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Governance   »   Audit   »   Agile Project Benchmarks


When you look out of your window, yes have a look, and it is sunny or raining or windy or whatever it might be doing at the moment you are viewing the weather in your area. To consider the climate in your area, you must look at data spread over a period of time, often spread over a year for climate data. For agile project assessments though, the issues are less straightforward.

To test the climate for agile projects you can use benchmark agile project data and, as there is little formal analysis performed of agile projects in the field, this is a challenge. Companies who deliver agile projects tend to perform their own project metrics and assess their own performance in relation to their historic agile and non-agile project portfolio.

We find that companies are rather guarded with their agile project metrics and are less than receptive to sharing these with the wider commercial community, with evident reason we believe.

Whilst they may elect to share a successful percentage here or a welcoming increase there in their assortment of agile initiatives, it does not reveal adequate information in enough detail to assess the relative performance of one agile project, let alone organisation, over another. It is often supportive data that is derived only to bolster the internal Commitment and specific approach to agile delivery that the organisation has embarked upon.

We find that agile projects, when managed professionally, cost less and deliver more. They are less inclined to drop into RED status because their risks are managed more tightly and they score higher on success due to the collaborative involvement of business teams but also because they have dedicated personnel who are signed up to important Commitments.

While there is not an immediate opportunity to solve the lack of commercially available agile metrics, it is an opportunity to begin to build and share metrics for your own organisation to use. This will gradually build into an organisational benchmark for your agile projects.

The metrics are collected for the organisation at project level and provide a useful measure for agile success. They make really powerful statements about the relative success of one type of project over another in the same department or on the same team.

First you will build up some organisational metrics for each financial year:
  1. Number of non agile projects
  2. Number of agile projects
  3. Total Cost of project pipeline for the financial year
  4. Total Cost of agile project pipeline for the financial year
  5. Total Warranty & Post Live Errors per calendar month
  6. Total Warranty & Post Live Errors from agile deliveries per calendar month
  7. Total Post Live Running Costs per quarter
  8. Total Post Live Running Costs from agile deliveries per quarter
  9. Quantifiable success of projects
  10. Quantifiable success of agile projects
  11. Percentage of RAG status RED across all projects
  12. Percentage of RAG status AMBER across all projects
  13. Percentage of RAG status GREEN across all projects
  14. Percentage of RAG status RED across agile projects
  15. Percentage of RAG status AMBER across agile projects
  16. Percentage of RAG status GREEN across agile projects
  17. Average velocity across all projects
  18. Average velocity of agile projects

  19. Begin with your first project in the financial year and start to maintain: -
  20. Number of personnel
  21. Total Direct Cost of project
  22. Total Indirect Cost of project
  23. Quantifiable success of project (time, budget, ROI, value, quality, expectations)
  24. Average velocity of project
  25. Number of days at RAG status RED
  26. Number of days at RAG status AMBER
  27. Number of days at RAG status GREEN
  28. Total Post Live Running Costs per quarter
  29. Total number of Warranty & Post Live Errors
In the end, your organisation can elect to measure any amount of values and circumstances but we are all aware of the costs of measurement and the added costs of measuring ever more and more. A balance is necessary however to report and share our successes but also to communicate the benefits of the approach to the project and to the wider organisation.

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