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What Are Software Metrics? How Can I Measure These Metrics?

by | Aug 23, 2022 | General

Monitoring software development team productivity can provide crucial insights into productivity. Software efficiency metrics are often used to track various characteristics of an application. Understanding the software metrics is important in determining software performance. The analysis of metrics allows you to optimize the process of application development and application modernization. This article examines the definition of software metrics, outlines the different categories of metrics discussed and describes the benefits and disadvantages of using these tools for measuring productivity.

What are software efficiency metrics?

Software efficiency metrics are software characteristics that you can measure or quantify. Companies use them for evaluating software system performance, planning workflows, evaluating the effectiveness of development teams, and for many other purposes.

Software metrics help you manage the development process and track the progress of your work. They allow you to analyze the quantitative results of the work and evaluate its quality. This enables you to optimize the workflow and predict the team’s performance.

Why should you track development processes?

Tracking the software development process allows companies to improve it, minimize costs and achieve greater results. To achieve these goals you can use software efficiency metrics.

Using software development metrics, you can move your business from its current state to where you want it to be. At the same time, you can track certain stages of your business development.

First, you need to determine the current metrics of your company. Then implement different changes in the software development and compare the next results with the previous ones. In this way, you can optimize workflows and increase the productivity and efficiency of your team.

Here are some important reasons you should track software development metrics.

  • Identifying problems in software development and prioritizing areas for improvement.
  • Efficient planning and management of workloads, resources, and estimates.
  • Reducing costs and the number of malfunctions.
  • Evaluating and improving employee performance.
  • Increasing your return on investment.
  • Evaluating the quality of the software development project.
  • Diagnosing the operation of the software, timely identifying problems, and troubleshooting.

How do software metrics lack clarity?

Often, there are multiple ways to count or measure software metrics. In the absence of a standard definition of metrics, comparing software development projects by any metrics is incorrect. The values ​​of the same software efficiency metrics can vary greatly depending on the method used to calculate them. Therefore, it is very important to define a method of measurement and agreed units of measure that you can use throughout the life of the project.

In addition, it is also important what metrics you track and how you use them. For example, if the developer has written a large number of lines of code, then this does not guarantee that this code is high-quality. If you track only the number of errors, developers can avoid solving complex problems, thus reducing the number of errors and increasing their performance. Companies should consider what software efficiency metrics really reflect the status of the project and developer productivity and efficiency, and only track those ones that add value to the project and development process.

What Are Software Efficiency Metrics?

What to measure with software development metrics?

Before you start monitoring software metrics, it is important for each project to determine which metrics are important and affect the project development process. Correctly chosen metrics help to improve the quality of software, understand how reliable, safe, and secure it is, and analyze its performance and efficiency. Below we will consider what are the groups of software metrics.

  1. Performance metrics. The performance of software developers is an indicator that allows you to understand how much time and effort they need to spend to solve a certain number of tasks or to develop certain software.
  2. Quality metrics. With quality metrics, you can track the compliance, reliability, maintainability, compatibility, portability, security, usability, and performance of your software.
  3. Forecast metrics. This group of metrics allows you to predict the number of hours required to complete various tasks and to forecast negative factors that can have a significant impact on the software product. They help to analyze root causes and detect systematic changes in forecast accuracy as early as possible.
  4. Customer satisfaction. These metrics allow you to understand how users rate the quality of the software project and how satisfied they are with using it. Using a customer satisfaction score, you can identify weak points in your software product and improve them.
  5. Security metrics. You can analyze the information security, efficiency, and profitability of the software.

How to measure software metrics?

It is important to use software metrics that you can easily collect or calculate and analyze. Otherwise, the process of collecting metrics can take a lot of time and effort, which will interfere with other important tasks. In addition, for effective use, software efficiency metrics must meet certain criteria:

  • Easy to receive and calculate.
  • Programming languages independent.
  • Easily change and adapt.
  • Have well-defined units of change.
  • Ability to test for accuracy and reliability.
  • Relevant for the development of high-quality software products.

There are several guidelines for the correct use of software metrics:

  1. Link software metrics to goals. Some examples of the goals include reducing the number of errors, speeding up the process of completing tasks, etc. Having a set of developer productivity metrics as targets makes it easier for programmers to achieve important goals, such as improving the quality of software, and improving user experience.
  2. Track trends, not values. It is important to monitor not the exact values ​​of the productivity metrics, but the trends in their change over time. This gives more information about software development and how it changes depending on certain activities.
  3. Set shorter measurement periods. Using shorter periods of time to analyze metrics allows the software development team to analyze their progress in time and determine how well they are developing. If necessary, they will have time to adjust the work process to achieve greater results.
  4. Use only those program metrics that affect the result of work. There are a number of software metrics that do not measure the quality of the software or the team’s workflow. Managers and developers should only track software metrics that contribute to progress towards goals and provide verifiable, consistent indicators of progress.

To optimize the process of calculating and analyzing metrics you can use special software development platforms.

How can software efficiency metrics be used?

Project managers, developers, and other team members can use software metrics for a variety of purposes.

  1. Project management. Based on the data obtained from previous iterations of the project, managers can plan the time, budget, and resources needed to complete the next iteration, and also adjust some workflows.
  2. Analysis of the state of the project. Using software efficiency metrics, the project owner can assess the current state and existing problems of the software, as well as find solutions to these problems.
  3. Early detection of errors. Some metrics point to software failures before they are discovered by users, allowing software developers to fix them in time.
  4. Task prioritization. Sometimes software engineering metrics allow you to determine which tasks should be completed and in what sequence. For example, if you find software bottlenecks or customer satisfaction is low, it is better to spend time improving existing features than developing new ones.

What are examples of software metrics?

There are a lot of different software performance metrics. However, not all of them are important for different software development teams. For each specific project, you need to choose those metrics that will matter to it, depending on the goals that the development teams face.

Let’s take a look at a few software metrics examples that can be tracked by software development teams.

  1. Task completion time. This is the time that will determine how long it takes to develop ideas and implement them into the software.
  2. Team speed. This is an internal software development metric that shows how many program modules a team completes in a given amount of time.
  3. Efficiency. This software metric shows the amount of productive code contributed by a software developer.
  4. Code churn is the number of lines of code that have been changed, added, or removed in a given time period.
  5. Application crash rate is the number of application crashes divided by the number of times it is used.
  6. Mean time to repair is the time from the discovery of a security breach to the deployment of working remediation.
  7. Defect elimination efficiency. This is the software development measurement that is calculated as the ratio of the number of defects after a product is delivered to the number of defects before it is delivered.

Thus, the measurement and analysis of software efficiency metrics allow you to improve the quality of the product, and increase the software development productivity and efficiency of the software development teams. However, to achieve the best result, you should only select important metrics for your project that may affect the workflow.

Ready to put your software metrics into practice?

Take a look at Visual LANSA and our other software automation solutions like aXes.