Monitoring Team Progress in Agile NBA
Monitoring and measuring team progress is one of the cornerstones of the inspection, adaption, self-organization and synergy pillars. This section outlines the Agile Basketball process for monitoring team progress.
Monitoring Progress towards Team Goals
At any point in the season, the team’s actual performance can be compared to their projected performance to determine how the team is progressing towards their goal. The analyst tracks this progress at least every Sprint Review Meeting. The Lead using burndown charts. The outstanding key metrics to achieve (or backlog) is often on the vertical axis, with time along the horizontal
The analyst compares Player Planned Value and Team Planned Value to the actual value they delivered in order to assess progress toward achieving their goal. This information is transparent to the team.
Trending methods and tools can be used to forecast progress. But the best results are yielded from strategies based on known outcomes, and understanding what is necessary for the team to win games. In long seasons where countless variables exist only known outcomes may be used for predicting Sprint performance and fine tuning metric value. These known outcomes are the foundation that shape the analysts metric value system.
Monitoring Sprint Progress
During Sprints, team and player performance, player IQ and value can be compared to their projected performance in the Sprint Strategy. The lead analyst tracks performance and players assess their actual value every Post-Game Meeting to project the chances of achieving their Sprint Goals. By tracking performance throughout the Sprint, the team can manage their progress and make adjustments to ensure that they are on track and deliver the value necessary to win games and contribute to the team goal.
Defining ‘Success’ in Agile NBA
When a Sprint Performance Dashboard metric or goal is described as “successful”, there must be a consensus on what success means. Everyone in the program must buy into that shared definition of success, in order to ensure transparency. This definition of success is used to assess Sprint Goals and validate that the team is on pace to reach its overall goal.
The same definition guides the team in knowing which Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics it can commit to during Sprint Planning Sessions. The ultimate goal of each Sprint is to deliver wins and performance results that can be defined as successful.
Players produce performance goals for each Sprint. Each Five Game Increment is added to previous Increments during that season, and thoroughly assessed and reviewed (during Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives), ensuring a successful season once completed.
As teams mature, their definition of success will become clearer and will include more strict criteria for better results. Every season should have a definition of success that is a standard for how the team is expected to perform.
Estimating Player “Value” toward Team Goals
When an analyst sets the key objectives of a sprint, they prioritize the performance metrics (in the Sprint Performance Dashboard), assess the complexity of each metric based on the schedule and individual matchups within the Sprint, and assigns a value to them. Value for performance metrics vary from Sprint to Sprint and player to player based on the competition of the schedule and what the team needs him to do.
This assesses the feasibility of each metric and forces players to challenge themselves in other areas when goals related to their strengths and skillsets are difficult to accomplish (for example, the chances of winning the matchup of scoring or rebounding against a guard like Russell Westbrook is low, therefore the guard in that matchup is forced to find other performance metrics they will win in that matchup, thus creating value).
It’s very important that the entire team share a clearly defined and common understanding of the value point system. It offers a method of tracking progress and player contribution toward the overall team goal. The value system takes time and adjusting before it can become a precise system.
The value point system encourages players to take on greater responsibility and accountability for identifying solutions for how they can add value and contribute to the team goal. When players set these goals for themselves, subconsciously their play on the court is translated to reflect them.
Players subconsciously remember that they need to focus on their help defense, crashing the boards, or making the extra pass, or closing out faster. This subconscious connection to each player and their individual performance targets as they relate to the overall team objective is what creates synergy, selflessness and ultimately translates into wins.
Tracking Velocity Using Agile Basketball Framework
At the end of each Sprint, the team looks at the performance goals reached and adds up the number of value points associated with those achieved metrics. The total number of value points gained is the team’s velocity, or production on the court, for that Sprint. After the first few Sprints, the analyst will start to see a trend and will be able to calculate the average velocity.
The value point system will allow players to track their progress with a single number, and it encourages them to aim for more key metrics in an effort to accumulate value points in the Sprint and gain velocity. Players see their value based on points accumulated by hitting performance targets rather than scoring points.
The average velocity is the total number of value points gained, divided by the total number of Sprints completed. For example, if the team’s velocity was…
- Sprint 1 = 120 value points
- Sprint 2 = 125 value points
- Sprint 3 = 170 value points
- Sprint 4 = 135 value points
….the total number of value points gained through the first four Sprints is 550. The average velocity is 137.50. After the team has run a few Sprints team analysts can determine velocity and start forecasting the team’s progress toward their goals (beyond wins and losses). The objective is to use velocity to make sure the team is constantly improving, adding skills and attributes that add value and ultimately translate to wins.