The 6 Most Important Software Development Metrics

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Every software developer wants to ensure things are running as smoothly as possible on their team.

After all, time is money — the Project Management Institute found that 9.9% of every dollar was wasted simply due to poor project performance.

The more time your team spends on tasks that ultimately aren’t productive, the less time you spend successfully completing projects. With ineffective software and work processes, tasks can quickly pile up, employees can get bogged down with work, and it can ultimately harm your bottom line.

Luckily, there are some key software development metrics that can help teams make the most of their time and ensure software is running as effectively as possible.

Here’s a look at the key software development metrics every programmer should use on their team.

Why Track Software Development Metrics?

Just because a developer writes 100 lines of code a day doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s effective or the software is performing well.

Ultimately, you want programmers to write software that:

  • Has quality, ideally more concise code
  • Stays on time and budget with projects
  • Has lasting solutions to problems
  • Quickly gets new features to market

While you can measure the amount of time each employee spends at their desk each day, it can seem more difficult to track productivity and code quality. After all, how do you measure quality work?

Certain key metrics can help ensure your team is writing effective code and keeping things running smoothly.For example, rather than focusing on the amount of code each employee produces, you can instead focus on how many iterations it takes to find a solution.

The 6 Most Important Software Development Metrics

So, how do you know the proper metrics to measure software development?

Here are the six software development metrics examples that every programming team should use on their projects.

1. Measurable Impact

As mentioned, rather than focusing on the amount of code your team produces, it’s better to focus on the results.

You can do this by creating measurable impacts, aiming to hit certain goals by a set date.

For example, maybe you want a new feature ready to launch by the end of the month. You’ll know your team was productive if that feature is production-ready by that date. If it’s not, your team may need to restructure some other projects or spend less time on other, less pressing tasks.

Remember: A team that collectively produces 1,000 lines of code a day is less productive than one that writes 100 lines with the exact same functionality and fewer bugs.

2. Closed Support Tickets

Occasional customer problems and support tickets are unavoidable.

However, customers can get frustrated with long wait times — and that frustration can spill onto your team as developers feel increased pressure to solve problems.

You can track support tickets with:

  • Total number of open tickets
  • Number of tickets closed each day
  • Average response time
  • Volume of each type of support request
  • Customer satisfaction with each resolution

Keeping an eye on these individual metrics will show developers areas where they can improve — like if response time is too slow or certain report requests tend to get backlogged.

It will help your teams solve customer support tickets more quickly and smoothly so they can focus on other tasks. And, it can reveal underlying problems in the software that need to be solved — eliminating similar support ticket requests in the future.

3. Technical Debt

This is one of the key software development metrics to measure the quality of employee work and the program itself.

Bugs are inevitable in software development. Programmers will have to re-write some code and solve problems as they arise.

Temporary fixes are sometimes essential to keep things running until you can get to the root of the problem. However, creating solutions that simply work as temporary patches — rather than lasting solutions — can rack up technical debt.

If technical debt racks up, it can lead to a heap of problems:

  • Less security
  • Difficulties in scalability
  • Less reliability
  • Higher costs and more time to add new features
  • And more

Tracking these factors will help your teams identify how much technical debt you’re adding up and when it needs to be addressed:

  • Cycle time
  • Product stability
  • Security risks
  • Increased technology costs

While it may seem more time-consuming to dig deep and solve a problem at the root, this will save you a lot of time, money, and effort in the long run.

4. Implementation Speed

New features are essential for streamlining tasks, building customer loyalty, and scaling your company, so it’s crucial to get them to market as quickly as possible.

Keep track of the time it takes to get new features to market. Track implementation speed — not just the overall time it takes from start to finish, but also the overall time spent on each task.

When development teams track implementation speed, it:

  • Shows workflow productivity
  • Improves sprint planning
  • Reveals where teams need to improve when getting new features to market

5. Tasks Finished Per Iteration

It likely won’t be possible to get every task checked off your to-do list on the first iteration of a new product. You’ll have to prioritize which tasks are done during the first launch and which are done during the second, third, or even fifth software update.

However, if you wait until the fifth iteration to get a lot of the smaller tasks done, this can cause work to pile up — and lead to more problems.

Get as many tasks done during the first iteration as possible, and track how many of the remaining tasks are completed during each following iteration. You’ll also want to mind the estimated size of each individual completed task during each project sprint. This tracking is commonly done with “story points” rather than traditional time estimates.

If you can focus on some of the larger tasks early on, you can polish the user interface and fix smaller bugs later — leading to fewer headaches and more productivity.

6. Overtime Hours

It may be unavoidable that your teams put in extra hours now and again if pressing problems need fixing or they’re polishing details for an upcoming new feature launch.

However, studies have shown that employees consistently working long hours can have various negative impacts:

  • Links with depression and anxiety
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure
  • Can cause sleep deprivation and fatigue
  • And more

Not to mention, asking employees to put in long hours can increase burnout — exhausting employees, affecting productivity, and negatively impacting retention rates.

Keep an eye on how many extra hours employees put in each week. If you notice several team members are consistently working longer hours, it may be time to adjust project timelines or consider taking on a new team member to spread some of the workload.

Happy employees are the foundation of your company, and they ensure things run smoothly. So you want to ensure they have a healthy work-life balance.

How To Improve Your Software Development Process

Now that you know some of the key software development metrics, you might be wondering how to improve your software development process. There’s certainly no shortage of tools that you can use to improve productivity.

minware is one tool that teams can use to stay on top of software development metrics. It’s designed specifically to reveal patterns and give an analytic overview of the full software development lifecycle.

minware empowers teams to track key metrics like code longevity to see how it ages over time. It also shows teams the time it takes to get code to go into production.

This information empowers teams to truly see where their time is spent so they can spend more time writing code that works and less time trying to debug the same problems.

Try minware’s beta, or get in touch with questions on how we can help your software development team improve their processes.

The Bottom Line

There are seemingly endless options of software development metrics you can track across your team. Tracking both software development quality metrics and quantity metrics can give your team a clear view of where they can improve productivity and streamline processes.

However, these six metrics are the minimum that every software development team should use.

They will help teams track the value of work being done. This way, individuals can spend more time on tasks that get new features out, solve underlying bugs, and overall boost your company’s bottom line.

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