Setting clear and concise goals is critical for a development team to reach project objectives on schedule. In fact, a Harvard study found that 3% of its graduates from the MBA program earned more than 10 times more than the remaining 97% of the class when they set clearly defined goals for themselves.

When considering this application within the software development process, software metrics can be utilized to assess the development team’s efficiency and how they can improve. These software development metrics are beneficial when working with a remote group of software developers or outsourcing.

Software metrics are a critical way to allow planning for which areas resources should be allocated to. The acronym KPI stands for key performance indicator.

Appropriate key performance indicators help a software development team stay on top of their goals and decrease the amount of needed interference.

Software development is a complicated process. Using specific KPIs in software development makes the procedure more manageable and allows the development team to stay on task and within budget.

The Importance of Software Development Metrics

Key performance indicators are an essential part of work-life in general, especially when it pertains to software development teams. Those managing the development process can use KPIs for software development in order to prioritize tasks accordingly.

Managers can do this by easily identifying issues, keeping track of all progress, and communicating with their team as needed during software development with the help of key performance indicators. These software metrics are also a good way to stay on top of areas that could use improvement. It also allows the software developers to constantly refine their results and productivity.

Clients and stakeholders of different software development companies can use software development KPIs to also monitor the progress of the project. They are able to assist with workflow management while also planning for any future projects that may occur.

Suitable KPIs for software can also aid in decreasing costs during the development process. By staying on top of the set goals, software development teams are able to minimize the amount of extra edits that are needed with little to no extra management.

Software development KPIs allow for an increased investment return because they improve performance throughout the development process. When KPIs are used properly, they allow a team to finish in a timely and budget-friendly manner.

Understanding Software Development KPIs

Key performance indicators used in software development quantify overall business performance during all stages of the development process. Specifically, KPIs for software development allow for the work done during development to align with the objectives of software development companies and other businesses using the software as a whole.

To get the best results, proper software metrics need to be chosen according to the team’s preferred model. Using suitable metrics will allow for the effective measurement of the project's success.

It is rather typical to see metrics such as lines of code or the number of deploys being used, but these are not great choices. They are not clear and do not set tangible goals for the team. A software development KPI needs to be more distinct.

Since software development is a complex process, the business manager can often fall short when creating a plan to meet deadlines and stay on track. However, key performance indicators can help avoid this.

Modern development teams tend to prefer Agile software development because it is quick and established. Agile focuses on rapid application development to provide steady delivery, results, and deployment.

When considering performance measures, business growth is a key measure that any software development KPI should lean on. There are four major groups of KPIs for software teams focused on what the performance indicator is measuring. These include defects metrics, software performance metrics, usability and user experience metrics, and developer productivity.

The Best Defects Metrics

These are the KPIs for software that will help find and get rid of as many issues and bugs within the software as possible before release. Managing software malfunctions can be an extremely frustrating and stressful part of the software development process. Utilizing appropriate metrics can help.

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Actual Security Incidents

This KPI for software development provides a look at any possible security threats. This can include attempts at unauthorized access, disclosure, use modifications, destruction of information, or other security problems.

If left unchecked, these issues can allow for theft, denial of service, or compromised user accounts. This metric is essential to ensure that the software being developed is secure.

Code Defect Detection Percentage

Code defect detection percentage is another great way to test the efficiency of the development team.

To calculate this percentage, the relationship between the number of faults found before the software’s release and the total number of defects, including those discovered after the product's release, needs to be examined. Ideally, a majority of the bugs would be found and fixed before the software is released.

Mean Time to Detect Defects and Mean Time to Repair

The mean time to detect defects metric can be used to figure out how long it takes developers to discover a malfunction within the software on average. It is calculated from the time the issue occurs to the time the developer notices the problem. Reducing the MTDD value will produce the best outcomes.

The time between the discovery of the problem and the working fix for it is the average time to repair. The fix must be functional and employed for the stop time to be considered. Again, the lower the MTR value is, the higher efficiency will be.

Vulnerability

This software metric will help discover any potential weakness in the product during software development. The software might be susceptible to users gaining access past the boundaries established through their privileges, unauthorized actions, or more.

As vulnerability increases, so do security concerns for the software being developed. This metric is very important when considering how secure the finished product will be.

The Top Software Performance Metrics

During the quality assurance process, software performance metrics can evaluate and rank any problems within the software.

These KPIs for software development are helpful tools for managing the project, debugging the software, measuring performance levels, and estimating cost.

Availability

This specific KPI for software development focuses on the likelihood that the software will function when it needs to. The availability is a percentage of the total time that the software is operating.

A high-end availability means that the software can function even through malfunctions and defects. This is not to say they will not happen, but rather that if defects do occur, the software can separate the issue and continue working at a decreased capacity.

Reliability

This metric calculates the ability of the software to produce the expected results at any set time. The software can accomplish this through factors that avoid, find, and fix defects within it.

Developers can ensure that the product will not constantly deliver errors by appropriately utilizing this KPI. At the very least, the software should be able to find and fix any problems or isolate the issue and relay the error to the development team.

Serviceability

Serviceability is a KPI in software development that allows for the calculation of how easy it is to fix the software system when any given problem arises. There is an inverse relationship between serviceability and availability. If one decreases, the other will inevitably increase.

The software metric focuses on providing accurate repair options for each faulty situation while causing as little disruption as possible to the normal services.

Throughput

Throughput measures the amount of features, tasks, issues, and other possible activities that are finished within a certain period. With this metric, project managers can easily oversee how the development team allocates their time and what their workload is like.

It is similar to the software metric of velocity, which will be covered in the developer productivity metrics, but throughput is more technical.

The Ideal Usability and User Experience Metrics

KPIs for software do not stop once the software development is finished. They continue into the release of the product to record user interactions with the software.

These software metrics are heavily subjective since they depend on customer input and feedback.

Customer Effort Score

The customer effort score, or CES, is a scale ranging from 1 to 7. It calculates how easy the software makes it to interact with the business it was created for.

The calculation includes customer transactions, reporting an issue to the support team, and other methods of connecting with the business through the software. It is a powerful tool to know exactly how consumers feel about the product’s usability.

Customer Satisfaction Score

The customer satisfaction score, or CSAT, uses a scale from 1 to 5. With this software development KPI, one can measure how satisfied a consumer is with the product. The rating is based on the customer’s experience with the software.

The CSAT must be sent out to customers that purchased or are using the software. This is another invaluable tool when looking at how the software ranks amongst consumers.

Net Promoter Score

The net promoter score, or NPS, value ranges between -100 and 100. This metric finds out how likely a customer is to recommend the software to friends, family, and other people they may interact with.

The NPS can be used to consider consumer loyalty and long-term customer satisfaction in regard to the business’s software.

The Best Developer Productivity Metrics

During the process of software development, teams can use these KPIs to focus on their efficiency and work rate. Developer productivity metrics allow project managers to assess how much time and work is needed for a specific software project.

Code Churn

This software development KPI calculates the frequency of code changes. While code changes will happen, a frequent need for changes in code can cause problems.

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If software needs to be revised each time a new feature is added to it, this will lead to a product that requires a high level of maintenance and is generally high-risk.

Code Coverage

Using the code coverage metric promotes constant delivery and development that is centered around proper testing. It calculates how much the source code achieves during testing procedures.

The higher the value of this metric is, the better the outcome. However, it will rarely ever be 100 percent.

Code Simplicity

There are several different ways to calculate code simplicity. A project manager could use cyclomatic complexity to view the number of separate paths the code must go through. The fewer paths needed, the better.

A more straightforward code is less complicated to support and test.

Code Stability

Code stability is a KPI for software development that looks at the possible impact of small adjustments on the product and if those adjustments could harm the objectives of the project or the software overall.

Generally speaking, minuscule changes to the code should not influence the entire software program.

Cumulative Flow

Visual diagrams are immensely helpful for providing an easily understandable view of the project’s overall productivity. The cumulative flow metric provides a visual representation of where tasks are at during software development.

There are many different task stages that can be represented in the diagram, including backlogged tasks, tasks that are currently being worked on, and tasks that have been finished and approved. Each stage is typically represented by a different color.

This flow chart provides an overview of the workflow throughout the software development process. It greatly helps balance the workload and prevent negative occurrences, such as task congestion.

Cycle Time

The cycle time is a KPI for software development that allows management to view the time spent on specific tasks.

By doing this, they can accurately predict how much time the team will require for future tasks and even future projects.

Flow Efficiency

This metric shows the relationship between active work time and the total time spent on a task. Although an assignment may be labeled as a work in progress, things may be at a standstill.

Image source: maddevs.io

Typically this is due to periods where the software developers cannot proceed from one task to the next and must therefore wait until a separate task is completed. You can compute the flow efficiency by dividing active work time by the total time of the cycle.

Low efficiency in specific time frames can allow project managers to deduce inconsistencies within the workflow. Oftentimes an adjustment in the way the project or workload is being managed can provide a better workflow.

Release Burnout

Release burnout is a very important metric used during software development, as it allows management and the development team to accurately oversee the software’s release.

Image source: maddevs.io

The development team can keep track of the project’s schedule, viewing whether it is ahead of schedule, on schedule, or falling behind. Using the release burnout metric, a business can provide accurate software release updates for consumers.

Velocity

Velocity is a KPI in software development that calculates the amount of work the development team can finish in a single execution. A higher velocity value during software development means that the team is functioning well.

Image source: maddevs.io

It can be used to predict the level of productivity. Velocity can be calculated by things such as the number of tasks finished and ideal days. A common way to calculate velocity is by using story points.

Three or more iterations during software development will be needed before the average velocity for the team can be accurately measured. Velocity is a team metric and does not calculate individual work rates.

When calculating the amount of work that is finished in a single execution to use for measuring velocity, a software metric known as sprint burnout is used. Sprint burnout allows project managers to see the team’s work time in a single iteration. These are then used to properly compute velocity.

Conclusion

Using the proper software development KPIs is indispensable during the development process and an irreplaceable tool for the business the software is for. Appropriate software metrics allow team productivity, project timeframe, and budget to be measured correctly.

Project managers and software development companies can successfully use key performance indicators to evaluate and prioritize team goals and project objectives.

Each group of KPIs allows development teams, project managers, and clients to understand the overall status of the software development progression. Using them will help developers reach steady and maintainable goals while keeping on schedule and hopefully under budget.

WRITTEN BY
Techreviewer
Research & analytics team
Techreviewer.co
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The Most Important KPIs for Software Development