Previously I have shared my thoughts on using walls. I elaborated on the concepts behind Architectural walls too. This post focuses on using walls to share more general information about delivery.
All of the walls teams use can also be classified as reporting walls as they can be used to measure or assess progress, coverage, risk or defects. The skill is in how people interpret the walls. More on that in a later post. First teams need to be putting up some metrics to allow themselves to chart or map either progress or quality. This then allows them to make some data driven decisions about how to change or adapt their way of working to move the metrics in the directions they want them to go.
One of the most common metrics is the “burn rate”. The burn can be either of days, effort, dollars or story points and it can be assessed as either increasing (burn up) or decreasing (burn down). The burn rate is a very powerful tool to help the team keep focused. This is generally shared as a burn up or burn down chart. Very useful information for everyone, especially when it is place near the team’s planning wall or kanban board.
Other common metrics tracked on walls include dollars spent, stories delivered (via the release plan), defects found and fixed (via the test results wall), test coverage (via the test planning wall). Tracking these pieces of information is great for the team to understand the impact of their work on their various delivery metrics. They can then start to experiment on how to move these figures in the directions that the team wants them to go. Common delivery metrics that teams should track are Throughput (number of items delivered), Cycle Time, and Lead Time.
Other interesting metrics are things such as distribution of story sizes inside an iteration, this is very useful to use when looking at velocity, to see how many iterations get “done” and how it relates to story sizes.
Tracking trends in team behaviours and changes to the social contracts are also excellent metrics to consider if wishing to follow the agile transformation. Plotting results of team’s own mood monitoring, behaviours or practices maturity or tracking how the team feels they are growing is very powerful.
With these reporting walls teams can disseminate information about progress or quality incredibly efficiently, to anyone who is interested, at any time. Additionally teams are able to use these reporting points as another dimension of information about their progress or quality, and then adjust how they are working based on the data that they are collecting.