Throughput or Productivity?

[article]
Summary:

I’m tech-editing an article for the Agile Journal. I’m having a discussion with the author about the words “productivity” and “throughput.”

I believe that what we measure in agile teams is throughput, the number of features through the team over time. I don’t think we measure productivity, the number of features per person or per team over time.

In kanban, it’s quite clear. We measure throughput. To me, it’s clear in iterations, too. We measure throughput.

I’m tech-editing an article for the Agile Journal. I’m having a discussion with the author about the words “productivity” and “throughput.”

I believe that what we measure in agile teams is throughput, the number of features through the team over time. I don’t think we measure productivity, the number of features per person or per team over time.

In kanban, it’s quite clear. We measure throughput. To me, it’s clear in iterations, too. We measure throughput.

The author likes the word “productivity.” I don’t :-) And, the author is a smart cookie. We’re still in tech-edit, and we have more to do, and the author will win, when push comes to shove.

It’s a very subtle distinction. What do you think? Throughput or productivity? Productivity or throughput? Which one?

About the author

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” helps organizational leaders see problems and risks in their product development. She helps them recognize potential “gotchas,” seize opportunities, and remove impediments. Johanna was the Agile 2009 conference chair. She is the technical editor for Agile Connection and the author of these books:

  • Manage Your Job Search
  • Hiring Geeks That Fit
  • Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects
  • The 2008 Jolt Productivity award-winning Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management
  • Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People

Johanna is working on a book about agile program management. She writes columns for Stickyminds.com and projectmanagementcom and blogs on her website, jrothman.com, as well on createadaptablelife.com.

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