Top 9 Software Development Metrics For Measuring Productivity And Products Quality

10 May 2019 • 8 min read
Top 9 Software Development Metrics For Measuring Productivity And Products Quality
Andrii Horiachko
Written by Andrii Horiachko
Co-Founder and CTO at Softermii

The effectiveness of your software development teamwork is a critical point for any product development and business growth entirely. Thus, it’s vital to use the right software productivity metrics and measurements to estimate the results of the dev team and figure out ways to improve the work process. However, often when the topic of measuring software productivity comes up, many companies back off. This is due to several reasons.

Some do not see the need, because they "believe" that their software productivity is just top notch. Some others would wish to measure their productivity, but they hardly know how to go about it. In most cases, businesses recognize the measurement of software productivity, and they do it as a matter of obligation. However, there's more to measuring software development and productivity than routines. One must also look into the benefits of such measurement and the things to really measure. Let’s look at the statistics on what software development metrics companies use the most frequently, and then walk through why and how to measure software productivity:



Why use Software Development Productivity Metrics & Measurements

It’s a popular saying that when the use of a thing is unknown, its abuse is inevitable, so for starters, we'll look at why it's important to measure software productivity. Generally, software productivity measurement is used by IT companies or companies that have or are going to hire a dev team where software plays a pivotal part in their productivity. It is the norm that every company sets development goals per time. Tucked somewhere within these goals is the hope that the least value of time and cost will be employed, yet achieving maximum productivity, or an improvement on the quality of products. Bringing it back to context, software developing companies seeking to make their software development process better, with less input and more output. To attain this dream, there's the part where you have to consciously and effectively track the progress towards such a goal, and here is exactly where tracking software metrics and KPIs come in.

The reasons why software metrics and KPIs are monitored and analyzed are:

  • To know what the quality of the software product at hand is.
  • To use them as a good medium to ensure that you have really hit the nail on the head
  • To use them for diagnostic function, as they are perfect tools for detecting hindrances to software productivity and development
  • To use them helping to achieve communication goals and targets, seeing that metrics break productivity goals into simple, feasible and accurate action plans. With metrics, the team gets to work on the same page, at the same pace and running with the same vision
  • To get the opportunity to weigh your decisions before making them, knowing how to prioritize each software process

In other words, software development measurement helps you to work smart,  because it helps you to differentiate the things that are routine in your software process from the ones that are important . You not only create a scale of preference but also determine the urgent but unimportant apart from the important but not urgent. Still, on to-do lists, software productivity measurement highlights the very things to prevent so that it does not cost you more in the future when trying to fix them.

The good metric should act as a loadstar, to practically guide your business from its location to your preferred destination for it. This means with KPI, you can chronicle the growth phases and stages of your business. With metrics, you can always reproduce your results, because you didn't stumble on such achievement by guesswork or gut feeling, but by deliberate steps that software productivity measurement helped you to activate.

Failing to invest in compiling accurate business data, beyond the usual financial statements and reports, means business owners will continue to rely on “gut feelings” and assumptions when it comes to making decisions.


What are Software Development Productivity and Quality Measurement

To ensure that we are on the same page, let's define software measurement and software productivity. In basic parlance, software productivity is defined as the proportion of the functional value of the software product to the efforts and cost of producing it.

This explanation makes room for the benefit of the customer from that software to influence the measurement of such software productivity. This method of measuring productivity based on the value of results to the software consumer, which is more realistic than basing results on lines of code. Software measurement has been defined by different scholars in their works on software. However, a simplified combination of their perspectives on software development eventually comes to this. Software development measurement is not something that is confined to one stage or aspect of software development, but it runs through the entire cycle and engages all aspects of software development. In fact, it is almost the lifeblood of software development processes.

Considering the rich eulogy of software development, it is only logical to he curious about what to measure and how to go about such measurements.


What to measure with Software Development Productivity & Quality Metrics

It Is fundamental to understand that in every kind of measurement, there are units that are suitable for it. The case on software development is not any different, so for measuring software measurement, Software metrics are involved. Though metrics is a term that appears in almost every business that indulges in the rather helpful habit of evaluation, software metrics, in particular, involves software productivity and guides all the project management process.

In this kind of journey, metrics serve as the tour guide that determines if you're on the right path towards your software development goal and also recommends what kind of methods and means are suitable for your software development in particular. As earlier said, the product of studies and research of different scholars like (Baumert and McWhinney, 1992; Hammer et al., 1998; Loconsole, 2001; Paulk et al., 1993). Among others have produced a different classification of metrics, but they all seem to agree on a couple of things. Mind you, Software metrics are categorized differently but some metrics may fall under more than one category



Methods of Measuring & Types Of Metrics For Software Development

Agreed that you know what software productivity and measurement are, as well as software metrics, you should know the very metrics that fit your software productivity.

Here are the most popular methods of measuring quality:


1. Agile Metrics

Agile metrics are used to find out ways to enhance the process of software development. Usually, lead time, cycle time, team velocity, open and close rates are taken into account.

  • Lead time: this measures the time used by a team to come up with innovations, flesh them up and pop out a software product. In plain terms, it’s the time from beginning to end that is required to perfect a product or a utility. Cutting down this length of time help to enhance the quick and positive response of teams to their customers and positively team members are to their custom time:
  • Cycle time: this is a fraction out of time that is required to transition an idea into a software product.


2. Active Quality Metrics

Under this, we have velocity, a key metric in software development measurement.

  • Velocity: is used to program sprints and examines a team’s output. The aim of velocity metric is to measure the time consumed for finishing a certain number of units and to orchestrate subsequent projects in terms of the speed that past projects were done. Velocity measures the number of things done with a sprint. Velocity furnishes teams with a prospect of how much can be achieved in the anticipated sprint.



3. Classification of software measurement

This type of metrics assesses the scope of assignments done and measures the productivity of software development teams. Typically, it estimates the operation speed and has the following quantifiers:

  • Active days - the time required by a programmer to develop a product, excluding time for preparation and other things. Active days aid determination of hidden costs.
  • Tasks scope - this is a collection of codes that a programmer may deliver annually. This measurement shows how much developers are required to create a software development team.
  • Productivity - a collection of codes that is competently produced by a developer.
  • Code churn - a range of code lines produced, switched or thrashed. The time frame between faults and rectifications- a fault is one that any software development cannot escape, hence the importance of assessing a feasible time between such failures and corrections.


4. Security Responses Metric

This should be assessed irrespective of how watertight a software is. Every software may be at risk of different hazards in different parts of the product face different dangers on various devices, that’s why the metrics are used to find out how much time is required to detect a problem and ameliorate it.


5. Size-oriented Metric

Size-oriented metrics are used to assess the kind of software using KLOC quantifier. Which is a KLOC is an abbreviation for kilo (1000) lines of code that are useful for determining the number of bugs, errors, and costs in every 1000 lines.


6. Function-oriented Metrics

This is a very important mode of measuring software development. It is a metric that reveals the intensity of functionality a product offers. This system examines user inputs, error reports, and messages, user inquiries, etc.


7. QA Metrics

QA and testing are the pivotal aspects of any development process. There are different types of metrics used in software testing to ensure the high product quality and get insights into your team productivity. The QA and testing productivity metrics include test cases that enjoy execution and test cases they are merely written. Metrics that are arrived at by calculation are normally carried out by a QA Lead and are useful for determining the progress of the project. The reports of calculated metrics can help improve the whole software development lifecycle (SDLC). Have a look at our visual guide on project metrics in software testing during all SDLC.



8. Customer Satisfaction In Software Development Services

This another metric calculates the extent of customer’s satisfaction with the software product that is quite different extreme feedbacks like totally satisfied and totally dissatisfied. The information about the product's standard of excellence under this metric is gotten from feedback mechanisms that should also involve surveying of clients impressions and whatever information accrued should be used in the metrics.


9. KPIs In Software Development

Talking of key performance indicators (KPIs) they are also forms of metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs.



Leaning on this line of thought, Key Performance Indicators , are Indicators that are in direct connection with your company's cogent goals and measure how close your performance has brought you to those goals. A relatable analogy is this. While metrics could be likened to basic medical checkup that diagnoses your software product of obesity or diabetes, KPIs are like the measurement of calories or sugar contents that you have burnt, and still, need to burn in order to correct your obese or diabetic condition. Therefore with this simple yet accurate explanation, you should be able to detect where among the metrics above, your KPIs are hidden.

We understand that you worry that you may not measure your software productivity excellently becàuse it can be a little technical, worry not because we've got you covered. Thanks to our Softermii team your software development and productivity measurement can be handled in accordance with the above metrics.

Even if you need to develop or review the software development process in your existing project or in your team then our project management consulting services are right for you.

In all, measuring software development and productivity is a healthy process for your software business. Remember that knowing where you are headed is not enough to get you there. You need to know your location, and appropriate modes of navigation to arrive at your destination.

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