December 18, 2020

Agile Metrics for Scrum Masters (Part 1): Done Increment Every Sprint

How can you evaluate your success as a Scrum Master using metrics?

Agile metrics is a complicated topic with no one-size-fits-all solution. There are many options to choose from. Where do you even start?

In this three-part series, I'd like to explore how Scrum Master accountabilities can guide you to choose metrics you can collect and track to evaluate yourself and your team.

Let's go back to the Scrum Guide (2020) to help us:

  • The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint.
  • The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide.
  • The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. 

Practically what it means is that a Scrum Master is doing a great job if:

  • The Scrum Team is delivering a done Increment every Sprint
  • Scrum is being followed with all elements, rules, values, and principles
  • The Scrum Team is high-performing and is continuously improving

This shows us the clear value of Scrum Masters and the benefits they bring to the team and the organization. And it can be quite easily translated into metrics for Scrum Masters to use to evaluate if they are still on track to reaching their goals.

In this first part on Agile metrics for Scrum Masters, I’ll talk about delivering Done increment every Sprint.


The Scrum Team is delivering a done Increment every Sprint

This is about the ability of your team to deliver working usable products of high quality.

Here are some metrics to help you measure success:

How often does your team deliver a done increment?

When I say done, I mean done-done, nothing else left to do, includes testing, documentation, verification, audit, everything. Is it every sprint? Is it every other sprint? Once every 6 months right before a release? The goal is to get to Done every single Sprint.

The frequency of getting to Done is a great metric to use. Similar metrics to look into are lead time and cycle time. In short, how long does it take for your team or organization to turn ideas or requests into usable functionality available to the customers?

What level of quality does your product have?

Definition of Done (DoD) is the first gate on your product quality. How well defined is your DoD? How strict is it? Does your team follow it properly?

Other metrics that can be helpful in defining product quality are, for example, number of defects found and resolved after delivery, number of customer service requests, alignment with industry standards.

If your team is not getting a Done high-quality increment every Sprint, it is up to you as their Scrum Master to help them find ways to get there. Most often this is related to organizational impediments that you need to tackle as the change agent for agility. This is a change of a thousand steps.

If today your team can get to Done only every 180 days, and after a few Sprints together you managed to reduce it to 178 days, then you are getting there.


Keep track of the product your team delivers and help them find ways to improve.

Stay tuned for part 2 on agile metrics for Scrum Masters where we will talk about establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide.