Software Development Metrics Used To Improve And Measure Productivity

Do you have an incredible software idea? Well, each one of us is found wrecking their brains of creating intimidating software but where the things might go wrong is that they are unable to put it into practice. After all, not every business is a techie having the required skills to do it. So what happens is, they try to drift away from their business by using those old-school techniques. One should never do that! Try and apply some of the new software methods of this company, it’ll certainly make you stand out in the digital industry. The following post focuses on the best software development metrics considered by reliable software development services providers around.

Before we proceed any further, it is very crucial to know why it is crucial to understand software development metrics. Well, it can easily reveal how an application is performing and how effective the development team is in its work.

1. Introducing Software Development Metrics

As the name implies, software metrics is all about measuring the characteristics of software. Today more and more development companies are found relying on these KPIs to analyse not just the quality of the software but how the software development team is progressing or lagging behind. 

As the matter of fact, all software-quality metrics are useful, worthy but none of them matters intrinsically. Are you Confused? Well, let’s take an example of a user who hates your software. Eventually it’s his business that will lose money. You see, consistently producing quality software has little to do with the traditional source-code metrics and more to do with your development process and production environment. And it has everything to do with the value you deliver.

Therefore before picking up the right metrics, it is crucial for one to think considerably and support specific business goals.

1.1 Types of Software Development Metrics

Before we delve into the types, let us understand where can these software metrics classified into:- 

Product Metrics – Those metrics which successfully measure various characteristics such as size and complexity or quality and reliability of the software product are product metrics.

Process Metrics – As the name implies, these software metrics tend to measure the process. For example, the efficiency of fault detection. All the characteristics of methods, techniques, and tools that are used for software engineering are measured here. So that all services provided by the software development company turn out to be accurate.

  • Internal metrics – Mainly used for measuring properties that are viewed to be of greater importance to a software developer. For example, Lines of Code (LOC) measure.
  • External Metrics – This kind of metrics are used for measuring properties that are viewed to be of greater importance to the user, e.g., portability, reliability, functionality, usability, etc.
  • Hybrid Metrics – Hybrid metrics are the metrics that combine product, development process, and resource metrics. For example, cost per FP where FP stands for Function Point Metric.
  • Project Metrics – Project metrics are the software development metrics used by the project manager to check the project’s progress. Here data from the past projects are collected such as time, cost and used as a base of new software. By doing this, the project quality can be improved, I mean you will be able to ace when it comes to shipping quality software features and functionalities. Also, the number of errors and time and cost can be reduced.

1.2 How Can They Enhance Your Business Value? Benefits and Advantages

Tracking software quality metrics assist the management to improve the efficiency of their software development procedure.  The other benefits of software metrics are as follows:-

  • Metrics provide objective information throughout the software organization. This reduces the ambiguity that often surrounds complex and constrained software projects.
  • Development teams can prepare software quality specifications by using software metrics.
  • Software Project Managers can use metrics as a resource to anticipate problems and to avoid being forced into a reactive, fix \on fail approach.
  • With the aid of software metrics, the overall efficiency of the team is augmented by prioritising various problems and resolving them. The management can reap the benefits of identifying the problems sooner, which will help them to truncate their expenses.
  • Project software development metrics successfully facilitates a proactive management strategy. Potential problems are objectively identified as risks to be assessed and managed. All problems including the existing ones can be evaluated and prioritized. 
  • Software development metrics help the decision-maker to assess the impacts of decisions objectively and make informed trade-offs to best meet project objectives and to optimize software project and product performance.

Not all metrics matter for all software development projects. What matters the most is the success metrics. And for that, it is advisable to use several specific and objective measurements, in combination, to answer real business questions. The goal is to determine what value—e.g., a set of values, competitive benefits, game-changers for your customers, etc.—you want to deliver. Then you use several strong measurements to test your “value hypothesis.”

2. Ask Your Development Team to Consider these Software Metrics

Down below we would like to mention certain high-end software development metrics to keep in mind. The joy of using these automated tools is that they not just enhance productivity but also provide great assistance when it comes to tracking and measuring quality metrics

2.1 Team Velocity

Team Velocity is such a software development metric that measures numerous story points, quantifying the number and size of product features, completed by the team in the previous sprints. Team’s Velocity helps to understand how much value the team is providing to customers in a given time period.

For instance, if the team completes 15 or 20 story points in even the last three sprints. As a result, the average velocity is 16. However, the velocity is not a measure of success, since the metric is based on non-objective estimates. This number should only be used to plan iterations.

2.2 Throughput

Throughput is one of the leading agile metrics and is useful to track the exact number of tasks accomplished during a sprint. In other words, it measures the total value-added work output of the team in a given time period. It is crucial to align the results of this metric with the business goals as it shows the real-time performance of the team. Measuring Throughput metric assists in:

  • Detecting whenever the team is blocked
  • Learning if the team is overloaded. This can be done by comparing the average throughput with the current workload.

2.3 Sprint Burndown

Another astounding set of developer productivity metrics includes Sprint Burndown. It does not just automated tests but report or communicates the complexion of work throughout the sprint based on story points. The goal of the team is to consistently deliver all work, according to the forecast.

So what happens when we chose such kinds of productivity metrics.

  • Early sprint can signify a lack of scheduled work for one sprint
  • In case if sprint deadlines are being constantly missed, on the contrary, can indicate a gap in your planning and the fact that your team is asked to deliver too much work.
  • Your report should feature a steep reduction in “remaining values”, rather than a dramatic drop as the latter will indicate that the work was not assigned in granular pieces.

2.4 Cycle Time

Another popular software development ultimate metric is cycle time. This one is extremely popular often used to record the total amount of time from the very moment when the work is started on a specific domain until its completion.

The ultimate objective of using this metric is to estimate at which rate you are able to provide new features to your customers. You can also compare speed for different tasks using this metric and gradually improve upon them. Besides, Cyber Time offers an innovative solution to find out the weak points of your team, which are affecting the overall performance. As a result, you can fix these aspects and offer a faster solution to your customers and reach the level of their expectations.

2.5 Net Promoter Score: Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is another popular metric to measure customer satisfaction. So what could be the score, it might be somewhere between -100 to +100.

In case, if you get the lowest score that is -100, it means that none of your customers are referring to you in its circle. Whereas the highest total, +100 represents all of your customers who are willing to refer you to others.

For example,  you get as many as 100 responses in the Net Promoter Score survey with 20 responses are between 0-6 brackets, 20 responses are between 7-8 brackets, and the rest of the 60 responses are in the bracket of 9-10.

2.6 MTBF/MTTR – Mean Time To Repair

MTTR is one of the best performance metrics that has the potential to repair. Now every software has a chance of mistake or bug, and it is your responsibility to provide a solution for them.

In an ideal condition, you are expected to offer a quick fix solution, as more often than not, the software is in its production stage. MTTR is also used to determine the Software Testing Trends of the modern era.

The mean time to repair (MTTR) metric measures the time period you are taking in order to deploy the fixes for the software. The lesser time you take, the better result you expect in the long run.

For example, if you have spent a total of 100 hours on unplanned maintenance and during that 10 times failure has occurred, then MTTR would be 10 for this particular case.

2.7 Bug Rates

This is a metric mainly used to track the number of bugs generated as new features are deployed. A developer team may release a product or an update quickly, but it is good-for-nothing if the code is bug-ridden.

Bug Rates Metric is one such name that assists you in determining whether a product is of value or not. Now bugs can severity of the bug, the number of bugs. A team can record the number of bugs shipped during each sprint and set a limit for acceptable bugs. Also, the severity of bugs should not be in the range of Medium to High.

2.8 Cumulative Flow: Tracking The State Of Various Tasks

This software development metric primarily focuses on software tasks. All this is done by employing a visual diagram. 

The diagram comprises of different colours representing a variety of stages such as ‘Approved’. ‘In Progress’, ‘Backlog’, and more. Technically speaking all these colours are arranged in bands with the width of the band correlating to cycle time.

In a nutshell, choosing cumulative flow as your software development metric can successfully stabilize your workflow or identify bottlenecks in a short span of time.  

2.9 Code Coverage

Often software development teams tend to choose Code Coverage especially when it comes to measuring code quality.  Now, this is one such aspect that seems extremely critical for software development life cycles resulting in continuous delivery and test-driven development.

Code Coverage often known as code coverage is such a metric that determines how much of your source code executes when it is being tested. I am sure you must have observed that sometimes the code doesn’t execute well as expected due to undetected bugs.

Aiming for 100% code coverage is something developers shouldn’t be aiming for. But it’s like the higher the better as you don’t require to put much effort into debugging.

2.10 McCabe Cyclomatic Complexity: Indicating Complexity Of Code

As the name implies, this metric does indicate code complexity, especially during code testing and maintenance. Unlike the above-mentioned software development metric, the higher the code’s complexity the more difficult it becomes. All you have to do is ensure that it has an acceptable number of bugs and works well.

Fortunately, you may come across a plethora of  MCC measurement tools on the market that can be combined with other code complexity metrics such as the depth of code hierarchy and the number of code lines.

3. Key Takeaways

So that’s all for now! By choosing the right development metrics, you can avail yourself benefits like:-

  • Increase return on investments
  • Pinpoints opportunities for improvement
  • Manage workloads
  • Reduce Overtime
  • Reduce cost

We hope you enjoyed reading the post!

Itesh Sharma

Itesh Sharma is core member of Sales Department at TatvaSoft. He has got more than 6 years of experience in handling the task related to Customer Management and Project Management. Apart from his profession he also has keen interest in sharing the insight on different methodologies of software development.


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