Make It Measurable

Recently I was talking to our product owner on the project that I'm currently on. We were having a discussion regarding our retrospectives and how we as a team struggle to stick to some of the outcomes of the meeting. She said something that hit me like a ton of bricks..."We need to make it measurable"

Let's Measure It

There is a famous quote from Peter Drucker which goes along the following lines:

"If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."

When you look at it, you immediately see how obvious it is and how anyone could have missed it, yet I had.

If you can't measure something it becomes almost impossible to see if you are improving at something. For example, one of the issues that is concerning me at the moment is the lack of unit tests in the system, as one of our goals is to always be in a state to release into production on our main branch. Now, one of our retro items could be that we need to write more unit tests, but the issue with this is how much is more? Is it one test, or maybe 10? We don't really know.

A better way of putting this is to say that in the next sprint we will increase our test coverage from 20% to 25%. By making it small and achievable it not only makes the developers more confident in attaining the goal, but also gives a good dopamine boost to the system, thereby reinforcing the behaviour and increasing the likelihood of achieving this again in future sprints. In addition, and most importantly in this context, is that it provides us with some hard numbers that we can measure and track performance against so we can know for certain if we are improving or not.

Like I mentioned earlier, when you sit back and look at this it is so obvious, yet many of us, myself included, forget about it. If you are going to improve, you need to make it measurable!

Until next time...keep learning!

Mauro Da Silva

Learning everyday about software development, leadership & self improvement

Perth, Australia