Performance Measures in Software Development

Performance Measures in Software Development

As you already know the software development process is really complex. Because of that it is likely that dozens of mistakes might occur during the process of bringing an idea to life connected with business value. To prevent any possible losses, there are many  performance measures to help you track how effective and efficient is your team and where there’s room for improvement.  Usually, there are a few different measures, because just one might not be enough to do the job properly. According to codingsans.com, up to 70% of the top performing teams use some kind of metrics. So if you want your team to be a good one – you should definitely track your team’s performance if you’re a Project Manager or some kind of team leader. If you’re a client – ask if your team’s performance is being measured. It is a great indicator whether your team is a good one!

Why Are Performance Measures Important?

Without any measures it would be hard to tell whether a task or a group of tasks completed by a software development team was a success. The more data there is about the team’s performance the better they can judge how good a project went. Besides that, performance measures help to improve the team constantly. When the team is aware of what went wrong and easily spots the areas that need improvement, they are able to take quick action and solve every problem. Also, measuring the team’s performance can help them estimate how long certain tasks take to complete and how long the overall completion of a project will take. So as an effect they can provide the client with a more accurate project plan. What are some measures commonly used by software development teams?

Agile Performance Measures

Before we dive into the measures, I recommend you read our post on the “Agile Software Development Process“. After reading the post, it will be easier to understand why and how are the following measures used. The agile metrics include a few of the very basic metrics such as lead time. This one is to measure the amount of time it takes from the idea to the handoff of the final product. The next measure is cycle time. It is the time needed to complete one unit (task) of work. The vital aspect that needs to be measured is also the team’s velocity. It is the average number of tasks completed by the team in one interaction or one sprint. The last, but not least, measure is the open/close rate. This rate expresses the number of development issues that were reported and solved within a specific timeframe. As you can see, the measures mentioned above are not certainly connected to how successful the product is or it’s business value. They’re all about improving the workflow and making your team a better one!

Production Analysis

Production analysis is more about measuring the software’s performance, rather than tracking the performance of the team itself. As the name states this measure is applied at the stage of product’s production. Production analysis means analyzing the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), Mean Time To Recover (MTTR) and Application Crash Rate. The measures apply to the overall software, not its specific features. What does MTBF and MTTR mean? The Mean Time Between Failures is, as the name states, the time between occurring errors or failures. So in this case – the longer in between them the better. This means the software is overall working great if no errors pop up during a long period of time. The Mean Time To Recover is the average time needed to “fix a problem”. So it’s measured since the problem occurs up until the issue has been resolved. It goes without saying that the quicker problems are fixed the better! And lastly, what is the Application Crash Rate? It is the number you get when you divide the number of errors that occurred while using the software by the number of times the software was used. When the number you get is small – you’re going in the right direction!

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Basic Code Metrics

Thanks to this measures you will be able to claim: how big and complex are the program’s structures, how competitive the code is and how easy or hard the product will be to maintain? The software development team usually agrees on a few of the source-code metrics and then follows them, because there are a lot to choose from and some are better suited for a certain project than the others. Many developers use Microsoft’s Visual Studio to measure these metrics. There is no point going into detail about what exactly is being measured, because these are strongly technical matters. But what is important to know, however, is that measuring the code itself helps the developers code better and come up with better logical structures for your product.

Security Metrics

This is a very important aspect to measure. There are two main metrics that can influence the client’s satisfaction with the final product and so measuring them is crucial during the whole development. One of the metrics are endpoint incidents. This one measures how many mobile devices, desktops, laptops (endpoints) have been infected with a virus over a certain period of time. The second metric is again Mean Time To Repair. The security MTTR is the time between discovering a security error and deploying a working solution. Similarly to the MTTR in production, this one also has to be measured over a certain period of time. The number should become smaller overtime and if it does, it is an indicator that the software development team is doing a great job!

Which Metrics Should You Choose?

This is definitely a question to ask. The metrics chosen for your project should be a reflection of your business goals and what do you consider to be successful when it comes to your product. Your software development team will make sure to choose the best performance measures to suit your project and your vision. The metrics chosen for your project will answer certain questions, also business-wise. Because poor performance of your product will affect your business goals and so improving the software’s performance increases your sales, revenue, engagement and so on. When it comes to the choice – trust your team. They always have your best interest in mind.

Effective Use of Performance Measures

After choosing the most suitable metrics the team has to make sure to make the most out of them. The metrics themselves are not enough. They are a powerful tool only when combined with your team’s knowledge of the project as a whole. To use all of the above performance measures effectively the team needs to stay flexible and focused on the main goal, the purpose of the product, what you want to achieve. It seems like we say this a lot – but really trust your team during the development process, because mistakes and errors are inevitable. But with good tools and metrics at hand as well as motivation everything can be overcome!

Performance Measures in Software Development
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