Setting up KPIs for Software Development Teams

Key performance indicators or KPIs are essential to measure the performance of your development team. They are a standard way to evaluate if you are able to achieve your goals. KPIs are used not only in development but also to measure various business processes’ performance. At Reintech, we also advise our clients to use KPIs for their development projects to generate the most returns.

The approach makes it 33% more likely to achieve success, as you document your goals. Therefore, KPIs are a must for development teams to attain positive outcomes and stay on track.

Additionally, KPIs can provide vital information and help achieve long-term business objectives. You can also generate crucial insights and refine your sprints for better results.

Let’s explore how you can set up KPIs for your project and measure your goals.

How to Determine the Right KPIs for Your Software Development Team

Selecting the right KPIs is crucial for measuring your objective accurately. The process is pretty nuanced and often challenging, as you have countless KPIs to choose from. Worst of all, relying on the wrong ones can give you a false sense of success or failure.

As a result, you should research well and select the metrics that align with your team. Additionally:

KPIs should be Measurable

KPIs should always be quantifiable. Qualitative metrics don’t have any place in software development.

Therefore, get rid of any KPI that is not measurable.

KPIs should Generate Business Value

Every KPI you choose should allow you to track specific business values. Therefore, don’t count the ‘lines of code’ you write to measure the performance of your agile development team. It doesn’t provide any insight and ignores aspects such as code quality.

Instead, you can use code stability to get a better picture of your team’s performance.

KPIs should be Actionable

The insight you gain from a KPI should enable you to take action for improved outcomes. However, counting the lines of code your team writes doesn’t lead to any meaningful action.

Rather, you should measure your code stability. If your code needs too many changes, you can act on it and write better code.

KPIs should be Legit

Managers don’t need to come up with metrics out of their heads. The software development industry already has enough KPIs established with adequate documentation.

Therefore, you can zero in on the right metrics based on your needs with a bit of homework. It is similar to the screening you do when you hire JavaScript developers to pick the best talents.

KPIs should be Easy to Use

You shouldn’t have to reinvent the system to measure your goals. Therefore, use metrics that are easily available and simple to implement.

You don’t need to make any substantial changes to your current processes.

Next, we will take a look at some popular KPIs you can try to measure your development goals.

Top KPIs to Measure the Performance of Software Development Teams

As noted earlier, businesses can choose from a plethora of metrics that apply to their development processes. Below are a few you can adopt to assess the success of your development outcomes:

1. Team Velocity

Team velocity is a popular KPI that lets you measure how much work your team completed in a sprint. You can use several factors to assess your team velocity, like:

  • Hours worked by each member
  • Amount of completed tasks
  • Story points

You can measure your velocity across a few sprints to find your team’s average velocity. After that, you can take steps if your team velocity falls below the average value.

However, don’t use your team velocity as a standalone metric to evaluate performance.

2. Release Burndown

This metric is helpful to determine if your deliverables are achieved within deadlines. The KPI focuses on your release progress and whether you are on track. The findings allow you to refine your scope of work to meet the deadline or communicate the delay to stakeholders.

Additionally, you can forecast how long your team takes to complete a project.

You can measure your release burndown using a chart. Note down the number of sprints on a vertical axis and the remaining work on a horizontal axis on the chart.

Some development tools like Jira come with release burndown charts.

3. Sprint Burndown

Agile teams work in sprints of 1 to 4 weeks to achieve rapid development. Therefore, a metric is necessary to measure the performance of your sprints.

Teams can rely on the sprint burndown KPI for the purpose, similar to the release burndown metric. You can use a chart with the X and Y axis to determine how much work your team completes in a sprint. Pitch your time against one axis and work completed against the other.

The process allows you to stay aware of any bottlenecks that arise during your sprints.

4. Cycle Time

Cycle time is a simple metric that goes a long way to track your development team’s efficiency. It measures the time your team takes to complete a task, like fixing bugs or resolving tickets. Best of all, you can use this KPI very easily without any change in your processes.

All you need to do is count the hours, days, or weeks your team needs to complete a task.

5. Code Coverage

Code coverage is an important metric for any software development team. It allows you to determine your code quality, which is vital for making reliable apps.

You need to measure how much of your source code executes during testing. If your code execution rate is low, your coding may have bugs or errors.

You should always aim for high code coverage to boost your performance. However, may not be possible to attain 100% code coverage.

Final Thoughts

KPIs are essential to track how well your development team is performing. They supply meaningful information and help you improve your development processes. Choose your KPIs with due consideration so that you can measure your performance accurately. Additionally, you can try some of the metrics from our list for a proper assessment.

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