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Top Software Development Metrics To Improve Productivity

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Every software development company aims to improve the application development performance, improve their scrum team’s efficiency, and keep watch over the quality levels of products and project development cycle. 

At a glance


Software development:

It is application development (involving design, development, and testing) using specific programming for a particular task. There are two types of software development frameworks,  namely the Waterfall and the Agile method. Unfortunately, the waterfall method is relatively old and outdated, and difficult to implement when the program complexity increases. 

So, we are implementing the Agile method in all software development since in the Agile framework, and the software is tested during the development process, making it easier to deliver successful software.


Metrics are measurements that evaluate and monitor the software development process and its performance during the software development cycle. These are used to measure the progress of a project to avoid a high failure rate in software solutions, low-quality products, late deliveries, and less productivity. The performance will be in terms of speed, productivity, accuracy, and quality.


Scrum is the method to implement Agile technology, which is a software development method.

Scrum teams:

A group of people who work together to get a project done in Scrum, a framework in the Agile methodology of software development. It helps in managing the projects in application development.


Scrum teams partition the development of a project based on the time that lasts 1 to 2 weeks, called sprints. At the outset of the sprint, team members’ prognosis is how much work they can accomplish during that particular sprint.

User Stories:

It is the breakdown of the requirement used to jot down how a project or software feature will deliver value from the end-user perspective.


Types of software metrics:

Software metrics are the measurement of all activities, from setting a goal to designing the project to developing and deploying the software application. It can be project or product metrics and process metrics which measure productivity, quality, speed, etc.

  • Formal code metrics: It is the previous method to analyze the maintenance and code quality which involves debugging, troubleshooting, integration of new functionalities. Though it is not utilized by modern software developers, these metrics are useful to understand the compliance with coding standards and to verify that the run-time errors don’t affect the software.

E.g., code complexity, static code analysis, Lines of Code (LOC), instruction path length, unit test coverage, etc.

  • Developer productivity metrics: These measures the ability of the developer team to yield desired results in terms of work done and the time needed for it.

E.g., Value of code, speed, active days, lead time, code churn, efficiency, assignment scope, etc.

  • Agile methodology metrics: These measure development process, track productivity, quality, and predictability of delivery time. 

E.g., Lead, Kanban, and scrum metrics.  Scrum metrics are Test Case Pass Rate, Percent of Test Case Execution, Burndown Charts, Defect Category, etc.

  • Operational metrics: It tracks the flow of the project operation. 

E.g., Mean Time Between Failures and Recover (MTBF and MTTR).

  • Test metrics: In a nutshell, these metrics are used to test the quality. These metrics will help in taking further decisions on the improvements in the development process which can be identified by testing the bugs and defects.

E.g., Defects in production, code coverage, and percent of automated tests.

  • Customer satisfaction metrics: It measures the customer experience with the software and products.

E.g., Customer Feedback, Customer Effort Score, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score, etc.

Read on to know the prominent software development metrics mentioned below.

1. Sprint burndown:

In this, two or three sprints are considered as 1 milestone. In other words, milestones are partitioned into sprints. The scope of achieving a milestone is fixed once a sprint begins. At last, the milestone has to be achieved within the stipulated time, which is decided by the scrum master. Then, the completed milestones are taken into consideration while evaluating the progress of the work.

Sprint burndown chart:

This productivity metric can be measured by the sprint burndown chart, which is the graphical representation of the team’s work progress. It discloses the work accomplished and the remaining work.

Read: 6 Of the Most Effective Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

The x-axis and y-axis represent time and the amount of remaining work, respectively, measured in either hours or story points. Results can be measured based on the mid-sprint line. If the progress line slopes down to the mid-sprint, it is a warning sign, you need to take immediate action on the project and team, and If the progress line is along with or in tune with the mid-sprint, then the team and work are flowing well. If the progress line is above the mid-sprint, your team’s progress is awesome. The good team progress should be in terms of remaining work, not on time spent on it.

2. Team velocity

Velocity reports on completed user stories in a sprint to predict the team’s ability to complete the amount of work in the future in a particular sprint. It is a key metric that tracks the team’s progress. It is calculated at the end of each Sprint by summing all the points for all completed user stories.

3. Throughput

Throughput, like velocity, is a measure of total work done (including tasks or chores, the number of features, and bugs completed) by the team within the sprint that are ready to test and dump.

4. Cycle Time

It is the productivity metric and a measure to determine the time spent to fix an issue related to bug or feature or task (or) the time spent between an issue “cycle” from bug state to fixed state. Every element in a task has its own cycle time.

In other words, it is the elapsed time from the outset of work on a user story or a task or a bug to its delivery time.

“It is the time between the software development idea to release of the software.”

You can track the cycle time through issue management tools such as Pivotal Tracker or JIRA. 

Based on the issue type or status, the team’s speed can be evaluated.

  • Cycle Time by issue type: The time spent from initial state to final state
  • Cycle Time by issue status: The time spent in a particular status either initial state or final state

5. Release Cycle Time:

Release Cycle Time is a metric that measures speed. It helps in identifying the improvement areas and set expectations. In addition, it helps in raising the flags, process the inefficiencies affecting the delivery, and predict future software releases.

6. Escaped defects and Defect density:

Last but not least, this is one of the key metrics of software developer productivity metrics. Defects come under the quality measure. It evaluates quality.

  • Escaped defects: This metric is to identify the bugs after the release of the software.
  • Defect density: It is the measure to identify the number of defects in the product and also helps in estimating the defects in future sprints.

7. Customer Feedback

Incorporating the feedback forms regarding functionality, software features, and its design, performance, etc., into the development process will lead to the improvement in the software. 

You can also set an online poll with Net Promoter Score (NPS)  to know customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is an accurate method to calculate and measure customer opinion. On a scale of 0-10, the score is broken down into 3 categories such as 0-6: Detractors, 7-8 Passives, 9-10: Promoters. It is like a star-based online review.  

Benefits of software development metrics:

  • Productivity, Reliability, Quality, Speed, and Performance measure
  • Estimation of the cost of the project
  • Testing for bugs and find out the key areas for improvement
  • Evaluation of the entire process 
  • cost-effective approach
  • Better management of 
  • software development
  • Enhanced customer loyalty
  • Monitor the team’s performance
  • Quality assurance of software and products
  • Monitor the time consumed for each stage of the development process

These are to name a few. Also, we have many metrics, as mentioned in the types above, which help improve productivity.

Need to evaluate all the aforementioned metrics for all software development?

It depends!

It depends on the business goals.

Wrapping Up:

To sum up, every business goal is 100% customer satisfaction with accurate and bug-free software development. For this, you need to identify the underlying problems during the whole cycle of the application development process with the help of the aforementioned software development metrics. Then, trying to implement them in the process will help in the growth of productivity of the company or business.

Author Bio:

I’m Madhu, a Digital Marketing Lead at Tvisha Technologies. It’s one of the leading Mobile App Development Company He has a big appetite to read and write which helps to motivate many startups Indian App developers to reach out their apps to a maximum number of people.

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