Why Team & System Metrics are Crucial

3 Reasons Why Team & System Metrics are Crucial for Continuous Improvement

Leveraging the right metrics is essential for enabling continuous improvement both for teams and across entire systems. Here are three key reasons why taking a metrics-driven approach is integral for continuous improvement.

1. Align Tactical and Strategic Decisions

Choosing the right metrics is essential in providing visibility and insight into how the day to day interactions, decisions and behaviours across the system (i.e. a value stream) connect with the overarching business objectives. By taking a dual tracking approach at a team level (micro) and system level (macro), leaders can connect round level improvement with the broader organisational strategy, and minimise the risks of local optimisation. 

For example, multiple interdependent product teams are using cumulative flow diagrams to monitor workflow and identify bottlenecks relevant to them. At a system level, the overall lead time and throughput metrics are being used to understand delivery pace and its alignment with strategic goals.

Aligned metrics enable coordination.

2. Promote Shared Accountability

Effective use of metrics distributes responsibility across teams. When groups have visibility into each other’s metrics, see how they are interdependent on one another, and understand one another’s challenges or opportunities they can develop a shared ownership of outcomes.

In a tech company, while customer support tracks ‘Net Promoter Score’ (NPS) to measure loyalty, product teams monitor ‘Feature Usage Metrics’ to understand user engagement. Both teams collaboratively review these metrics to jointly enhance customer experience, fostering shared ownership in achieving customer satisfaction

Shared metrics drive collaboration and knowledge sharing, and support achieving integrated solutions.

3. Identify Areas for Improvement

The appropriate metrics make progress transparent, pinpoint bottlenecks, and clarify dependencies. This enables fact-based issue diagnosis and underpins the necessity for data-driven action planning.

In a software development team, ‘Pull Request Aging’ metrics are used to track the time taken for code reviews. Analysis reveals prolonged review cycles are delaying deployments. The team addresses this by introducing automated code quality checks and setting clear review timelines, which results in a faster review process and more efficient release cycles, directly improving their overall development flow.

Ongoing measurement spotlights opportunities for improvement at multiple levels of the system.

Leveraging metrics effectively provides the visibility required to enable continuous improvement. Metrics alignment, shared accountability, and insight-driven action are key mechanisms for ongoing betterment across teams and systems.

More about metrics

Finally, are you keen to deepen your grasp of agile-lean metrics and harness their power within your teams? Ready to shift from individual team metrics to a holistic, team-of-teams perspective?

Our practical, hands-on, two-day Metrics Empowerment Workshop, makes metrics clear and actionable. Gain firsthand experience selecting and applying metrics tailored to your unique challenges for immediate impact.

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