The Metrics of Successful Software Development

Going beyond the “Gut Feel”

When it comes to software development, anything that is worth doing is also worth measuring. Going by the “gut feel” often results in projects not meeting deliverables or going over budget throughout their development timeline. That’s why any company looking to work with an IT outsourcing partner needs to be aware of the metrics of successful software development and treat them as a baseline component of their project. This way, you can understand exactly when your development team does their best work and what factors contribute to that.

Using Software Development Metrics is a great way to:

  • Quantify outsourcing results, so both clients and providers can objectively judge the performance of a project.
  • Improve the efficiency and productivity of outsourcing and increase savings.
  • Assess individual and team performance.
  • Create more meaningful development estimates.
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Types of Software Metrics

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    Code metrics
    Lines of Code, Testing Effort, Instruction Path Length, and Code Complexity are great examples of these metrics. However, keep in mind that these are considered less useful for today’s IT outsourcing standards.
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    Productivity Metrics
    Measuring the productivity of developers and software engineers can help you understand how much time and work developers are putting into a software project. Some common metrics are active hours, assignment scope, and code churn.
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    Agile Development Metrics
    These measure the progress of a development team as they continue to produce working, shipping-quality software features and their availability to the user. These vary depending on the agile methodology used but are often related to lead time, cycle time, and velocity.
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    Operational Metrics
    The operational side keeps software production in check and measures how effective the staff is at maintaining it. The two main ones are Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) and Mean Time to Recover (MTTR).
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    Test Metrics
    These measures how thoroughly a system is tested. Often, this correlates with software quality. Some examples are code coverage, bug rates, and percent of automated tests.
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    Satisfaction Metrics
    This is the most valuable measurement for revealing key insights about the customers’ experience and interaction with the product. Some customer satisfaction metrics are Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

Implementing Development Metrics

Metrics are for Everyone

Metrics apply to both teams and management. Management shouldn’t impose the metrics on the team. Instead, they should be intrinsically useful for teams in a way they can assess and improve their own work.


Get Metrics in the Conversation

Numbers are just numbers if we don’t do something with them. Combining them into deeper discussions allows business leaders to make more data-informed decisions and tackle growth effectively.


Measure Metrics with a Purpose

Software metrics should be treated as if they were part of an experiment. The goal is for Agile teams to use metrics with a specific hypothesis in mind, not measure for the sake of measurement.


Real-world Software Development Metrics

Enterprise software can benefit your company in numerous ways.

  • Lead Time

    Lead Time refers to the amount of time it takes to go from idea to software. Lead Time is typically reduced by simplifying decision making and cutting wait times. This gives a more responsive feel to your customers.

  • Cycle time

    As a part of Lead Time, Cycle Time refers to how long it takes to change something in your software system and deliver it into production. When teams use continuous delivery their cycle times can even be measured in minutes instead of weeks.

  • Team velocity

    Team velocity counts the amount of “units” that are typically completed in a sprint or in a determined iteration. However, velocity is not a measure of success, since the metric is based on non-objective estimates. This number should only be used to plan iterations.

  • Open/close rates

    Open/close rates measure the number of production issues that are reported and closed within a specific time period. The variation of this number matters more than the number itself.

  • MTBF

    Statistically, systems are very likely to fail. When this happens, the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) should be treated as overall measures of performance in the system’s current production environment.

  • MTTR

    The Mean Time to Recover/Repair measures the time between the discovery of a security breach and a working fix. If it grows smaller over time, it means that the team is more effective in understanding and fixing security issues.

  • Application crash rate

    The application crash rate is the result of how many times the application fails divided by how many times it was used. It reflects the business value delivered and the cost of remediating failures.

  • Endpoint incidents

    This measure counts how many endpoints (mobile devices, workstations, etc.) have experienced a virus infection over a given period of time. The fewer endpoint incidents, the better for everyone.

Getting Started with Software Outsourcing

If you are contemplating the decision of working with an IT outsourcing company, it is essential to find the right match for you. As a starting point, consider your project’s schedule, identify your available internal skills and resources, define your budget, and establish clear goals and outcomes.

At BairesDev we can develop your product from start to finish, or handle individual segments of the process for you. We offer world-class software product development services from requirements and systems analysis, architecture, and design to development, testing, migration, and deployment. Contact us today.

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