Developers
September 23, 2020

What are Some Top Software Development KPIs?

The right KPIs can provide invaluable insights into your software development process.

Software development can be one of the most challenging endeavors to succeed. Competition is fierce and it can be difficult to predict what products or services will resonate with customers.

To make matters worse, software development has significant technical hurdles to overcome. Regardless of how gifted a team of programmers is, it can be a challenge to create software that works as well as planned, especially on the myriad of devices and configurations in existence.

To increase the odds of success, it’s important to monitor key performance indicators (KPI) to measure how a project is doing, whether development teams are meeting their goals, and more.

Here are some of the top KPIs every software development team should be monitoring.

Lead Time

In the world of software development, responding to customer requests and bug reports is often what separates success stories from failures. A responsive developer or development team can quickly gain a loyal following simply by addressing feature requests and issues as quickly as possible.

As a result, monitoring the lead time between when a request is received and when it is rolled out in the next version is critical.

Cycle Time

Closely related is cycle time. Cycle time is the amount of time a feature or bug fix takes to go from one phase of development to the next. This can be an invaluable insight into how well a development team is functioning, and how quickly it is addressing issues.

Commit Size

Commit size is important, but often overlooked, KPI. The bigger the commit to a version control system, the more difficult it can be to track bugs and potential issues. In contrast, smaller commits are easier to test, debug and fix as needed.

Open/Close Rate

Open/close rates help an organization keep track of how many issues are logged, versus how many are addressed and closed. This can shed light on the overall efficiency of a development team.

Velocity

Another important KP is velocity. This is often used in Agile environments to help measure how much work is completed in a “sprint.” Velocity refers to how many “units” of software a team completes during a sprint, with the units being whatever measurement has been previously established.

Code Stability

Code stability is an important measurement that addresses how much an organization is impacted by software and coding changes. It doesn’t matter how brilliant a new feature may be if it brings an organization to a halt because of bugs or broken workflows. As a result, it’s important that any code changes and software updates are stable enough to not impact the overall productivity of the organization.

Change Fail Percentage

No matter how careful a software development team maybe, a certain number of rollbacks, hotfixes, and failed production changes are inevitable. These could be because of a missed bug that made its way into production, or it could be an OS or platform update that introduces an incompatibility. Whatever the cause, failed changes must still be kept to a minimum. Keeping track of the change fail percentage can provide valuable insight into a development team’s effectiveness.

Application Failure/Crash Rates

It’s been estimated that 62% of users will delete an app that crashes, freezes, or experiences an error. That means it’s imperative to closely monitor the failure/crash rate of an application and respond quickly.

Security Flaws Found Via Testing

Security testing should be a priority for every major software development team. Just as important, however, is monitoring the results of that testing to see which direction the project is trending. As the project matures, the number of discovered flaws should decrease. If not, there is an underlying issue that must be addressed.

Number of Endpoint Incidents

This KPI helps an organization determine how many security incidents have impacted various endpoints. What those endpoints depend on the type of software being developed. For internal software, it could be the local workstations that experience an incident. For commercial software, it could be the number of end-users who experience an issue.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

In the world of security, response time is king. The longer a breach goes unanswered, the more potential damage is done. As a result, MTTR is one of the most important KPIs a software development team can focus on. As with security flaws found via testing, the MTTR KPI should decrease over time. If it begins to increase, it could be indicative of a greater problem and will likely see a corresponding rise in one of the above KPIs. For example, it could be the size of commits has increased significantly, making it harder to track down the root cause of a security issue.

Conclusion

KPIs are an important part of the software development industry. Being able to accurately measure the efficiency and effectiveness of a development team is a vital part of seeing what’s working and what needs to be improved.

TagsSoftware DevelopmentKey Performance Indicators
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersSeptember 23, 2020
What are Some Top Software Development KPIs?
The right KPIs can provide invaluable insights into your software development process.

Software development can be one of the most challenging endeavors to succeed. Competition is fierce and it can be difficult to predict what products or services will resonate with customers.

To make matters worse, software development has significant technical hurdles to overcome. Regardless of how gifted a team of programmers is, it can be a challenge to create software that works as well as planned, especially on the myriad of devices and configurations in existence.

To increase the odds of success, it’s important to monitor key performance indicators (KPI) to measure how a project is doing, whether development teams are meeting their goals, and more.

Here are some of the top KPIs every software development team should be monitoring.

Lead Time

In the world of software development, responding to customer requests and bug reports is often what separates success stories from failures. A responsive developer or development team can quickly gain a loyal following simply by addressing feature requests and issues as quickly as possible.

As a result, monitoring the lead time between when a request is received and when it is rolled out in the next version is critical.

Cycle Time

Closely related is cycle time. Cycle time is the amount of time a feature or bug fix takes to go from one phase of development to the next. This can be an invaluable insight into how well a development team is functioning, and how quickly it is addressing issues.

Commit Size

Commit size is important, but often overlooked, KPI. The bigger the commit to a version control system, the more difficult it can be to track bugs and potential issues. In contrast, smaller commits are easier to test, debug and fix as needed.

Open/Close Rate

Open/close rates help an organization keep track of how many issues are logged, versus how many are addressed and closed. This can shed light on the overall efficiency of a development team.

Velocity

Another important KP is velocity. This is often used in Agile environments to help measure how much work is completed in a “sprint.” Velocity refers to how many “units” of software a team completes during a sprint, with the units being whatever measurement has been previously established.

Code Stability

Code stability is an important measurement that addresses how much an organization is impacted by software and coding changes. It doesn’t matter how brilliant a new feature may be if it brings an organization to a halt because of bugs or broken workflows. As a result, it’s important that any code changes and software updates are stable enough to not impact the overall productivity of the organization.

Change Fail Percentage

No matter how careful a software development team maybe, a certain number of rollbacks, hotfixes, and failed production changes are inevitable. These could be because of a missed bug that made its way into production, or it could be an OS or platform update that introduces an incompatibility. Whatever the cause, failed changes must still be kept to a minimum. Keeping track of the change fail percentage can provide valuable insight into a development team’s effectiveness.

Application Failure/Crash Rates

It’s been estimated that 62% of users will delete an app that crashes, freezes, or experiences an error. That means it’s imperative to closely monitor the failure/crash rate of an application and respond quickly.

Security Flaws Found Via Testing

Security testing should be a priority for every major software development team. Just as important, however, is monitoring the results of that testing to see which direction the project is trending. As the project matures, the number of discovered flaws should decrease. If not, there is an underlying issue that must be addressed.

Number of Endpoint Incidents

This KPI helps an organization determine how many security incidents have impacted various endpoints. What those endpoints depend on the type of software being developed. For internal software, it could be the local workstations that experience an incident. For commercial software, it could be the number of end-users who experience an issue.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

In the world of security, response time is king. The longer a breach goes unanswered, the more potential damage is done. As a result, MTTR is one of the most important KPIs a software development team can focus on. As with security flaws found via testing, the MTTR KPI should decrease over time. If it begins to increase, it could be indicative of a greater problem and will likely see a corresponding rise in one of the above KPIs. For example, it could be the size of commits has increased significantly, making it harder to track down the root cause of a security issue.

Conclusion

KPIs are an important part of the software development industry. Being able to accurately measure the efficiency and effectiveness of a development team is a vital part of seeing what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Software Development
Key Performance Indicators
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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