2023 Agility Insights

Explore key insights from the 2023 Agility Report on agile meeting practices, highlighting trends in Daily Standups, Planning Poker, and Retrospectives amidst organizational shifts and the rise of generative AI. Discover how teams adapt to maintain alignment, efficiency, and team dynamics in a changing landscape.

Mar 4, 2024 · 10 min read

Blog - Agility Insights, 2023: Hero

In this post, we explore insights for teams performing agile meetings in 2023. We use the 2023 Agility Report based on anonymized usage data from Team O'clock agile meetings in the year.

2023 has been a year of breaking changes in team and company operations. In that year we witnessed some big layoffs and company restructures, we also adapted to the new player in the field, generative AI.

There are visible hints of shifting team behavior in the following insights. So let's start.

Agility posture insights

Three donut charts showing the percentage of time spent on each agile meeting: 14,6% in Retrospectives, 43,6% in Daily Standups, and 41.8% in Planning Poker

Agility posture measures the time teams spent on the three agile meetings, Retrospective, Daily Standup, and Planning Poker. How teams spend their time in agile meetings offers hints on what is considered a team priority.

  • Team DNA is strong on Daily Standups and Planning Poker sessions. Teams equally perform Daily Standups and Estimation sessions, while they perform one Retrospective meeting for every 3.4 sessions of the other agile meetings.

  • A bit bigger need for team alignment than in 2022. There is a noticeable increase of almost 1% in time spent on Planning Poker estimations with an equal decrease in Daily Standup and Retrospectives.

Overall, the agility posture is at the same level as in 2022, meaning that teams are starting to understand agility practices. The behavior noticed in both years has some signs of stability.

Company Agility posture bars for planning poker staying high, Daily standup having some usage, and a few retrospectives. This represents the

Read more about agility posture here.

Agile meeting insights

Let's now turn our attention to each meeting type metrics and insights.

Retrospective meeting insights

A retrospective meeting assists the team's growth and alignment on the most important topics and areas for improvement. The frequency of a team retrospective alongside action on decided areas to improve drives a team's growth. Let's see how teams performed in 2023:

  • A team performs one Retrospective per month. Although this is a big drop from last year's 2 retrospectives a month teams still want to talk openly and identify areas for improvement frequently.

  • Action item creation and action item resolution are a team priority. There is a drop in action items created and resolved per month that aligns with 1 retrospective per month. Essentially, teams keep resolving approximately 3 action items per Retrospective session, while creating 3 new action items to improve on.

  • Teams spend more in a Retrospective session than in 2022. Overall time in a Retrospective has doubled since 2022. Also, the time that people have to share their notes has doubled. Additionally, time in discussion and action items is increased by 40% in 2023 compared to 2022!

Two set of bar charts comparing Retrospective duration between 2022 and 2023 for Synchronous and Asynchronous Retrospectives. In both cases, Retrospective time is increased in 2023. Time spend adding notes in each year has increased too..

Overall, teams are more deliberate in performing a meaningful Retrospective where members spend the time needed to share their notes and discuss possible action items. The frequency and time spent to retrospect tell a story of a team that is optimizing towards efficiency on working time allocation, leaving the needed space for team growth and improvements.

Daily standup insights

The Daily Standup is a fast-paced meeting where each team member briefly shares progress, status, and any impediments that the rest of the team can help with. The Daily Standup meeting helps with team alignment and focus on daily work tasks.

2023 standup metrics showing 15 standups per month on a team of 7,4 members. 56% of the Daily standups are performed synchronously, while the rest 44% are done asynchronously for remote teams

A quick glimpse of the 2023 Daily Standup metrics

Insights for teams performing Daily Standup in 2023 are:

  • Teams stay focused and synced by performing Daily Standups frequently. Based on the metrics, teams perform a Daily Standup meeting every other day. The specific behavior is almost identical to the 2022 metrics. Essentially, teams build a good habit of performing Daily Standups and stick to it.

  • Teams that perform Daily Standup are between 7 and 8 people. This number is the same as we noticed in the 2022 Agility report.

  • Teams favor synchronous standup sessions over asynchronous standup for remote teams. There was an increase of 1% for synchronous Daily Standups compared to 2022.

  • On average one team member monopolizes the synchronous Daily standup! With a 10-minute duration for the meeting and an average speaking time per member of 5 minutes in a team of 7, we get that 1 team member speaks for almost 7 to 8 minutes while the rest conclude fast their updates.

  • Daily Standup for remote teams has an increased duration of +2 hours compared to 2022, leading to 14 hours. Essentially, remote team members have more time to share their notes. The 14-hour window for the meeting means that team distribution around the globe has increased, including even more remote places than in 2022! Teams are going global 💪!

  • Daily Standups through a work chat app is the major way remote teams sync! 2023 saw a dramatic boost in interest in syncing through team chat channels by 20% compared to 2022! Remote teams are optimizing to take action directly where they communicate - their team channel - leading to more effectiveness.

Graphs showing 56% Synchronous, 44% asynchronous standup. The 19% of async happening in standup-specifc app, and the rest 25% of async happening in work chat app

Overall 2023 was stable for Daily Standup. The most dramatic changes include a better adoption of work chat apps like Slack and MS Teams for performing Daily Standups, and a big change in how much time team members talk during a synchronous session over a call.

Planning poker insights

Planning poker session or Estimation session, allow teams to refine upcoming work. By sharing all knowledge and asking question on each task, the team aligns over the work effort for that task.

2023 Planning Poker metrics: 50% vote alignment big drop since 2022, 6.7 average voted effort per task, 4.3 tasks voted per session.

Metrics for 2023 highlight a big drop in vote alignment between team members from 63% in 2022 to 50% in 2023. Vote alignment is based on the fluctuation of individual votes on a task. Vote alignment of 100% means that all team members estimated the same value for the ticket, while a vote alignment of 50% indicates that votes deviated a lot, with one member voting a task as small effort while the other as an enormous effort to build.

The remaining metrics stayed almost the same for 2022 and 2023, with:

  • Average voted effort per task staying big at 6,7 in the Fibonacci scale. A task estimated of big effort means that the team will need to break it down to smaller parts in order to manage it correctly.

  • Around 4 tasks estimated per Planning Poker session. Teams spending time to estimate a few tasks means that members examine thorough the tasks at hands, sharing valuable information.

Overall, the decrease in vote alignment stands out for 2023. This decrease in vote alignment can be translated in two ways:

  • Teams are diverse in terms of skillset, so vote fluctuation has to do with each member's skills seniority.

  • The task at hand needs more definition and discussion, as team members use assumptions to fill missing gaps and cast their vote. Those members that assumed more things to be readily available - in the code, or in the system - cast lower value votes, while members that assumed less things being readily available cast higher values.

To counter these cases, teams should have reminders of previous votes and a set of questions to clarify each task.

A task for voting showing the task title, helping questions to get ready for estimation, the list of members that can vote, the planning poker cards, action buttons to show results and focus team on task, and a list of tasks with similar votes

Additional agility metrics

In 2023, Team O'clock introduced a few more metrics and ways to measure team agility and performance. Using data from these features we can make some more tool-agnostic remarks on agility.

In the following two sections, let's see Agility Metrics and Agility Cards insights.

Agility Metrics

Graph for Agility Index in 2023 month over month and a yearly Agility Index of 66.58%. Agility index stays above 60% throughout the year.

2023 Agility index in internal tool

Agility Metrics were introduced in November 2022 as a way to measure a company's performance over agile meetings. With anonymized data we highlight agility trends for all teams.

For 2023, as expected, the measurements follow the insights mentioned above for each of the three agile meetings. The insights from agility measurements are:

  • A decrease in team Growth after August 2023. Team growth started at 79% in January with a big drop to 64% in February that signify a rough start of the year as teams quickly switched mode towards efficiency with the first wave of layoffs signalling the change. After February teams interest for growth was more or less the same until August. Since September, we see a change in behaviour with further drop, ending at 48% in December.

  • Team Happiness levels stay high in 2023 even growing by 3% to 67%, despite the above behaviour regarding Growth and Alignment.

  • Team alignment has risen by 10% January to December 2023! This shift in behaviour further supports the turn towards team performance and efficiency.

  • The Agility Index that takes into account all metrics has dropped by 2% since previous year to 62.2%. Agility index is accounting for all the team metrics.

Agility Cards

Agility Cards is a gamification method to engage more with teams performing agile meetings. Agility Cards were introduced in September 2023. Gaining a card relates to completing efficiently agile meetings.

Based on the period of 4 months that Agility Cards are live, from September to December 2023, we gain some limited insights on team habits and engagement:

  • Planning poker weekly vote alignment is the most acquired card by the most teams. Essentially this is an indicator of a shifting behaviour that Agility Cards supported since September. Despite the fact that overall metrics around vote alignment for the year show a decrease in alignment, the last months of 2023 that trend seems to change.

  • Planning poker session participation by the whole team is high! The relevant card rewards high participation rates by team members, where more than 60% of the team has participated in the estimation session.

The estimation presence card interface saying that

Closing notes: Agility report 2023 insights

The 2023 Agility Report reveals key insights into agile meeting practices, highlighting shifts in team behaviors amidst organizational changes and the introduction of generative AI. Let's see the key insights:

  • There's a stable trend in agile practices, with 2023 mirroring 2022's posture, indicating a solid understanding of agile practices among teams.

  • Teams prioritize Daily Standups and Planning Poker equally, with a notable increase in Planning Poker sessions for better alignment.

  • Retrospective meetings have become more focused and less frequent, with teams dedicating more time to meaningful discussions and action items.

  • Daily Standup meetings are consistently held, with an increase in synchronous sessions and a significant adoption of work chat apps for remote synchronization.

  • Planning Poker sessions revealed a decrease in vote alignment, suggesting a diversity in skillsets and a need for clearer task definitions.

  • Introduction of Agility Cards indicate a positive shift towards better vote alignment and higher session participation towards the end of 2023.

A summary card for 2023 agility posture saying: Stable commitment to scrum meetings, Team focus on Daily Standup and Estimation , Efficiency and alignment are at the center, Gamification to assist good practices

Mike Giannakopoulos

Author: Mike Giannakopoulos

Mike is an active Senior Product Manager, working on front-end development, design, and experience of Team O'clock.

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