The road is rarely straight and narrow but regardless, it is a road!

Thriving in the post-COVID-19 lockdown world will mean you have to be efficient, dependable, and effective. Effectiveness is the third core capability and is the hardest to define. The dictionary definition of effectiveness is “the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result”. Translating that definition a bit for software development yields effectiveness as an assessment of whether a process, product or project is doing the right thing when compared to the goals of the organization. Being effective means having a consistent understanding of what the right thing is regardless of how dynamic the environment is. Needless to say, in the software world, no one has been able to consistently get needs and requirements nailed down for any length of time (we will reserve that topic for later). When I asked Andrew Jarr, Scrum Master at iovation (during a LinkedIn messaging conversation) what his approach was he responded, “I tend to think of an effective team in terms of delivering good outcomes for their stakeholders, how well/safely they communicate as a team, and how well individuals grow. Assessing effectiveness requires agreed upon proxy measures.  Examples of proxy measures often include:

Quality – Does the software or other deliverable work as expected? The number of delivered defects is a classic measure of output quality.

Stakeholder Satisfaction – There are multiple ways to collect satisfaction data (a sample of techniques are in Customer Satisfaction Metrics and Quality) nearly all require having a standardized assessment tool so that data collection will be repeatable.

Value – The functionality delivered from any piece of work needs to contribute to an organization’s wellbeing. Classic measures of value in this category include  Return on Investment, Return on Assets, Sales, and profit

Responsiveness – How quickly stories and features are shippable.  Measures include cycle time and concept-to-cash.

Team Growth – Are the capabilities of individuals within a team or organization growing to meet forecast needs? As with stakeholder satisfaction measuring this category will require a standardized approach and a mechanism to continually evaluate the strategic technological goals of the organization.

Teams and organizations will need to first determine what is important and then agree on how to measure or assess the indicators. Often, the act of measurement will need close integration between product management, product owners, stakeholders, and teams. The term close integration screams for VALUE CHAIN MAPPING to understand how work flows through an organization. (Note: you do not have to get in the weeds to get value out of value chain mapping).

For any team or organization to succeed they need a balance of the three core capabilities. Different strategies will need a different emphasis. All three capabilities will need to exist and be demonstrable to thrive.

We will tie the four entries in this theme up next week.