Vanity metrics

"Revenue is down this quarter, but on the bright side, our sprint numbers are accurate!" said noone ever.

In my third message, responding to last week’s refactoring story situation, I want to look at the second paragraph:

We’ve already estimated the size of these stories, but if we incorporate them into the current sprint and then remove them later (once the coding is completed), it will distort the numbers for the sprint, because the stories cannot be tested yet. Is there a way we can properly acknowledge this work while making it clear that these stories won’t be implemented for a few sprints?

The phrase I want to focus on is “it will distort the numbers for the sprint.”

To be blunt, my question posed to the person asking this question is: Who cares?

Are we in the business of providing value for the users of our software, or are we in the business of reporting sprint numbers?

“Revenue is down this quarter, but on the bright side, our sprint numbers are accurate!” said noone ever.

Focus on what matters.

Of course sometimes identifying what really matters is difficult when you’re in the thick of it. If you’d like some help, reach out, and we can set up a call to work on this together.

And if you’re working in a company that’s so bogged down with bureaucracy that reporting sprint numbers is actually required, you always have the option of faking it.

Meanwhile, your competitors are probably building the value that will steal your customers.