Two distinct types of metric.
Every transformation outcome that you want to track needs to have a lag metric and at least one lead metric associated with it.
A lag metric is a measurement that only becomes available after the activity has occurred – it tells you if you have achieved the aim. For example, employee engagement measured through an Employee Engagement survey.
A lead metric is the measurement of some activity that is under your control and predictive of the outcome – it tells you if you are likely to achieve your aim. For example, having frequent one-on-one meetings, change management communications.
Measurement of the right lead and lag metrics ensures that you:
Achieve the Business Outcome
Prior to beginning any Agile transformation, the business should define what the transformation’s aims are and how much business value is expected from achieving those aims.
Agile transformation aims may relate to for example: financial improvement, productivity improvements, speed-to-market, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.
To ensure that the business aim is met, the associated lag metrics need to be baselined and re-measured as the project proceeds and after the project’s completion.
Stay on Track – use your measurement throughout the transformation
There are two ways of using the measurements to ensure that you stay on track in your transformation. First you can assess the periodic measurement of the lag measure. E.g. employee engagement moved by 1ppt in the month
Secondly, by tracking the lead measures you can correct or increase efforts to give yourself the best chance of achieving the outcome. E.g. number of one-on-one meetings is too low vs. Target.
Assessment of either of these metrics (and qualitative feedback) may lead to issues that are preventing achievement of the goal.
Guide the Team’s focus and engagement
The right metrics will guide the team’s focus and engagement to be in alignment with the aims of the transformation.
Simple and clearly communicated metrics of team performance leads to improved performance
“Human beings adjust behavior based on the metrics they’re held against. Anything you measure will impel a person to optimize his score on that metric. What you measure is what you’ll get. Period.”
Dan Ariely, HBR 2010
The other consequence of this general rule is that if you measure the wrong thing you will get the wrong outcome.
Choose the right lead and lag measures for your Agile transformation.
In order to understand the world around us and make informed decisions, it is important to have a global perspective.