
e. Exercise: The dashboard – putting it all together.

Conclusion (10 minutes)

a. Present you dashboard.
b. Wrap up and Q+A
c. provide feedback

Learning Outcome


  • why standard metrics are not well suited for agile products,
  • how to pick a good metric and focus on what you need to measure
  • what an Agile dashboard might look like for your next product.

Target Audience

Project Managers, Scrum Masters, Leadership and anyone who has struggled with metrics and reporting

Prerequisites for Attendees

A basic exposure to agile product development and a feeling of frustration from the dissimilarity of all the projects you’ve worked on so far. It would also be good to be familiar with some of the basic report types.

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

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