You've secured agreement and buy-in from all stakeholders. You've got people excited about giving their best and receiving your best. You're scared out of your mind because things are about to go terribly wrong! Or are they?

Steve in accounting is scared of a reduction in output resulting in fewer delivered features. Joyce, your team's Project Manager, is 100% gung ho and starting to let her excitement bleed out into drawn-out planning meetings. Bob and Trin, your star developers, are working later than ever in order to produce because of all the front-loading of requirements gathering and coaching junior developers.

Take. A. Breath.

The biggest ripples happen when you first drop the stone in the pond. Once your team starts acclimating to the new quality focus, they will stop flailing about and a new normal will take shape. Your job now, while things are crazy, is to do everything you can to allow the new normal to take place.

Do what you can to take away the fear and anxiety that large changes create. When there is the smallest bit of improvement, praise it like you're a televangelist. Here's the secret: Quality is not Perfection, quality is not trade between happiness and feature delivery, and quality can be measured.

These are my Top 5 things you should be looking at to measure Quality on your team. If one doesn't apply to your specific team, that's okay, take what works for you.

  1. PTO Utilization
    What does PTO have to do with delivering Quality? Paid Time Off Utilization is a measurement of how comfortable your team members are taking time off and how confident they are things will not go wrong at work. PTO Utilization should increase over time and plateau at some point, usually above 50%. Your team may use more or less, but they should use more than they currently are.
  2. Moving Average of Bug Tickets Filed per Development Ticket
    How many bug tickets are created for every development ticket? Average them over a period of time then move that window and look at the trend. The trend line should be descending and level off below 20%. If your number is a little lower or higher, that's okay. Your product and your team are not the same as everyone else's team.
  3. Moving Average of Overtime Worked per Ticket
    How often does your development team need to work longer hours to complete work? How does this change over time? This number will probably spike in the beginning but will decrease over time and approach zero. If your team likes to work overtime, this number may be a little higher.
  4. Moving Average of Hours of Meetings Per Ticket
    How much time is spent talking about each ticket? How does that change over time? When combined with Moving Average of Bug Tickets Filed per Development Ticket, you can see how effective meetings are for feature and bug development work. This number should equalize over time and can then be used as a benchmark for how well requirements are written and understood.
  5. Moving Average of Time to Delivery
    How long does it take to deliver a ticket? If your tickets are sized, you can use this metric to your advantage. Once you determine how long it takes to deliver on average, you can easily use this to push back on other stakeholders that want to rush too many tickets on your team.

Thank you

This Top 5 mostly features Quality of Life metrics. Life is short enough to be stressed out at work. Making your team's work-life as fulfilling and stress-free as possible will go a long way towards delivering the highest quality thing you can.

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