4 Software Engineering Metrics Every IT Project Manager Should Consider
Measure developer productivity it’s a hard task that every IT Project Manager has to deal with. Lines of code have almost no importance while other metrics are becoming more popular nowadays.
Based on our data, software managers are trying to find the best software engineering metrics to manage the workflow of the teams and improve the efficiency inside them, creating more specific goals in every sprint meeting.
Some of the metrics that might result in essentials to IT managers are:
- Activity Days
- Code Churn
- Work Time
These metrics are all generated automatically while using a System Control Management Tool like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket or others. The thing is to aggregate those data and generate helpful insights and reports, so you as a manager can have better comprehension about the workflow of your engineers and improve developer productivity.
1. Activity Days
You probably want to know how and what are your developers working on, so you can better predict the success of the projects. It is important to establish good coding practices in your teams to reduce technical debt and deliver in time to your customers. Activity Days give you a general idea of the workflow of each of your engineers, which includes specific tasks such as writing and reviewing code, creating a better work environment among your engineers.
To have better communication among your engineers will create more productive teams. You probably know how much time managers take to plan and create successful meetings, so you can reduce significantly the time you invest if your engineers have a better idea of what others are working on: at least 1 week a month.
Considering active days you can predict when your engineers are stuck with some tasks or projects, detect the lack of motivation and protect your team’s attention to ensure the workflow is going in the correct way.
The impact is the way your software engineers change the code. Measure the impact of every task it is a difficult approach in which we are working daily to improve our algorithm, which is the one able to create that impact itself. The impact actually depends on a variety of factors: the amount of code changed, the number of dependencies affected or even the commit message.
The bigger is the impact the more will be the code and the project affected. Create a Pull Request with new 250 lines of code but that only affects 1 file will have much more impact that one Pull Request that has fewer lines changed but that affects more dependencies.
3. Code Churn
Code Churn is the percentage of the code workflow of an engineer. It normally means the frequency of lines added and deleted in every commit. Measuring the churn, managers are able to control the software development process, fundamentally indicating the quality of the process of each engineer. The spikes normally represent that something is not going as normal as it should be.
Normally, high code churns happens when the goals are not clearly established. We talked some days ago about the metrics that have a really positive impact when establishing clear objectives in sprints and retrospective meetings. This way, we can reduce drastically the lack of clarity and opacity in the goals a team and engineers have for the next week/month and etc. Additionally, with code churn, we can detect when managers are making bad decisions and making software engineers run in circles, creating a very toxic workflow for all the teams, which probably have to be interconnected, increasing the technical debt in the medium and long term.
4. Work Time
Whether you are managing a few or many engineering teams, you probably know how important is to develop and deliver in time to your customers. Having a clear understanding of how much time takes all the processes inside a project is really helpful if we want to ship things to production in time.
If your teams, for example, receive a new demand for a new customer, which asks you to provide a solution for the next 3 months, you can easily predict how much time you will need to produce that demand. This way, you will be able to have a better control of all the processes within and among your teams and create a better customer experience.
In the end, you can’t control everything so we recommend taking these metrics as a best approach to conduce your engineers and development teams to the successful!