Nowadays software development is not just the process of developing an efficient software solution based on the client requirements, but it has transformed into a highly focused methodology to help teams reach their goals and improve application performance. These key performance indicators or commonly called KPIs are what helps the software development company in improving its capabilities over time. The metrices and KPIs can be complicated and exhaustive but following the methodology can actually make the complete SDLC more seamless for software development teams.
But what makes these modern KPIs different from the traditional ones?
Several software development companies had incorporated the traditional approach to development and found it effective over the past few years. Such as their KPIs mainly revolved around the quantitative metrics such as the number of code lines in the program, the number of bugs, and of course meeting the deadlines set by clients.
The modern methodology undoubtedly focuses on these KPIs as well, but it also aims to analyse and optimize the qualitative factors of the complete software development life cycle (SDLC).
That’s exactly what we will be discussing in this article!
What Is a Software Development Key performance indicator (KPIs)?
KPIs are effective values that help software developers and project managers in measuring the performance of the overall software development projects. It helps decision makers understand how well the development efforts are aligning with business objectives and if there will be any hindrances in the future.
With these development goals already sorted out during the initial phase itself, the upcoming processes would be much clear, and the business can use it to increase scalability and other quintessential components of performance measures as well.
It will greatly influence every stage in a software development life cycle and contribute significantly to an increased ROI (return on investment). By initially setting a KPI, project managers can ensure that the team of developers, testers, designers, and other resources collaborates efficiently during the development and also optimizes working processes. It also helps the developers in providing a clear picture of business perspectives to the customers with relevant data and analytics. All these key metrics and KPIs will help the software development company in identifying and eliminating weak elements that could affect the software development in the future.
Why Do KPI & Metrics Matter in Software Development?
There are still several software developments companies or project managers who ideally rely on their basic instincts or intuition to define a software development workflow. In this current era, where artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and data analytics have become the most prominent technologies, simply depending on your intuition to make decisions can be catastrophic. This can often lead to a significant lack of systematic approach and can tremendously affect everything from the initial planning and design to technology requirements and even market demands.
This can of course result in sudden failures or abruptly halt the software development process as the developers may not be proficient in handling certain issues or may not have the right skill or technology expertise.
And that’s what causes delays in handing over the final project on time or can sometimes significantly exceed the initial budget.
Therefore, to keep your team moving forward and ensure that an efficient software solution is delivered on time, every software development team must require clear and effective KPIs & metrics. Even customers should enquire about the software development KPIs before hiring an expert software development company for your project.
Knowing the key performance indicator (KPI) before even beginning the SDLC will help both project managers and clients in assessing the productivity of the software team, thoroughly comprehend whether they are proficient in the latest requirements, and plan resources to increase efficiency.
Top 5 Metrics and KPIs for Software Development
1. Lead time
The lead time KPI can be used to measure the time it takes for a software development consultant to turn the clients’ idea into a final software solution. For this, the team will have to analyse existing technology trends, market requirements, product needs, testing time, and much more to come up with a final timeline.
2. Cycle time
The cycle time is actually the amount of time a software developer takes to complete one module and start the next module. Based on this time, project managers can easily predict the amount of time required to complete the upcoming module. Therefore, it helps in understanding the time to market of the software solution and by when the general audience can expect the product.
3. Team Velocity
Team Velocity indicates the number of software units such as the tasks, developer roles, story points, etc that are required to complete in a sprint or iteration. This can be essential for internal team building, as it assists the project managers to schedule sprints and analyse which can eventually help to make predictions on what the development team is actually capable of achieving in the upcoming sprints.
4. Active days
The Active Days metric measures the actual time taken for a software developer alone to complete the final application. The active days only focus on coding and programming and not on any other tasks such as design or team meetings, preparations, etc. It helps understand the time for actual code development so that the project leads can identify other hidden costs of outages.
5. Code Churn
There is no doubt that the code will have to be changed at one point or the other as market demands change or client requirements get revised. The code churn can measure this code stability to identify how often the code changes over time. If the developer has rewritten code frequently to integrate newer features, then this KPI will help understand if the software project involves high maintenance or risk.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics are nowadays leveraged by almost all software development services companies and developers to prioritize and develop goals for the entire software teams. The KPIs are not generic and are specifically focused on achieving unique software objectives, therefore it makes the life of developers more easier as they do not have to randomly focus on everything but just the key factors. Also, KPIs are not just based on intuition, it is created based on previous data, current market demands, and also on big data that has been accumulated by the software development company through years of industry expertise.
Ricky Philip is an industry expert and a professional writer working at ThinkPalm Technologies. He works with a focus on understanding the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, SDN/NFV, cloud analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT) services. He is also a contributor to several prominent online publishing platforms such as DZone, HubSpot and Hackernoon.