Effective Project Management: 10 Software Development Metrics to Know

Software development is not easy. It depends on the total commitment of every team member. Focusing on every aspect of the development is a must. And even a minor setback can affect the process and product quality. According to Standish Group’s Annual CHAOS report, over 66% of technology projects end up in partial or complete failure. 

There are numerous reasons for such a high rate of project failure. There are insufficient testing, bugs, invalid code, ambiguities, and other issues. Measuring the software development team’s productivity is the key to a project’s success. And the primary duty of an experienced project manager is to have them in place. 

That’s why our nearshore software development team decided to discuss some of these metrics in detail. 

10 Essential Software Development Metrics for Project Managers 

1. Measure customer satisfaction

Customers are the key to measuring your software success. Satisfied consumers are the ones who be loyal to your product and recommend it to others. And unsatisfied customers will more likely switch to a competitor.

Here are some methods to measure customer satisfaction:

  • NPS or Net Promoter Score is a commonly used metric to measure customer satisfaction. It rates your consumers on a scale of 1-10 based on their prospect to recommend your software product to others. A delighted client will give you nine or ten and an unsatisfied one or two. Net Promoter Score is the ratio of happy to the number of unhappy consumers. It may range from -100 to 100, and an NPS score above six is good and can indicate overall consumer satisfaction. It is necessary to achieve NPS above six.
  • Customer survey: It is another effective method to measure customer satisfaction or customer experience. For example, you can conduct a survey in a month after consumer purchases your software. An email asking to share experiences with the product, their likelihood of recommending it, and suggestions will be more than enough. Try to keep it short and as simple as possible.
  • Customer feedback: As mentioned before, the way to measure consumer satisfaction is with the help of feedback and suggestions. You can also ask your consumers to rate your product from one to five based on their experience. You can collect feedback via email or social media. It is an excellent idea to ask for feedback a week prior to subscription expiration.

2. Use Sprint Burndown

Sprint Burndown is a graphic representation of the work completed during the sprint. You can use it to track our software development team’s progress and determine if they can achieve current sprint goals.

Sprint Burndown will help you determine how much work can be done during the sprint and compare it with the work completed. It consists of the x-axis and y-axis, the first represents time, and the second shows remaining work. The line slope demonstrates how your team is completing the work.

The chart consists of two lines, one for excellent progress and another for actual. It also has the following six points:

  1. Start point: it represents the start of the sprint when the remaining work is 0.
  2. Endpoint: it represents the end of the sprint when the remaining work is 0.
  3. A zero line is drawn at the y-axis to represent work remaining at the start and end of the sprint.
  4. The actual progress line shows the amount of work completed during the sprint.
  5. Ideal progress line: it shows the amount of work that can be completed during the sprint if everything goes well.
  6. Burndown rate: it is the slope of the actual progress line.

3. Measure Team Velocity

Team velocity allows you to measure how much work your team can do in a certain amount of time. It is measured with the help of story points (i.e., in terms of ideal days). Ideal days are the total number of days when the whole team works together. These include weekends, holidays, sick leaves, and other kinds of absences. Ideal days have 100% attendance rates by all team members.

So, the team velocity is the number of days the team spent on the development. The higher velocity is, the more work can be completed during the sprint. This metric is used to track the progress of your team over time.

4. Use Release Burndown Tool

The software development team can use release Burndown to forecast the project completion. It uses team velocity to predict the number of days left to complete the project. Sometimes it is called release planning since you are more focused on scheduling than on actual tasks.

Release burndown works on the following principle: you multiply velocity by the number of iterations. That gives you a number of completed story points. So, you can convert the remaining story points into days by multiplying them with the average team velocity.

5. Calculate Cycle Time

Cycle time is the median time necessary for the issue to move from the beginning to completion. It doesn’t matter how it is measured: in days, hours, or minutes. The equation is the following:  

T = T + d(t)

Where T is the time spent on a particular project and d(t) shows the duration of an issue in each workflow stage.

The primary goal of any project is to reduce time and improve the speed at which an issue can move from the beginning to completion. So, this metric’s goal is to measure the team workflow efficiency and find ways to improve it.

6. Calculate Lead Time

Lead time is the average time for an issue to move from the beginning to completion after it is assigned to a team or its member. It is measured in days, hours, or minutes. It is calculated using the following formula:

L = L + d(t)

Where L is the total lead time for issue completion, d(t) shows the duration of each workflow stage. 

Lead time is used to track the issue resolution speed. You can use this metric to measure the team workflow efficiency and find ways to improve. So, if you reduce lead time, you can improve the way your team resolves issues. 

7. Use Mean Time to Repair or MTTR

MTTR allows measuring how long it takes to resolve an issue or bug after the software development team detects it. It can be measured in hours, days, or minutes. The following formula is used to calculate MTTR:

MTTR = T + d(t)

Where T is the time spent on the project, and d(t) is the duration of an issue in each workflow stage. The primary aim of this metric is to reduce the time for a bug or an issue to be resolved after it is found.

8. Carry out Code Reviews

Code review is a widespread practice where your software developers examine the code of their co-workers and propose alternatives or improvements. Code reviews are used to measure software quality and ensure there are no bugs or defects in the codebase.

The primary aim of code review practice is to improve codebase quality and prevent defects and bugs. It allows to measure codebase quality and identify ways to improve it.

9. Calculate Bug Rates

Bug Rates allow measuring the number of issues or defects found in your software. It can be measured in terms of bugs per day, week, month, or unit. The bug rates are usually calculated using the following formula:

R = N/t

Where R is the rate of bugs, N is the number of bugs found during a particular time, and t is the actual duration of that period. Bug rates allow you to determine how many defects and issues are found in your software over time. Moreover, it can be used as a tool to identify if the testing process needs to be improved.

10. Measure task volume and average estimates

The number of tasks to be completed to deliver a product is called task volume. These can be measured in minutes, hours, or days. To calculate task volume, you can use the following formula:

TV = TV + d(t)

Where TV is the total task volume, TV is the total number of tasks, and d(t) represents the duration of each job in each workflow stage.

The primary goal of task volume is to measure the number of tasks needed to deliver a product and identify how to reduce them. With the help of this metric, you can identify potential bottlenecks in your workflow, allowing your team members to address these issues before they can delay the project.

To Sum Up 

All ten metrics before might help you to measure your software development productivity. Of course, not all of them apply to every project, but using some of them would be an excellent starting point to measure your team performance. These metrics can help you identify weaknesses and strengthen the process by eliminating them. The primary goal of these metrics is to help project managers to identify areas where it is possible to improve productivity and quality.

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