Effectively Measuring Agile Leaders

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Effectively Measuring Agile Leaders

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Nearly every time I speak, write, teach, or simply think about agile approaches to software development, someone has to bring up measurement.

And the measures they’re talking about inevitably focus on their teams and/or delivery dynamics. How do we measure our teams? How do we measure the impact of agility? And how do we measure your value as a coach? Are representative of the types of questions I hear.

BUT, if you subscribe to the theory that leadership sets the culture AND that culture drives performance, like I do, then why aren’t we measuring leaders in agile contexts?

The challenge is, what might that look like? Here are some of my thoughts around what we might measure…

Here’s an idea for a 4-Quadrant measurement approach for leaders in agile contexts.

  1. Creating space for…

    1. Innovation, hackathons, creative problem-solving

    2. Refactoring, maintenance investments

    3. Work from home/remote, distributed teams

    4. Physical space – open & private mix

  2. Fostering team health

    1. Attrition, Glassdoor stats, Employee referrals

    2. Employee engagement/health survey data

    3. Team learning & development

    4. Team self-selection; @ of reorganizations per year

  3. Optimizing work & execution

    1. Movement and Output vs. Results & Outcomes

    2. Churn (changing priority/focus, interruptions)

    3. WIP levels (planning & committing to too much)

    4. X-cutting concern management (Chapters & Guilds, CoP, Scrum of Scrums)

  4. Maintaining a focus towards the customer

    1. Team – customer contact levels

    2. Review/Demo engagement (Science Fairs, feedback)

    3. Delivered value and delivered ROI

    4. How much are leaders engaging in agile mindset (continuous improvement, MBWO, learning) trending of metrics data?

And this is just an idea. I’d love to hear more feedback on how we might measure agile leaders on their organizational and personal effectiveness.

All of that being said, I think it’s high-time that we started to measure leaders according to their Agile Leadership Maturity Metrics. Are they ALMM’ed towards their traditional behavior and tactics or are they ALMM’ing to change, adapt, and improve?

If I get enough feedback on this article, I might just create an ALMM-focused survey and see what the State of… real agile leadership is in the world. I think the data might prove interesting.

Anyway, thoughts & reactions?

Stay agile my friends,


BTW: I want to thank my colleague and friend, Josh Anderson, for helping me sort out these ideas in our Meta-Cast podcast. He inspired me to form a 4-Quadrants view to the metrics. Thanks, Josh!

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