Ahnaf M.
October 22, 2021

How To Measure Software Development Efficiency in 2021

Software Development requires constant attention to detail from everyone involved in order to be successful - the stakes are higher than ever given the rapidly growing competition in the technology/ IT sector.

software coding
Photo from Unsplash by Radowan Nakif Rehan

Software Development teams strive to not only outwork but also distinguish themselves from the competition. In this increasingly competitive sphere, it is imperative to know how to correctly assess the effectiveness of a software development team.

In this article, we have outlined a set of key factors and metrics that will help you assess the efficiency of your software development team.

Table Of Contents

What Is Software Development Efficiency?

Software Development Efficiency refers to the number of resources such as time, personnel, equipment & effort (amongst other things) required to develop software.

In simple terms, efficiency typically entails avoiding waste. ‘Waste’ in the context of software development refers to bugs, overproduction, taking too much time, extra revisions, and more.

When it comes to software development efficiency, each step of the process must be considered in order to accurately reflect the team's efficiency.

Better software development efficiency leads to faster product life cycles, shorter time to market, and, ultimately, a better final result. A range of metrics may be used to track the efficiency of this process. However, the true test of a software product's effectiveness is if it satisfies the demands of end-users while also improving the company's bottom line.

Why Companies Measure Software Development Efficiency

Companies want to assess how efficient their software development teams are for a number of reasons. These include the following -

  • To track progress over time.
  • To create benchmarks and competitive analyses.
  • To determine the allocation of resources.
  • To find and disseminate more productive development procedures throughout the company.
  • To reward high achievers/ top performers.

Moreover, businesses also look for metrics to help them recognize and incentivize the behaviors which lead to greater revenue. Software development teams, on the other hand, typically look for metrics that will assist them to justify their spending.

Benefits Of Having Software Development Efficiency Metrics In Place

The objective of utilizing accurate metrics and measurements in software development is to detect and manage what can have an impact on software development and the overall project. Using software development metrics, in particular, has the following benefits:

Improves The Performance Of Software Developers

Project managers and team leaders can gain a deeper understanding of the project and more precisely forecast probable outcomes.

They can, for example, forecast:

  • The cost of each process - You may estimate the expenses of gathering requirements, specifying and designing the system, as well as developing and testing it. This way, you'll be able to see how each action contributes to the overall project cost and set better priorities.
  • How effective each process is - Estimate how often and succinctly you provide new units; evaluate the consequences of new practices or modifications, and create process and product improvement goals.
  • How they can improve in the future - You can assess the impact of each key development activity on quality and productivity by measuring the time it takes to complete it. After that, you may evaluate the costs and advantages of several procedures to see which is the most cost-effective. You may also compare two distinct practices to see which one is the best.

Helps Precisely Map Projects

Software development productivity indicators explain performance objectives. Because they know exactly what is expected of them at work, your staff remains engaged. Metrics help you explain your goals and teach you how to assess developer productivity objectively.

Productivity metrics for software development help you discover and remove issues that impede your team's performance, resulting in happier, higher-performing staff.

Leads To Better Outcomes

The combination of the factors listed above leads to more efficient workflows and the constant discovery of new insights that may help enhance existing product life cycles. You can identify frequent bottlenecks, respond quickly, and deliver better code, faster, and for less money.

So the question is, how can software productivity be measured, given that software development efficiency is not readily traceable or observable?

We must identify variables that will allow us to assess your software team's performance - quantify each input and pay attention to the most important software metrics.

10 Metrics To Measure Software Development Efficiency

A crucial stage is determining which KPIs will ensure that a company's software staff is as efficient as feasible. It's worth noting that various developers and teams have varying efficiency rates.

However, these are some of the metrics used to measure efficiency -

  1. Lead Time
  2. Code Churn
  3. MTTR and MTBF
  4. Meeting Times
  5. Sprint Burnout Reports
  6. Team Velocity
  7. Throughput
  8. Cycle Time
  9. Bug Rates
  10. Impact

1. Lead Time

The lead time is the time it takes for a product to be conceptualized and eventually delivered to the consumer.

The length of time required is determined by the type of project and the number of software developers necessary (which affects the cost of the project). You can better anticipate the time to market for comparable future projects by measuring your team's lead times.

2. Code Churn

Code Churn can be defined as the amount of time a developer spends altering their own code; by adding, deleting, or editing in general.

Software managers and other project stakeholders can use churn to regulate the software development process, particularly its quality. It might also assist you in identifying issues with certain developers.

A high churn rate, for instance, might suggest that the team is having trouble tackling a certain job or that some patching is required, among other things.

3. MTTR & MTBF

MTTR means ‘Mean Time To Repair’ and MTBF means ‘Mean Time Between Failures.’

The ability to deal with problems such as bugs and make effective changes is integral to the development and delivery of a top-level software product. MTTR & MTBF helps tackle any new problems that may arise after a product (in this case, software) has been delivered to customers.

The MTTR metric can be defined as the average time it takes to deal with a bug or rectify an issue. The MTBF is a metric that tracks failures caused by design limitations. We calculate them by using the following equations -

  • MTTR = (Total Maintenance Time/ Total Amount Of Repairs Needed)
  • MTBF = (Total uptime/Total Amount Of Failures)

These metrics are incredibly valuable since taking too much time to fix problems can affect the performance and reputation of a company.

4. Meeting Times

Team meetings are often lengthened due to a lot of reasons - complex projects, newly found information, emergencies, etc. Even if an important issue is being discussed, it is advised that each meeting include a set time for sharing project progress and resolving any potential roadblocks.

Team leaders should compare the scheduled meeting time to the actual meeting time at the conclusion of each sprint to see if the team is working efficiently.

For instance, let us say an important meeting was held for exactly one hour. Team leaders discovered that during this one hour, only 30 minutes of productive discourse was held. After this discovery, the team leader should try to hold the rest of the team accountable and eliminate any variables that may lead to time being wasted at meetings.

5. Sprint Burnout Reports

In software development, sprints are time-boxed periods (one week to one month) during which developers must work on and complete planned tasks. Developers report their progress to the management at the conclusion of each sprint.

The managers use this information to generate a sprint burndown report that details each team member's performance.

The following are some of the key points covered in these reports:

  • Early sprint finishes on a regular basis suggest that the task assigned to team members is not up to par.
  • Consistently missed deadlines indicate that the workload assigned is excessive in comparison to the time allotted.

A steady decrease in the 'remaining values' is preferable to a sharp decrease, as the latter indicates that the labor was not distributed in manageable bits.

6. Team Velocity

The team velocity metric measures how much work was accomplished in a given sprint. It's measured in either story points or hours. This measure is highly valuable for estimating and planning future sprints' work.

It aids managers in the following areas:

  • Creating reasonable sprint predictions and expectations for delivery.
  • Make a note of any unexpected difficulties that were not anticipated during the planning process.
  • Examine whether the process adjustments have yielded any results (stable/increased velocity).

7. Throughput

This metric is used to keep track of how many tasks were finished during a sprint. Simply put, it assesses the team's overall value-added work production over a period of time.

Because it reflects the team's real-time performance, it's critical to connect the outcomes of this statistic with the business goals.

The throughput measure is useful for:

  • Detecting when the team is obstructed.
  • Identifying whether or not the team is overburdened. This may be accomplished by comparing the average throughput to the present workload.

8. Cycle Time

The entire time taken by the team to complete a task is referred to as Cycle Time. It also aids in determining how quickly a team can provide new features to users and whether or not it can handle many concerns.

Constantly collecting and analyzing cycle time aids in the identification of process bottlenecks and the establishment of more precise user expectations.

9. Bug Rates

As new features are deployed, this metric is used to track the number of bugs (defects) that are produced. A programming team may produce a product or an update rapidly, but if the code is bug-ridden, it is useless.

The Bug Rates metric aids in assessing whether or not a product is worthwhile.

Bugs may be counted in two ways:

  • The severity of the bug.
  • The number of bugs.

A team may keep track of the number of bugs sent during each sprint and define an acceptable bug count limit. Furthermore, the severity of problems should not be in the Medium to High category.

10. Impact

‘Impact’ is a tool for determining how code changes influence the whole project. It's also a gauge of how such changes influence the programmers who implement them.

This is an essential measure since code changes might cause the product's time to market to be extended, increasing its cost.

Furthermore, developers may be spending too much time implementing specific modifications, reducing their productivity, and increasing delays. As a result, major modifications with more code or files, as well as changes that are more complex to implement, typically have higher impact scores.

Conclusion

The metrics listed above are great instruments for assessing software development efficiency. People who don't know how to evaluate them or utilize them to promote improvements, on the other hand, might as well not be watching them at all.

If your team's efficiency is low, it may be time to look at the ten metrics listed above to figure out what's wrong or hire a software firm to assist you to find areas where you can improve to get better results.

This is where we come in. At PolyUno, we help you build scalable, efficient, software applications for all of your business needs. Moreover, we have helped businesses across all industries. Book a call with us today!

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