Project Governance, Agile Metrics & Financial Reporting
Agile methodologies primarily focus on addressing process at a team level. SaFE and DAD made a good attempt to focus on agile at an enterprise level. In SaFE, there are a lot of focus on defining epics the agile way on a portfolio level, covering both business and technical aspects. High-level guidelines exist to explain how to do agile at those levels and how this filters down to team level, including SAFE agile metrics. Also, proper release planning is encouraged that is definitely an organisational requirement and other frameworks like Scrum or Lean do not cover this. DAD has a big focus on plugging the roles that is available within the typical wider organisation like architecture, stakeholders, testers, specialists etc into the other agile frameworks out there, giving it a bit of a more corporatey feel. So is it ok to strive for the perfect world agile picture painted in all the agile frameworks and methodologies? Yes, and we all should most probably, as it forces us to improve all the time. Is it implementable in most of today’s organisations that were born in the industrial age? No. And it is time that we all face the music.
What is missing in Agile?
So the question that is still unanswered in all of the above is what else is still missing from the agile frameworks like Scrum and Lean that does not sit well with corporates? Practically measuring delivery end-to-end from strategy level down to team level, focusing on initial estimated budget costs defined per initiative, project or strategic goal and tracking actual delivery against this easily and automatically in the agile tools you use, in other words agile metrics. Another aspect that is not addressed is enterprise ‘people’ capacity planning or at least having visibility of this on an enterprise level.
One of the gaps of agile methodologies and frameworks are that they do not take into account project governance, monitoring of financials and delivery on projects and how this maps or executes on organisational strategy. It also still has a heavy focus on software or IT type of projects. Some reports, agile metrics or measurements exist in some typical reports that we are all familiar with like cycle time, velocity chart, sprint burn down which only focuses on the delivery and measuring of individual teams generally as we have seen this implemented in other organisations. It does not aim to give transparency and visibility (which are agile values?) to the wider organisation in a practical way as stickies are still the preferred way encourage by agile consultants to implement agile.
So some responses to this that I have heard before is…. “It is not about control and efficiency”. Ok. And I do not think that it is either. It is about transparency and visibility.
What is further wrong with this statement, “It is not about control and efficiency”? Agile is not about exec’s or management letting go of control at all and worry and just trust that teams that historically have a track record of poor delivery will now all of a sudden magically deliver. This type of mentality is driving the divide between business and IT that exist in so many organisations today. What is wrong with the face of Agile at the moment is that teams actually do not acknowledge the need from execs and management at all. Execs and management must just let go of having transparency and visibility rolled up to organisational level and give teams the space to do their work. Where is mutual responsibility and accountability in this scenario?
We say no! Agile is not about creating a space where teams are not interrupted and everyone must just hope and pray that we are going to make the release or project deadline. It should be about mutual accountability and responsibility and the teams actually bringing something to the table.
Financial viability of any business is the core of keeping a business running and paying teams to have an awesome job at the end of the day to build awesome products. Giving transparency of how projects or products are performing within your business is critical and important. Being able to see this on an organisation level, a project level or client level and even drill down to cost centre/department/division, and ultimately teams, are important.
This is what the AGILEWARE PROJECT GOVERNANCE and FINANCIAL REPORTING TOOL and Framework aim to achieve, including SAFE agile metrics on Jira.
We package a Agile BI reporting tool with Jira, in other words agile metrics on Jira, that gives you access to a standard set of Agile Organisation and Project Governance reports that is now available for your business out-of-the-box, pre-developed and ready to be used within days.
For a sneak preview of the agile metrics on Jira we track, click on the report links:
- Project Dashboards
- People Dashboards
- Quality Dashboards