Metrics & How To Measure Success in Agile Software Team Delivery

4 minute read

At Opreto, client success is our absolute priority. We optimize our teams by focusing on five critical goals, with client-selected Key Performance Indicators topping the list. In addition to the client’s chosen metrics we also measure Cycle Time, Planned-to-Done Ratio, Escaped Defect Rate, and the Happiness Metric.

We base our overall approach on the power of partnership. Measuring the five critical goals is vital to fostering successful client collaboration. This close relationship is the cornerstone of our strategy, with each goal designed to strengthen that bond with the client, reinforce confidence in our work, and help us to work in sync.

Let’s explore these metrics in the following sections so we can see how our hand-in-hand approach allows us to adapt swiftly to any changes in the client’s needs, and keeps our agile teams in sync with their evolving objectives.

Key Performance Indicators

KPIs are the compass guiding our agile teams to reach clients’ goals, and it establishes the project’s true north. During our kick-off session, we gather a deep understanding of their needs and discuss expectations and this forms the basis for setting relevant and clear KPIs. By focusing on these measurable targets, we can make informed decisions and optimize our efforts on an ongoing basis throughout the lifecycle of the project.

After project commencement, we work closely with clients to create a strategic backlog tailored to their goals. This collaborative approach fosters a clear understanding of expectations and helps us prioritize tasks effectively. By aligning our efforts with the clients’ KPIs, we can measure the development progress and ensure that our agile teams are positioned to consistently exceed targets.

Cycle Time

Cycle Time is a metric that helps us gauge our agile teams’ performance. By measuring the duration between the start of a task and its completion, we can effectively assess the team’s velocity. We rely on project management software, such as JIRA, to automatically track and record Cycle Time data, providing valuable insights into our teams’ productivity and efficiency.

With a solid understanding of team velocity, we can better plan and allocate resources to achieve client goals. By monitoring Cycle Time and scaling the team size appropriately we can ensure our teams maintain a steady pace and deliver results within the expected timeframes.

Planned-to-Done Ratio

The Planned-to-Done Ratio is another crucial metric we track at Opreto. By comparing the number of backlog commitments per sprint to the successful delivery rate within that sprint, we gain insight into the predictability of our agile teams. We aim to achieve an 85% chance of delivering any item in a sprint, which gives us a high level of consistency but leaves an acceptable margin for our teams against the obstacles that can arise during development.

Monitoring the Planned-to-Done Ratio allows us to identify areas for improvement and adjust our planning process by raising or lowering the number of backlog commitments per sprint. Heeding and respecting this metric helps us maintain high predictability and encourages client confidence in our work.

Escaped Defect Rate

The Escaped Defect Rate (EDR) is an essential metric for gauging the quality of our agile teams’ work. By tracking the number of bugs discovered in a product after the relevant story has been marked as completed within a sprint, we can assess the effectiveness of our quality assurance processes. Keeping the EDR low is crucial, as it helps us deliver high-quality software that meets client expectations.

Continuously monitoring the EDR enables us to identify potential issues and implement corrective actions to improve our development and testing processes. Maintaining a low EDR ensures that our clients receive reliable and robust software with minimal defects. This commitment to quality enhances our reputation as a trusted software development partner and strengthens our clients’ confidence in the software we produce.

The Happiness Metric

The Happiness Metric is a different but vital component of our performance assessment at Opreto. By measuring the overall team happiness in post-sprint retrospectives, we can track the stability and well-being of our agile teams. A positive working environment contributes significantly to the productivity and success of our projects, and team health is paramount in software development.

Keeping a close eye on the Happiness Metric enables us to identify potential issues affecting team morale. For instance, if the other metrics are within acceptable levels, but the happiness score is low, it could indicate that the team is nearing burnout. We can proactively maintain a healthy, motivated, and engaged team by addressing happiness as concerns arise.

A cohesive, motivated, and high-performing team is the backbone of any successful project. When team members work together harmoniously, leveraging each other’s strengths and supporting one another, they can achieve outstanding results that surpass expectations. The importance of a robust and united team cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the quality of the software we create and the satisfaction of our clients.


We establish metrics so that we know what success looks like, for us and our clients. By determining client-led KPIs we ensure a healthy relationship with clear expectations and knowable outcomes, along with a framework by which to monitor and adjust development when needed. In addition, by also always focusing on Opreto’s four chosen metrics, we ensure the predictability of project velocity (Cycle Time Metric), completions-as-promised (Planned-to-Done Metric), software quality (EDR Metric), and development sustainability (Happiness Metric).

We chose these four as they give us the runtime data required to tune our teams to the project and remain consistent, and because we believe that they together create the trust required for the partnership of an agile software development project to thrive, and for us to exceed every expectation and reliably deliver value (and valuable software).