Why benchmark productivity in agile organisations?
There are several well-evidenced benefits when it comes to using agile working methods in IT organisations. Agile frameworks such as SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) ensure focus on the elements of the project that provide value and on what is ultimately needed. However, agile working methods also entail a number of financial challenges. In many cases, lack of insight and large fluctuations in productivity, and frequently the absence of a distinction between development and maintenance tasks, mean it is difficult to assess whether you are actually getting enough for the money you are investing in the agile projects.
When is benchmarking of agile programmes relevant?
Many organisations implement agile programmes with the overall intention of working more efficiently and purposefully on IT development. In many cases, they expect to achieve productivity improvements of up to 25%, compared to the more traditional forms of development. However, we often find that agile organisations do not really know whether they are achieving their intended productivity gain. In many cases, it turns out that productivity is actually lower than intended – especially when compared to what similar organisations can achieve.
In several respects, therefore, a benchmark of agile programmes may be appropriate. For the internal development organisation, a benchmark can clarify how well the agile framework has been implemented in the organisation, and to what extent they are actually achieving the productivity benefits they desire. If the development task is outsourced, a benchmark can determine whether the developer team assigned is providing performance that matches the price being paid. In all respects, a benchmark provides an objective assessment of the organisation’s productivity, which can then be used to identify problems and opportunities for improvement across development teams.
Based on existing data sources, Zangenberg Group has devised a method for making an accurate, comparable assessment of productivity in the context of agile development tasks.
Using our proprietary tools, we can analyse large amounts of data – for example, from ITSM databases and JIRA – and compare it with commits and number of lines of code. By normalising the data collected, according to complexity and external factors etc., we assign a productivity score that can be compared across teams and organisations.
In addition to the productivity score, a benchmark also provides an overview of the scope of maintenance tasks handled by the agile teams. These could be benchmarked independently.
- An overview of the productivity of the organisation’s agile development teams
- An assessment of the organisation’s productivity in relation to the market
- An assessment of the organisation’s team composition in relation to competencies and level of experience
- An overview of the scope of development and maintenance tasks performed by the agile teams