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How to get a grip on Agile projects

Even though large numbers of organizations have embraced Agile software development, management rarely has all the information it requires about productivity, costs and the lead time and quality of Agile projects. How effective and efficient are our Agile software development activities in actual fact?

If you are unable to demonstrate this, you have no idea where you stand: in other words, a project where you have no advance information about the agility and quality of the software that is delivered. These types of projects are associated with high risk at the outset and, if KPIs are not used, also unpredictable final outcomes in terms of quality, lead time and costs.

I have developed an approach and a KPI set that does provide accurate information about costs, quality and the lead time of Agile projects. These KPIs are grouped in four categories; Cheaper, Better, Faster and Happier and can be implemented in two ways: ‘Continuous fact-based’ and ‘Continuous output-based’. The same KPIs are used in both cases. However, the supplier is paid based on the number of functional delivery units (output) when ‘Continuous output-based’ applies. ‘Continuous fact-based’ means that the metrics are assessed continuously, preferably automatically. This KPI set was tested in one of the largest output-based outsourcing projects in the Netherlands and subsequently deployed in several national and international projects.

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