Top 6 Essential Agile KPIs to Maximize Your Scrum Team’s Performance

In the fast-paced, dynamic world of Agile, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are invaluable tools for measuring performance, identifying problems and drivingcontinuous improvement. As a Scrum Master, knowing and understanding these KPIs is essential to optimizing your team’s efficiency.

In this article, we’ll explore the Top 5 must-have Agile KPIs that every Scrum team should be tracking. We’ll discuss each KPI in detail, and I’ll share my personal experience as a Scrum Master on the importance of these indicators and how to implement them on Jira.

Illustration of curves and Agile Scrum KPIs representing team performance

KPI description :

Team Velocity is a central Agile KPI used to evaluate the amount of work a Scrum team can accomplish during a sprint. It is measured in Story Points (an estimate attributed to each work element) reflecting its level of difficulty and effort required. By tracking team velocity over several sprints, we can develop a solid understanding of the team’s work capacity and make more accurate predictions for future sprints.

Opinion :

As a Scrum Master, I can tell you that Team Velocity is a valuable tool for assessing team performance and setting realistic expectations for future sprints. However, it must be approached with caution and avoided as a tool for pressure or comparison.

How to set it up on Jira :

In Jira, the Velocity graph is accessible in the “Reports” section of the project. Make sure you have assigned Story Points to each Sprint task so that they are taken into account in the calculation.

Velocity is an Agile Scrum KPI available on Jira

2. Predictability

KPI description :

Predictability is another crucial KPI in Agile, representing the percentage of planned tasks that were actually completed during the sprint. In other words, it’s a measure of the team’s ability to meet its commitments. It gives a direct insight into team reliability and can help identify areas where the team is overloaded or under-performing.

Opinion :

As a Scrum Master, I found Predictability particularly useful in assessing the accuracy of our sprint forecasts. A low predictability rate may indicate that we need to improve our estimation techniques and workload management.

How to set it up on Jira :

To calculate predictability, simply compare the number of completed tasks with the total number of planned tasks. In Jira, you can easily do this using the“Sprint Report“.

3. Burndown Chart

KPI description :

The Burndown diagram is another visual tool that shows the amount of work remaining in a sprint or project. It gives a clear picture of the team’s performance against expectations, and can help identify whether the team is behind or ahead of schedule.

Opinion :

The Burndown diagram is an excellent tool for tracking sprint progress. It provides a quick visualization of the team’s performance against the sprint goal.

How to set it up on Jira :

In Jira, the Burndown diagram is available in the “Reports” section of the project.

Example of a Burndown diagram in Jira showing the team's progress over time
Real Burndown Chart of a Scrum team in Jira

4. Cycle Time or Lead Time

KPI description :

Cycle Time is a measure of the total time it takes for a task to go from “In Progress” to “Done“. This includes the time when the task is working and the time when it is waiting. A shorter cycle time may indicate excellent workflow efficiency and fluidity, while a longer cycle time may reveal bottlenecks or problems in the workflow.

Cycle Time should not be confused with Lead Time, which is another KPI. Lead Time measures the total time required for a job to go from the beginning (when the ticket is created) to the end of the process. In other words, it measures the time elapsed from the moment a task is added to the backlog (or requested by customers) to the moment it is completely finished. Cycle Time, on the other hand, measures only the time it takes for a task to go from “In Progress” to “Completed”.

Image showing the difference between Cycle Time and Lead Time, 2 agile KPIs, Lean Kanban and Scrum

Opinion :

Cycle time is one of the most valuable KPIs for measuring theefficiency of our workflow. It can help identify areas of slowdown and optimize the work process.

How to set it up on Jira :

In Jira, theControl Chart“Here’s an official Athlasian article on how to implement this KPI in your team: “3 tools to analyze Cycle and Lead Time in the Jira“on the Athlasian website.

Example of a Control Chart in Jira displaying the Scrum team's Lead Time and Cycle Time.

5. Burnup Chart

KPI description :

The Cumulative Flow Diagram is an essential Agile practice for visualizing work items at different stages of the development process. By showing the number of items in each state (e.g., to do, in progress, completed) over a period of time, the Cumulative Flow Diagram helps teams identify bottlenecks by revealing where tasks are accumulating. It also assesses workflow stability, showing whether tasks are progressing smoothly through the various stages.

What’s more, the Cumulative Flow Chart can be used to analyze workflow by showing how much time tasks spend in each state, helping to identify potential delays. It also measures the efficiency of the various phases of the process, enabling us to identify and improve steps that slow down the workflow. This diagram is a powerful tool for optimizing team efficiency and performance by providing precise, actionable workflow information.

Opinion :

As a Scrum Master, the Cumulative Flow Diagram has proved extremely useful for gaining an overview of the team’s performance. It doesn’t just identify bottlenecks; it offers a wealth of valuable information on workflow stability, team capacity, workload trends, process efficiency and delivery times.

How to set it up on Jira :

  1. Access Reports: In your Jira project, go to the “Reports” section.
  2. Select Cumulative Flow Diagrams: Choose “Cumulative Flow Diagram” from the list of available reports.
  3. Configure the diagram: Select the period and columns of the Kanban board to be included.
  4. Analyze the Data: Examine the colored bands to gain insights into stability, bottlenecks and workflow efficiency.
Cumulative Flow Diagram illustration on Jira

6. Burnup Chart

KPI description :

The Burnup diagram is a visual tool that shows the team’s progress in relation to the total backlog. It shows the total work to be done, thework accomplished and the team’s speed. It’s an excellent tool for visualizing project progress and predicting when work will be completed.

Opinion :

The Burnup diagram is an invaluable tool for monitoring project progress. However, as with all KPIs, it should not be used in isolation, but in combination with other indicators.

How to set it up on Jira :

On Jira, you can access the Burnup diagram in the “Reports” section of the project.

burnup chart jira scrum kpi Top 6 Essential Agile KPIs to Maximize Your Scrum Team's Performance

Conclusion

Agile and Scrum are frameworks designed to bring flexibility and speed to project management, but without a clear understanding of team performance, it’s difficult to realize their full potential. Each of the Agile KPIs we’ve examined in this article offers unique insights into different aspects of team performance, and together they form a complete picture of your Scrum team’s health and effectiveness.

As a Scrum Master, your role is not only to facilitate the Scrum process, but also tohelp your team reach its full potential. Using these Agile KPIs as a guide, you can identify areas for improvement, track progress over time and help your team to excel. So take these KPIs, implement them in your team and see how they can transform the way you work.

Further information

  1. See our Jira tutorial for beginners.
  2. Article on the Atlasian website about Scrum KPIs available on Jira.

Cette publication est également disponible en : French

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Ahmed BEN SALEM

Strongly involved in Agile methodologies, I have held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner and Release Train Engineer for SAFe, Scrum and DevOps projects. My approach focuses on people and stakeholder collaboration, creating environments conducive to innovation and performance.

Since 2016, I have successfully led several Agile software development projects for companies of all sizes, including Odigo, Orange and PSA. My solid experience in Agile methodologies, in particular Scrum and SAFe, has enabled me to work with multicultural teams from countries such as the USA, India, Vietnam and Morocco.

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