Top 10 KPIs For Software Development
Dr. Matthews, a professor in the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, found that among the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend 70% reported successful goal achievement, compared to 35 percent of those who did not.
The same works for every sphere, and business and IT are no exclusions. Software development is a complex process with many technical aspects, client requirements, and teamwork to set. For measuring productivity in software development, key performance indicators (KPIs) come in very handy.
The correct set of KPI metrics with accurate analytics at every stage is nowadays critical for the creation of a high-quality solution.
In this article, we are going to deal with the top 10 KPI metrics that are mandatory for successful software design. But, let's first find out what is a KPI in software development.
What Is a Software Development KPI?
The absolute majority of businesses opt for software development services because it’s impossible to run a good business without a software solution nowadays. However, business managers are not aware of the software development process. So to ensure accurate project progress assessment, software development KPI metrics are required.
With KPIs, you can determine which indicators are important for the project’s success and what to orient for. What’s more, KPIs help to verify the accuracy of the software and how well it syncs with your business objectives.
That’s why the right choice of KPIs for software development can only be done when you combine the quality of your software with the interests of your company.
Why Do Metrics in Software Development Matter?
There are still teams and specialists relying on intuition in their development workflow and processes. However, a lack of systematic approach, proper management, and progress estimation results in failures and an inability to complete a particular task or issue on time. So, this approach is inefficient.
As a client, you will hardly get the answers to these questions:
- Why do failures happen?
- What factors were losses caused by?
- What’s needed for the development team to be successful?
To avoid the issues with unexpected failures, you need to discuss and set clear metrics, that will help achieve your business goals, measure this process, and at the same time facilitate internal development processes control.
Each KPI will help you in measuring software development productivity, and assessing the software team's efficiency. As soon as the team recognizes their collective efforts, resources can be planned to enhance efficiency.
Some metrics can help identify problems in the software engineering process, so you can set them to bring the chances of errors near zero. By prioritizing metrics that show errors, you can make your development cycle error-free.
So, what are the most important software development metrics as of today?
The Most Useful Software Development KPIs For Monitoring
You should bear in mind that KPIs setting should be determined by your business objectives, as well as the developed software type and goals you set for it. Still, we’ve picked up the most standard key performance indicators used to measure your growth and make the development process more streamlined. Find them below.
Velocity is the metric that defines the amount of work accomplished by the development team in a set period, usually called a sprint. This KPI shows the number of units, tasks, or story points, that should be completed in a sprint or iteration.
As a rule, velocity is measured through story points, but to define the letters, first, you need to do the overall project estimation. Having calculated the ratio of the work done and the effort spent for one or several sprints, you can then analyze the result and predict how much time you need to complete the project. It can be considered the best KPI for software development. It determines the speed of development and, thus, provides you with an understanding of how quickly you can succeed.
What is more, compared by analogy with your development team competitors, you can understand the approximate costs of your project in advance.
As you know already about sprints, your next KPI can be sprint burndown. It’s a metric that helps to measure how much effort the team puts into a particular sprint. While velocity is about estimation, sprint burndown is about measurement. It is the most narrowly focused metric that provides a more realistic touch to your goals.
This metric helps to understand whether you’re behind schedule, ahead of it, or on time with your product release. This KPI can help spot the early signs of possible delays with a product launch or predict a preterm release.
Unlike the previous metrics, which are primarily concerned with the team’s performance and progress, cycle time is about the time spent on completing a specific task. The metric covers the period when the assignment appears in the “In Progress” step and then moves to the “Completed” column.
The overall analysis of the cycle time charts can help you calculate the development process efficiency. Moreover, this KPI for software development can be used to assess future tasks and spot then inconsistencies, if there are any, that obstruct the project development process.
This KPI facilitates demonstrating the tasks through visually colored diagrams, where different development stages have their specific color. So Cumulative flow shows the status of a particular milestone, like “Project approved”, “Task in progress”, “Tasks completed” and so on.
This metric is helpful for project development process stabilization and any drawbacks and bottlenecks identification, thus providing a consistent output for you as a client.
The software development process is not something in continuous progress. There are waiting periods, pauses, and interruptions. Flow efficiency metric measures the ratio between active, useful time, and total project time. As a result, you can spot the correlation behind the periods with low efficiency and understand the causes for deficiencies, with consequent improvement of the situation. Flow efficiency helps to figure out what is not going according to plan and the reasons for it, what exactly affects the incorrect work.
Code coverage is a countable KPI utilized for code quality measurement. It determines the source code execution, detects errors, spots bugs, etc. Thus, 100% coverage ensures less debugging later on.
Without code coverage, life cycle carrying out is impossible as well as digital product proper creation, testing, and delivery.
It’s a tricky metric to measure, but developers should take care that their code is stable. They should provide code stability when it comes to downtime. Meaning, the software product requires just a few changes in the code thread in such cases.
Multiple software metrics help in code simplicity measurement. Cyclomatic simplicity is one example. It measures the consistent parts of code, the fewer parts, the simpler the code is. Simple code is easy to test and maintain.
Another measurable KPI for code simplicity is code thread changes in course of the time. It is tied to the next metric we deal with.
Code churn is the indicator of code lines number that is added, altered, or removed with time. Meaning that if you need to change the code rather often to implement new features to your solution, it would include higher risks and high maintenance. Thus, by measuring the code churn, you can ensure your code is simple, flexible, and can be adapted to new features.
Code churn improves the quality of your code by ensuring it is simple and adaptable to new changes.
Tasks of Metrics in Software Development
Metrics in software development, as you can see, are a part of the project management process. Setting the right KPIs allows to:
- Give characteristics to the process: to recognize all the procedures, find resources, and define the environments for software solution development.
- Assess the progress: to determine the project status up-to-date in terms of plans formed and goals set.
- Predict and model future project flow based on the relations between processes and product analysis.
- Improve the process and the digital product through timely identification of inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and other failure triggers and finding ways to eliminate them.
If translated into business terms, the reasonable KPIs set for the development team will help you as a business owner to:
- Cut expenses;
- Save time by reducing overtime;
- Increase your ROI (return on investment);
- Optimize workflow and its management;
- Figure out areas for improvement.
As we’ve already mentioned, you should determine your KPIs for every project, because every product and every development process are different. You should be governed by your specific business objectives and product peculiarities.
Still, we hope the metrics above will help you simplify the entire process and ensure higher productivity for the development team. If you need proper planning, the right KPIs, and strategic problem-solving, you can take the advantage of Stfalcon’s development service.
Our team guarantees the right balance of cost, product quality, and team performance, proven by 13 years of experience and satisfied clients worldwide.
Contact us, and we’ll discuss your project and its right KPIs. Let’s create a high-quality software solution together.