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Best Software Engineering Metrics to Improve Sprint and Retrospectives Meetings

Best Software Engineering Metrics to Improve Sprint and Retrospectives Meetings

Save time and money and create productive meetings in your company.

Most IT companies structure their work processes with respect to the Agile method, generating numerous meetings with the engineering teams throughout the year. Normally, sprint meetings are usually organized weekly, while retrospectives are held every two weeks.

Retrospectives need, therefore, better data to introduce an effective and productive meeting, saving time and money to companies. In this sense, to make retrospectives clear, Project Managers have to clearly define which software engineering metrics will be the best to improve the processes of the next weeks.

At this point, Team Leads must ask themselves which are the best key metrics to correctly structure the meetings.  While it is true that they may be different between different companies, in Scope we have defined 5 software engineering key metrics to make more efficient and effective Sprint and Retrospectives meetings:

1. Time of Tasks (Pull Requests)

Whether if you are CTO, Project Manager, Scrum Master or Team Lead, you know how difficult is to know how much time tasks and projects take to be finished. To know the time invested in every Pull Request by an engineer, as well as the average time of all the Pull-Requests in a project, you are able to have a concrete idea of the time your team needs to finish everything and ship in time.

Let us understand as that the minimal measurable task (MMT) a Pull Request, that is to say, a change request in the master branch in a git repository. If the MMT is a Pull Request, being able to have an average duration of the overall processes gives us tremendously valuable information to any Team Manager in a base of time and money. They will be able to easily determine and to project future needs in product production.

In Scope this information is easily accessible through our Velocity Panel. You will know in a glance how much time your engineering team needs to finish the Pull Requests.

Average time of all of Pull Request in a specific time slot

There do exist several metrics that can be very interesting:

  1. The average time to merge
  2. Number of Pull-Requests opened
  3. Commit Frequency

2. Review Time

Every CTO knows the importance of doing good reviews. First of all, making good reviews is a good coding practice. Secondly, making good reviews improve the workflow, reduce technical debt and unexpected errors in production and avoided.

Reviews, however, are an essential piece for software engineering key metrics, since they help technical teams to better organize the code and the roles inside the teams and, in consequence, they improve the processes, making the team be more effective and productive. Reviews give a very positive impact on the productivity of every software company.

Frequency and Average Review Time of an Engineer

Scope is a tool that ables to easily understand different aspects related to code reviews:

  1. Are reviews being done?
  2. Who is doing the reviews?
  3. How much time take reviews to be done?
  4. How much time needs engineers to receive a review for their Pull Requests?

Solving these questions we have an overall idea of how the code is being organized.

3. Time Engineers take to Open new Pull Requests

It is very common inside software industry to ignore how much time engineers take to open new tasks. Having control over the time that teams and engineers take to open a new Pull Request is a good DevOps metric.

Actually, the most common practice is to open small Pull Requests so they are more easy to review and to push to production. Reducing the error rate in deployment increases in a high percentage of the technical debt and save costs to software companies.

Time to Open a new Pull-Request by an Engineer

When settings goals and priorities in sprint meetings, Team Leads, and Managers want to better drive decisions so their teams get better results weekly. Reducing the weight of every Pull Request and the time to open new ones enhance the proclivity of developers, encouraging good coding practices inside the teams and better structuring all workflow.

4. Work In Progress (WIP) and Work Finished

Team Leads face several difficulties when visualizing the workflow of their software engineers. Scope offers a simple and visual Dashboard that helps to understand in a glance the workflow of the whole team inside a repository.

The workflow of a Software Engineer in a Month

Being able to have agile and simple information about the processes of all of the engineers makes it easy to take decisions in Sprint Meetings and helps to know the results within the Retrospectives. So those decisions will be faster, more easy to take and based on data.

5. Pull Request Frequency

If we want to create small tasks, the pull request frequency will increase but this is not as bad as expected. The task frequency shows in detail the productivity peaks of software engineers.

Pull Request Frequency in a Month

Pull-Request Frequency helps s to know the days when most code is pushed. You can easily understand which days are the most productive for your team, so you can organize better the Sprint Meetings and deal with better data in your Retrospectives.

In summary, Managers have to define a series of metrics that will drive the decisions and goals in Sprints and Retrospectives meetings. Define them depends in some way of the Managers, but they have to be able to find which ones suits better with their teams. This way, the workflow will be drastically increased since decisions will be easily made.

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