Q&A on KPIs for Agile Project Managers and Business Analysts

Q&A on KPIs for Agile Project Managers and Business Analysts

The questions below came from our latest webinar on KPIs for Agile Project Managers and Business Analysts.

What are some leading BA KPIs?

  • Stakeholder satisfaction by Feature (Satisfaction)
  • Stakeholder activity by Feature (Engagement)
  • Cycle time from ideation to Feature approval
  • Business value per Feature (Value)
  • Test coverage for Feature (Quality)
  • Number of defects per Feature (Quality)
  • Feature Completeness (Inspection or Peer Review)

Is it common practice to have stakeholders sign off on KPIs prior to development?

Yes, however, stakeholders should also be actively involved in their development. Getting stakeholder approval is key for all KPIs.

What is a good way to minimize the time to get signoff on requirements WITHOUT getting poor/missing/misunderstood requirements?

Optimally, requirements should be reviewed as they are being created.  To do this requires an automated requirements tool such as Enfocus Requirements Suite™. Here are some specific recommendations:

  • Break down the solution scope into separate independent components (Features).
  • Validate each Feature and eliminate Features that provide little or no value.
  • Define solution requirements only for validated features.
  • Assign a BA and a Sponsor to each Feature
  • Allow stakeholders to review and comment on each requirement as they are being developed using an automated tool such as Enfocus Requirements Suite.™
  • Obtain review and signoff on a Feature by Feature basis using stakeholders that are involved in that feature.  This procedure can prevent a lot of noise.
  • Measure the cycle time from Ideation to validation and validation to acceptance.

Where can I get the benchmark for any metric?

There are many benchmarking services, including:

  • APQC
  • The Hackett Group
  • InfoTech
  • Enfocus Requirements Suite™ (RequirementCoach™)
  • Process Intelligence

What tool was used for slide #54 “Monitoring Stakeholder Engagement”?

The graphic was a screenshot from Enfocus Requirements Suite™ by Enfocus Solutions.  This is captured as a standard metric in the tool.

monitoring stakeholder engagement

All the metrics described in the presentation require measurements. To become useful, some sort of engine is needed to collect all the data, calculate the KPI and present it. Can we have the presenter recommend tools for doing that?

Yes, visualization of metrics is very important using a dashboard. There are hundreds of tools that do this.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • KIPfolio
  • Microsoft
  • Datapine

How can PMs learn how to create KPIs/metrics?

This is a standard skill that every PM should learn. As we move away from traditional project management towards agile, PMs will be expected to manage the delivery of value more and more. I would highly recommend that all PMs learn how to define and use KPIs and metrics.

In general whether the methodology is waterfall or agile, is it necessary to trace the KPIs of business analysis to that of project management?  If yes, how can this be achieved?  

Business analysis is a key part of every project, similar to testing and development. Business analysis KPIs should be established to measure business analysis just like any other activity.  Here are some good metrics for business analysis:

  • Number of defects in requirements
  • Average cycle time to validate and approve a feature
  • Stakeholder satisfaction for each feature
  • Benefits identified by feature
  • Inspection Report for Feature Completeness
  • Developer Satisfaction
  • Tester/QA Satisfaction
  • Amount of Test Coverage/Feature
  • Amount of Requirement Change

What do you recommend as the best way to ensure that time is properly allocated to follow up post release to ensure project KPIs are met?  Should this be the stakeholders’ responsibility rather than IT, in order to ensure that they are focused on making sure they get benefit realization?

I would recommend not closing project until the benefits have been realized. The PM should continue to work with business stakeholders to ensure project benefits have been achieved.  Most of the IT team can be released after solution delivery, but the PM should stay until benefits have been realized.

For a good explanation of this approach, refer to March Resch’s book Strategic Project Management Transformation – Delivering Maximum ROI & Sustainable Business Value.

strategic project management transformation

Is it possible to prioritize features in the tool?

Yes, many features are built into Enfocus Requirements Suite™ for prioritization including:

  • Rank Order
  • High, Medium, Low
  • Tags
  • Likes and Dislikes

Features that provide little or no value may be descoped from the project.  Please note that 64% of features that are developed are rarely or never used. Validating and prioritizing features is absolutely critical for scope management and controlling costs on projects.

Are you aware of any particular issues people may come against when trying to get stakeholders engaged in benefit-focused requests rather than instinct and what are the best ways to challenge this thinking?

Project sponsors love KPIs and metrics. They want to see their business outcomes achieved and without effective measures it is difficult to achieve. Stakeholders also want to see improvements in operations. The key is to reach agreement on the KPIs and communicate them to everyone.  Research has shown that proper use of KPIs actually reduces political conflict and turmoil.

Can you apply these concepts mentioned in your webinar to projects other than IT? I.e., huge infrastructure projects, involving many stakeholders.

Yes these same techniques work on any type of project including manufacturing and construction projects.  Please contact us for a consultation to discuss additional information.  These same concepts apply to product development and management.  The metrics and KPIs will change based on the project.

Any scenario is set up to reach a certain target; for example, what do we need to do to increase xx by yy %? Project results should be the outcome of this scenario.

Yes start with a scenario, convert it to a specific objective and define metrics to measure performance. Scenarios are an excellent tool to use to reach agreement on objectives and metrics.

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