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Best Metrics For The Performing Team

There is a big industry out there on metrics and measurement for software (both for Process and Technical excellence). All the places we work, spend a lot of time in measuring multiple dimensions of software for the entire lifecycle of the product. Many try to see what is the “best practice” in the industry and put a wrapper on them to make their own metrics.I have been thinking for a while on what makes sense, and is there a silver bullet like the Grand Unified Theory. While at it, it looks like we are trying to contain ourselves in one direction in as chaotic as a place of Software Product Development. Organizations tend to copy “what worked for them” without even caring for the constraints and conditions that the specific metric worked for them. Then, what to measure? Its very contextual and organizations which have understood what and how much to measure for a product have survived and thrived. When they have multiple products, they have different lenses for each of them as well. Some products will need a lot of statistics and data while some may not need any! And, how do you arrive at what to measure? For me the closest guiding one is 7th principle from Agile Manifesto “Working software is the primary measure of progress”. If you can define what is working software for you, it becomes easier to measure on the progress. Looked in the context of teams working in an Agile environment, using Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) and DevOps, the following sequence would help the teams. Each Phases stated are further divided into Sub-Phases. The journey is looked from both Team and Management perspective. Forming and Storming Phase At the beginning when teams are starting, they go through multiple phases of un-learning and learning. This would be the place where the leadership need to put in a lot of effort to make sure that the right environment is provided to the teams and they start appreciating the new ways of working. 1.      Understanding This phase is more leaned towards the processes as the teams needs education on Agile and the need for it. They would also undergo a series of experiments to select Scrum/Kanban/XP as their framework. The only metric for the management would be to make sure that the team copes-up the new unknown territory. They play a very crucial role of not getting into the path the team plans to take. 2.      Start to Run The team’s are now equipped with the new knowledge, and try to see what is in store for them. Introduce them to simple metric like Burndown Charts, Velocity to see the predictability of delivery. Assure them that these are for the consumption of the team, so as to manage themselves. The management need to seed the thought of “Self Management” to the teams and conversely they became aware of the new elevated roles they should play. 3.      Predictable In this phase, teams start utilizing the metric they have learned, for their benefit. They strive to become more predictable on a daily basis. If you see this behavior, cherish the results and allow them to bask in the glory. The management has to take care of the Trust and Conflict part of the team and help them with the though of healthy conflicts and why they are necessary for a team to mature. Norming Phase The team now gets into a stage where they have the knowledge necessary to perform, but have to create the understanding. While the team starts with experimentation, the management has to support the teams at this phase with coaching. 1.      Failing Fast The new freedom of Trust helps the teams to try out different ways of measuring themselves. This is the phase where teams toy with new ideas. Technical metrics come into picture here. The teams might start collecting data about Defects and their distribution, Test coverage, Code Coverage, Unit Testing, Automation etc. They will see that while few of the metric help them, few don’t serve any purpose. The management as coaches, should allow them to fail and retrospect. 2.      Multi Learning The failures help the team learn faster. They become increasingly aware of the factors that could help them. In this phase they start to learn about building a pipeline for them, which helps in faster feedback. They want to know the bad news as quickly as possible, so as to take the corrective actions. This might involve a CI/CD pipeline, DevOps culture, Technical Practices etc. The teams start becoming cross-functional at this stage learning a lot of new nuances of their craft. The management supports them by encouraging them to attend training/meet-ups and conferences to appreciate new concepts in the industry. Performing Phase The team reaches their mature state. They understand the principles behind all the practices. The Knowledge turns into Understanding by way of continuously un-learning, learning and re-learning. The experimentation, feedback and delivery loops merge with each other seamlessly. 1.      Explore The team looks for opportunities in this phase. As they start to understand the principles, tools/technology becomes increasingly irrelevant for them. They explore towards building a Resilient systems. While this phase takes them to a completely unknown territory, management helps them by giving complete freedom for exploration. This will be an exciting phase for the team member, who strive to achieve. 2.      Targeted Experimentation The exploration takes the teams to a place of specific experiments for building resilient systems. The teams work on building leading indicators for themselves like Dashboards, Monitors, Alarms etc. They move from Reactive Way to Proactive Way helpingthe business, management, stakeholders and themselves. The management at this phase will have an opportunity to take the case to next set of teams. This team will set the tone for other teams in the organization in their journey towards excellence. 3.      Enhance While the team has achieved a state of self realization and orchestrated delivery, they constantly look at marketplace demands. Kaizen, Improvement Kata etc. becomes their “work”. They are in a place of Relentless Improvement looking out for opportunities to enhance the Organization. At this point control is subtly shifted from Management to these self-managing, self-directed, resilient and adaptable teams. The management works on the next set of challenges to take the enterprise to the next level.
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Best Metrics For The Performing Team

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Best Metrics For The Performing Team

There is a big industry out there on metrics and measurement for software (both for Process and Technical excellence). All the places we work, spend a lot of time in measuring multiple dimensions of software for the entire lifecycle of the product. Many try to see what is the “best practice” in the industry and put a wrapper on them to make their own metrics.I have been thinking for a while on what makes sense, and is there a silver bullet like the Grand Unified Theory.

While at it, it looks like we are trying to contain ourselves in one direction in as chaotic as a place of Software Product Development. Organizations tend to copy “what worked for them” without even caring for the constraints and conditions that the specific metric worked for them.

Then, what to measure? Its very contextual and organizations which have understood what and how much to measure for a product have survived and thrived. When they have multiple products, they have different lenses for each of them as well. Some products will need a lot of statistics and data while some may not need any!

And, how do you arrive at what to measure? For me the closest guiding one is 7th principle from Agile Manifesto “Working software is the primary measure of progress”. If you can define what is working software for you, it becomes easier to measure on the progress.

Looked in the context of teams working in an Agile environment, using Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) and DevOps, the following sequence would help the teams. Each Phases stated are further divided into Sub-Phases. The journey is looked from both Team and Management perspective.

Forming and Storming Phase

At the beginning when teams are starting, they go through multiple phases of un-learning and learning. This would be the place where the leadership need to put in a lot of effort to make sure that the right environment is provided to the teams and they start appreciating the new ways of working.

1.      Understanding

This phase is more leaned towards the processes as the teams needs education on Agile and the need for it. They would also undergo a series of experiments to select Scrum/Kanban/XP as their framework. The only metric for the management would be to make sure that the team copes-up the new unknown territory. They play a very crucial role of not getting into the path the team plans to take.

2.      Start to Run

The team’s are now equipped with the new knowledge, and try to see what is in store for them. Introduce them to simple metric like Burndown Charts, Velocity to see the predictability of delivery. Assure them that these are for the consumption of the team, so as to manage themselves. The management need to seed the thought of Self Management to the teams and conversely they became aware of the new elevated roles they should play.

3.      Predictable

In this phase, teams start utilizing the metric they have learned, for their benefit. They strive to become more predictable on a daily basis. If you see this behavior, cherish the results and allow them to bask in the glory. The management has to take care of the Trust and Conflict part of the team and help them with the though of healthy conflicts and why they are necessary for a team to mature.

Norming Phase

The team now gets into a stage where they have the knowledge necessary to perform, but have to create the understanding. While the team starts with experimentation, the management has to support the teams at this phase with coaching.

1.      Failing Fast

The new freedom of Trust helps the teams to try out different ways of measuring themselves. This is the phase where teams toy with new ideas. Technical metrics come into picture here. The teams might start collecting data about Defects and their distribution, Test coverage, Code Coverage, Unit Testing, Automation etc. They will see that while few of the metric help them, few don’t serve any purpose. The management as coaches, should allow them to fail and retrospect.

2.      Multi Learning

The failures help the team learn faster. They become increasingly aware of the factors that could help them. In this phase they start to learn about building a pipeline for them, which helps in faster feedback. They want to know the bad news as quickly as possible, so as to take the corrective actions. This might involve a CI/CD pipeline, DevOps culture, Technical Practices etc. The teams start becoming cross-functional at this stage learning a lot of new nuances of their craft. The management supports them by encouraging them to attend training/meet-ups and conferences to appreciate new concepts in the industry.

Performing Phase

The team reaches their mature state. They understand the principles behind all the practices. The Knowledge turns into Understanding by way of continuously un-learning, learning and re-learning. The experimentation, feedback and delivery loops merge with each other seamlessly.

1.      Explore

The team looks for opportunities in this phase. As they start to understand the principles, tools/technology becomes increasingly irrelevant for them. They explore towards building a Resilient systems. While this phase takes them to a completely unknown territory, management helps them by giving complete freedom for exploration. This will be an exciting phase for the team member, who strive to achieve.

2.      Targeted Experimentation

The exploration takes the teams to a place of specific experiments for building resilient systems. The teams work on building leading indicators for themselves like Dashboards, Monitors, Alarms etc. They move from Reactive Way to Proactive Way helpingthe business, management, stakeholders and themselves. The management at this phase will have an opportunity to take the case to next set of teams. This team will set the tone for other teams in the organization in their journey towards excellence.

3.      Enhance

While the team has achieved a state of self realization and orchestrated delivery, they constantly look at marketplace demands. Kaizen, Improvement Kata etc. becomes their “work”. They are in a place of Relentless Improvement looking out for opportunities to enhance the Organization.

At this point control is subtly shifted from Management to these self-managing, self-directed, resilient and adaptable teams. The management works on the next set of challenges to take the enterprise to the next level.

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The distribution of the questions will be as follows:35 questions from the theme25 questions from the processesAnd 8 questions from the principles.Prerequisites:In order to appear for the PRINCE2® Practitioner examination, you must be able to provide a proof of passing one of the following exams:PRINCE2® FoundationProject Management Professional (PMP)Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager)IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager)IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate).The PRINCE2® Agile Examination format:It will be an objective test.There will be 50 questions, each worth one mark.You will need a score at least 30 marks to pass (out of 50 available), that is, 60%.The test duration will be of two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes), no additional reading time.It will be an open-book exam (official PRINCE2® Agile guide only)What are the Prerequisites?In order to sit for the PRINCE2® Agile examination, you must have a Registered PRINCE2® Practitioner status (i.e. hold a current PRINCE2® Practitioner certificate).But why should I get PRINCE2® Certified?There are many reasons why it is recommended to study PRINCE2®.The most notable of them are:It is the industry standardIf you are looking to work in project management, then your search ends at PRINCE2®.PRINCE2® is a qualification that is recognised worldwide, one that is approved by the UK government as a best practice for project management. It has turned into an important benchmark of capability within the industry, and is considered an important requirement for those looking to further their project management careers.It helps in gaining First Class Project Management SkillsPRINCE2® offers the skills that will make you confident about managing projects with success. The key element it follows is using a common language, systems, and procedures. What results is you being able to govern resources and risks with fewer mistakes, but the incidents will teach you and your team how to learn from the same mistakes.Irrespective of the type of project, organisation, or industry one is involved with, PRINCE2® is adaptable enough to be seamlessly adjusted, not to forget the immense amount of time, money, and effort it saves.The time taken for you to qualify will not take longIt will not take you long to complete all the certifications of PRINCE2®. Their duration is from 20 to 50 hours for the entry-level PRINCE2® Foundation level, two to three days for the PRINCE2® Practitioner and Professional levels.The first level can be studied online. You can take your own time in scheduling your studies according to the time table. However, if you desire to finish your qualifications at a quicker pace, then there are a host of bundled packages having different classifications together.It assists you in shaping your career by getting better jobsHaving a PRINCE2® certification adds credibility to your CV. It is a renowned international product which has the quality method for managing any project. According to Arras People's 2011 survey, half of the people who opted for the same have certifications in PRINCE2®. This clearly explains why so many companies are hiring candidates who are certified in PRINCE2®.The 2016 AXELOS PRINCE2® survey shows that a majority of the surveyees, particularly from Germany and the Netherlands, felt that PRINCE2® certification is essential for a better career growth. The ones to opine otherwise stood at less than 10% of the total votes.A better future is accomplished by continuously being equipped with the best of the upgrades available and a PRINCE2® certification is one of those top-tier choices.It will qualify you to earn more moneyMany companies worldwide offer an average annual salary of around $42,380 to PRINCE2® Foundation certified candidates. Potential candidates could earn up to $66,206 after they complete their PRINCE2® Practitioner certification,So, being PRINCE2® certified helps you secure your financial benefits and career on a long-term basis.You will be open to more opportunities globallyIt is a fact. PRINCE2® qualifications are recognised and acclaimed globally. So, there is no doubt that it creates more opportunities for you globally.Did you ever dream of working abroad? If yes, then project management could be the ideal choice.What is the cost of the components of the certification?Whether it is PRINCE2® Foundation or PRINCE2® Practitioner, the total cost is split into various segments and varies from country to country and from one accredited training organisation to another. All the fees mentioned here have approximate values and may be subjected to change depending on the region.The components involved in the PRINCE2® certification cost are:PRINCE2® TrainingPRINCE2® examCost of Sample Examination papersStudy GuideMembership fee.Well, opting for a PRINCE2® course online means that the cost of your training component in PRINCE2® could be as low as under $300, considering that you go for a PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations bundle. Choosing this combination will give you access to the entire course lasting for a year. Some training providers offer such courses for just $60, provided you want to complete the same within a month. Generally, the Foundation examination could cost around $900 but you automatically would end up paying much less on the PRINCE2® certification if you get one of those bundled courses including both PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations.However, in case you think about attending a classroom training, then you may have to pay around $1000 for your PRINCE2® certification. A few of these PRINCE2® courses cover the cost of the PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations. So keep the cost of the PRINCE2® certification in mind if you are planning to go for PRINCE2® training. Moreover, take time to pay attention to the extent of course coverage, flexibility and the bundled services that are provided. This will help you cut down on the cost of PRINCE2® certification.PRINCE2® course onlineIf you go for a PRINCE2® course online, you will save a lot of money on the PRINCE2® examination cost. PRINCE2® course online for the Foundation level may cost you €450 or more, but the classroom session may cost €1000 or more. Speaking of PRINCE2® examination cost, you will be able to save quite a lot of money by going for the online course.And what about the future of PRINCE2® professionals?To determine if the PRINCE2® certifications are worth going for, you will need to have a look at the average salaries of the jobs targeted at PRINCE2® certified Project Managers.The average salary of PRINCE2® certified employees is around $85,000 to $90,000.        A number of studies and surveys demonstrate the fact that PRINCE2® certified professionals earn more than their non-certified peers.You may start with the job role of a coordinator or an administrator, but you can rise up to a director’s position with the aid of a PRINCE2® certification.With the help of a PRINCE2® certification, you also become skilled in handling project delivery successfully, thus becoming an invaluable asset to your company.A PRINCE2® certification imparts knowledge on how to manage your resources on the project effectively. Moreover, you will be able to effectively take care of risks and hence aid businesses more.Axelos survey revealed that individuals feel that PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification is an invaluable asset for them irrespective of their position.In a nutshell, if you compare the PRINCE2® foundation exam costs, your salary should range from $33,000 to $ 93,000. Hence you can justify the costs of learning PRINCE2® with the staggering salary. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, PRINCE2® certified professionals are in high demand in the major companies throughout the world.You will be a sought-after person when your peers and organisation become aware of your skills in project management.ConclusionAll the information and discussion shared above is just the tip of the iceberg of information about PRINCE2®. There are more to follow in our subsequent articles having every useful information that will help you choose your career options, especially when you are standing at the crossroads of selecting the appropriate one for your future.We wish you all the best on your journey to pursuing excellence!
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What is PRINCE2®

PRINCE2® is one of the methodologies which will l... Read More

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