Top 10 agile metrics and why they matter?

Agile has transformed the way companies work. It reduces the time to deliver value to end-users and lowers the cost. In other words, Agile methodology helps ramp up the developers teams’ efficiency. 

But to get the full benefits of agile methodology, teams need to rely on agile metrics. They are realistic and get you a data-based overview of progress. They help in measuring the success of the team. 

Let’s dive deeper into Agile metrics and a few of the best-known metrics for your team: 

What are Agile metrics?

Agile metrics can also be called Agile KPIs. These are the metrics that you use to measure the work of your team across SDLC phases. It helps identify the process’s strengths and expose issues, if any, in the early stages. 

Besides this, Agile metrics help cover different aspects including productivity, quality, and team health. 

A few benefits of Agile metrics are: 

  • It fosters continuous improvement for the team
  • It helps in identifying team challenges and tracks progress toward your goals
  • It keeps a pulse on agile development 
  • It fastens up delivery time for products to end-users
  • It helps in avoiding guesswork about bandwidth 

Importance of Agile metrics

Increase productivity

With the help of agile project metrics, development teams can identify areas for improvement, track progress, and make informed decisions. This enhances efficiency which further increases team productivity.

Build accountability and transparency

Agile performance metrics provide quantifiable data on various aspects of work. This creates a shared understanding among team members, stakeholders, and leadership. Hence, contributing to a more accountable and transparent development environment.

Foster continuous improvement in the team

These meaningful metrics provide valuable insights into various aspects of the team’s performance, processes, and outcomes. This makes it easy to assess progress and address blind spots. Therefore, fostering a culture that values learning, adaption, and ongoing improvement.

Speed up product delivery time

Agile metrics including burndown chart, escaped defect rate, and cycle time provide software development teams with data necessary to optimize the development process and streamline workflow. This enables teams to prioritize effectively. Hence, ensuring delivered features meet user needs and improve customer satisfaction.

Types of Agile metrics

Kanban metrics

This metric focuses on workflow, organizing and prioritizing work, and the amount of time invested to obtain results.  It uses visual cues for tracking progress over time.

Scrum metrics

Scrum metrics focus on the predictable delivery of working software to customers. It analyzes sprint effectiveness and highlights the amount of work completed during a given sprint.

Lean metrics

This metric focuses on productivity and quality of work output, flow efficiency, and eliminating wasteful activities. It helps in identifying blind spots and tracking progress toward lean goals.

Top 10 Agile metrics

Below are a few powerful agile metrics you should know about:

Lead time

Lead time metric measures the total time elapsed from the initial request being made till the final product is delivered. In other words, it measures the entire agile system from start to end. The lower the lead time, the more efficient the entire development pipeline is. 

Lead time helps keep the backlog lean and clean. This metric removes any guesswork and predicts when it will start generating value. Besides this, it helps in developing a business requirement and fixing bugs. 

Cycle time

This popular metric measures how long it takes to complete tasks. Less cycle time ensures more tasks are completed. When the cycle time exceeds a sprint, it signifies that the team is not completing work as it is supposed to. This metric is a subset of lead time. 

Moreover, cycle time focuses on individual tasks. Hence, a good indicator of the team’s performance and raises red flags, if any in the early stages. 

Cycle time makes project management much easier and helps in detecting issues when they arise. 


This agile metric indicates the average amount of work completed in a given time, typically a sprint. It can be measured with hours or story points. As it is a result metric, it helps measure the value delivered to customers in a series of sprints. Velocity predicts future milestones and helps in estimating a realistic rate of progress. 

The higher the team’s velocity, the more efficient teams are at developing processes. 

Although, the downside of this metric is that it can be easily manipulated by teams when they have to satisfy velocity goals. 

Sprint burndown

The sprint burndown chart helps in knowing how many story points have been completed and are remaining during the sprint. The output is measured in terms of hours, story points, or backlogs which allows you to assess your performance against the set parameters. As Sprint is time-bound, it is important to measure it frequently. 

The most common ones include time (X-axis) and task (Y-axis). 

Sprint Burndown aims to get all forecasted work completed by the end of the sprint. 

Code coverage

This agile metric tracks the coding process and measures how much of the source code is tested. It helps in giving a good perspective on the quality of the product and reflects the raw percentage of code coverage. It is measured by a number of methods, statements, conditions, and branches that comprise your unit testing suite. 

When the code coverage is lower, it implies that the code hasn’t been thoroughly tested. It can further result in low quality and a high risk of errors.

But, the downside of this metric is that it excludes other types of testing. Hence, higher code statistics may not always imply excellent quality. 

Work in progress

This metric demonstrates how many work items you currently have ‘in progress’ in your working process. It is an important metric that helps keep the team focused and ensures a continuous work flow. Unfinished work can result in sunk costs. 

An increase in work in progress implies that the team is overcommitted and not using their time efficiently. Whereas, the decrease in work in progress states that the work is flowing through the system quickly and the team can complete tasks with few blockers. 

Moreover, limited work in progress also has a positive effect on cycle time. 


This is another agile metric that measures the number of tasks delivered per sprint. It can also be known as measuring story points per iteration. It represents the team’s productivity level. Throughput can be measured quarterly, monthly, weekly, per release, per iteration, and in many other ways. 

It allows you in checking the consistency level of the team and identify how much software can be completed within a given period. Besides this, it can also help in understanding the effect of workflow on business performance. 

But, the drawback of this metric is that it doesn’t show the starting points of tasks. 

Escape defects

This key metric reveals the quality of the products delivered and identifies the number of bugs discovered after the release enters production. Escape defects include changes, edits, and unfixed bugs. 

It is a critical metric as it helps in identifying the loopholes and technical debt in the process. Hence, improving the production process. 

Ideally, escape defects should be minimized to zero. As if the bugs are detected after release, it can result in cause immense damage to the product. 

Cumulative flow diagram

Cumulative flow diagram visualizes the team’s entire workflow. Color coding helps in showing the status of the tasks and quickly identify the obstacles in agile processes. For example, grey color represents the agile project scope, green shows completed tasks and other colored items represent the particular status of the tasks.

X-axis represents the time frame while Y-axis includes several tasks within the project. 

This key metric help find bottlenecks and address them by making adjustments and improving the workflow. 

Happiness metric

One of the most overlooked metrics is the Happiness metric. It indicates how the team feels about their work. The happiness metric evaluates the team’s satisfaction and morale through a ranking on a scale. It is usually done through direct interviews or team surveys. 

The outcome helps in knowing whether the current work environment, team culture, and tools are satisfactory. It also lets you identify areas of improvement in practices and processes. 

When the happiness metric is low yet other metrics show a positive result, it probably means that the team is burned out. It can negatively impact their morale and productivity in the long run. 


We have mentioned the optimal well-known agile metrics. But, it is up to you which metrics you choose that can be relevant for your team and the requirements of end-users. 

You can start with a single metric and add a few more. These metrics will not only help you see results tangibly but also let you take note of your team’s productivity.