How To Know When You Are Misusing Metrics In Agile And Scrum

If you have metrics then it doesn’t mean that you can just use them in any way you want. If you use them incorrectly then you might end up destroying the motivation of the employees. And you need to be careful because there isn’t any metric that would tell you that you have been misusing the metrics and thus your team has lost all motivation and will to be productive.
Let’s have a look the most common misuses of metrics.
Velocity
The biggest way in which you could end up misinterpretation what velocity does for you is that it will help you know about team productivity. You may be monitoring the team velocity and would watch it going up and down in value from one iteration on to the next. In this way you might end up thinking as if it is denoting the team productivity. You might think that when velocity goes up the team becomes more productive and when it goes down it becomes less productive. But this is certainly not the case so please don’t commit this mistake.
Velocity should be used to measure how much time it is going to take for a project to get completed.
You should not envisage getting an increase in velocity and thinking that an increase would mean a more productive team. Instead of seeing it as a measure of team productivity just use the velocity points to measure the date for the completion of the backlog items. And to predict the date you should use the average of the highs and lows of the team velocity. This is because the team velocity for any team would not remain constant. It would keep on varying.
Points
Now points is another kind of metric which is quite often misused to see it associated with business value. It is not usually a case that a 10 point item will be less in value than a 12 point item. The number of points that an item has no connection with the business value whatsoever.
You should use the points as an estimate of the effort that would be required for the item to be completed. The actual time would always vary from the estimate but it is generally quite close to the estimated value points. And also note that this is not an absolute measure to denote the size of the item. It is just giving you a relative idea to the other items in your backlog.
Process Adherence
The metrics of process adherence is also quite often misused to measure the effectiveness of the team. It is used to measure how well the team is following the prescribed process. One should not take process adherence as a way to measure the team effectiveness rather the results that the team delivers and the quality of output should judge the team effectiveness. It just does not make any sense because the main motive behind the whole metrics of process adherence is not to make sure that team follows the process religiously but to use the process as a tool for the team to help them achieve what is required from them.
These are just three of the many metrics that can be misused in Agile and Scrum. There can be many more so always use your metrics in the right manner.