Organizational Metrics

 The Metrics and Reporting View looks at the various feedback cycles, metrics and reports in Holistic Software Development.

 Organizational Metrics look at the organization as a whole rather than teams or pieces of work. They try to measure the health, shape and happiness of the organization. Top-level Business Value indicators and financial information can also be tracked organizationally.

Metric: Organizational Health

Organizational Health is difficult to measure, as it is dependent on the definition of health for each particular organization. We recommend tracking the trends of top-level Bubble-Up issues, both positive and negative to provide an indicator of what’s important across the organizing. Changes in the trends of positive to negative items can indicate the current mood of the organization.
We also recommend asking the organization at large what the top 10 issues are periodically. These top 10 community sourced issues should be reported, transparently, as part of the Executive Dashboard.
Other indicators for organizational health include:
  • Progress against Strategic Goals
  • Recruitment vs. Attrition trends
    • Are the numbers of leavers going up? What are the reasons for people leaving?
  • Independent Holistic Assessment
    • An independent analysis of organizational processes, metrics and leadership can give useful insights that may not be clear to those living in the organization day to day
  • Top level aggregations of workflow metrics, especially Lead and Cycle Time, Work Item Type Distribution and Quality Confidence.

Metric: Organizational Happiness

Happy people are productive people. We think Organizational Happiness is the most important organizational metric.

Based on the work of Professor Martin Seligman, active in the scientific community as a promoter of the field of “positive psychology”, we measure organizational happiness based on the PERMA model. Each of the five parts of the PERMA model are core elements of psychological well-being and happiness.

Positive Emotions: Perhaps the most obvious, but positive emotions are more than just smiling. Focusing on optimism and a positive view of the future we can measure if people are feeling good about the present and the future.

Engagement: Indicates how involved we are with our work, colleagues and the organization. We look at how connected people feel to these elements, and whether they consider their input as being valued.

Relationships: Humans are social creatures and so meaningful positive relationships are critical to our happiness. For collaborative work, authentic relationships are the foundation of honesty and communication.

Meaning: Having a purpose, and agreeing with that purpose is a critical component of Motivation. Understanding the reason for the work we need to do, and how what we do contributes to Strategic Goals makes us happier.

Accomplishments: Achieving goals makes people happier. Setting achievable, and meaningful, goals creates a sense of satisfaction.

We recommend running a periodic organization survey asking questions aligned to the PERMA elements. We typically ask 5 questions per element, and then create a Happiness Index for teams, departments and the entire organization.

Tracking how happiness changes over time, and in response to changes helps improve the overall happiness.

Metric: Workforce Shape

Workforce Shape is a top level measurement that shows the target and actual counts of managers vs. producers in an organization in one dimension and the number of contractors vs. full-time staff on the other axis.

There should be more producers than managers in an organization, keeping an eye on the ratio between them and ensuring it’s healthy can stop resource creep in middle management. Similarly, large organizations tend to have a significant contractor workforce which is flexed over time depending on current needs. Making sure that the balance is right between staff and contractors is part of workforce management.

The Workforce Shape on the right is only for explanation of the measure – it does not indicate a recommended workforce shape! The graph shows a target workforce shape (green) with a roughly equal contractor/staff workforce with a roughly 1:3 ratio between managers and producers. The ratio of managers to producers is normally around 1:10 or less, the split between contractors and permanent staff is dependent on the business in question.

The actual workforce shape is indicated by the blue overlay – this shows that there is a roughly equal split between managers and producers (likely to be highly dysfunctional) which is below the target ratio. The actual workforce also has slightly too many contractors and not enough staff – although this can often be caused by resource pipeline difficulties, in this example, the ratio is currently below target.

Ideal resource levels are described in the Governance view.

Workforce shape can be measured at team, project, programme and portfolio level.