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Metrics in software development: how to implement practice and justify efforts

In our Best software development aency in UAE practice, we distinguish between two types of software development metrics: those that help evaluate the final software, and those that give an idea of ​​the development process. In this article, we will consider an approach to the development and implementation of effective metrics of both types. How to apply software development metrics? Project owners, project managers, development teams, and QAs can refer to software development metrics for:

Project management and planning

Measurement is the cornerstone of control. Software development metrics allow you to clearly understand what and how teams have already done in previous iterations of the project. Based on this data, the project manager can better predict and plan the budget, time, resources and requirements for the upcoming iterations, as well as determine in a timely manner if the iteration or the whole project goes wrong.

Project Overview

Metrics give the project owner the opportunity to quickly understand and evaluate the status of the project, problems and how to solve them.

Task prioritization

Metrics are a good way to decide in which order to complete tasks in order to get the most out of it. For example, if the rating of user satisfaction is low due to constant dissatisfaction with the quality of updates that interfere with the smooth functioning of the software, this may be a signal to begin to devote more time during the iteration to regression testing than to release a large group of new functions.

Change management

Metrics can help you understand if there is any value from a change in approach, practice, tool, etc., What kind of value you can expect and how it relates to the investments made. For example, when switching to DevOps, KPIs such as the number of failed changes / deployments and the average recovery time (MTTR) can help evaluate the improvements that accompany the changes.

SLA monitoring and reporting, service setup

With KPI, the customer can clearly communicate and track expected value (increasing the frequency of releases, improving test coverage, decreasing the number of features waiting in line longer than the due date, or reducing the number of defects detected by the user). Testing (UAT) / in production) from a third-party vendor and understanding how productive external teams are. The seller, in turn, can visualize the improvements achieved.

What to measure?

Before we begin, let’s clarify that a list of metrics must be determined individually each time. To blindly copy a set of metrics from any other project, just keep track of everything that the project management tool offers or the software development environment prescribes – this is an unjustified waste of time and effort. Indicators that do not answer any specific question of the project stakeholders or those whose results do not have any potential impact on the project process should be avoided. For example, for a real-time processing system, performance metrics will be a top priority, and for a distributed asynchronous system, metrics will depend on availability.

Quality of delivered solution

Business stakeholders are concerned about the external attributes (reliability, maintainability, etc.) of the Software. In accordance with ISO / IEC 25010, the quality of modern software can be described using eight key attributes: compliance, reliability, maintainability, compatibility, portability, security, usability, performance. Each of the attributes can be divided into a set of additional characteristics and will require tracking a whole set of metrics in order to get a real picture. Later in the text we will discuss how to handle metrics of this type in more detail.

Code quality

Development teams, project managers and project owners want to know the quality of the code they provide. Thus, team leaders, architects and developers are interested in KPI, which can shed light on the technical part of the project, such as algorithmic complexity, the number of unnecessary dependencies, code outflow, code duplication, test coverage, defect density, and the like.

Process quality

First of all, the project manager will be interested in tracking costs, resources, timelines and effectiveness. They must also understand the effectiveness of established development processes. Each programming paradigm, software development model, and infrastructure will have different success indicators: for linear (traditional) development with a fixed scope, this is the percentage of completion of the area, while flexible and economical processes require measuring the total execution time, cycle time, team speed and etc.

User Satisfaction

Measuring the satisfaction of intended users is also crucial. For a publicly available product, this will be an assessment of customer satisfaction, while for internal applications, estimates will be based on feedback from employees. Interface coherence, attractive interactions, clarity of messages, clarity of interface elements, clarity of functions are examples of metrics that are suitable in both cases.

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