Did you know that only 17.8% of businesses are completely satisfied with outsourced software projects?
This alarming statistic highlights the critical need for software development Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure project success.
Software development is a complex process, often involving multiple teams and stakeholders.
With proper metrics in place, it’s easier to gauge progress and identify areas for improvement.
Let’s delve right into the crux of the article:
What are Software Development KPIs?
Software Development KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) refer to calculable measures used to evaluate the success of a software development team in achieving specific objectives.
These metrics involve many aspects, from initial planning to final delivery.
Software development KPIs allow you to measure your team’s performance and guide you to make informed decisions, shape strategies, and ultimately enhance the quality of your software.
For example, one KPI for software development is code quality.
It covers bug frequency or the amount of code covered by automated tests.
Meanwhile, productivity metrics include the number of features developed in a certain period.
Besides tracking the progress, these indicators help you understand how each aspect of the team’s work contributes to the overall goals and make data-driven decisions if there’s an unexpected technical problem.
10 Necessary Software Development KPIs Your Team Should Track
Understanding the right KPIs is essential for improving the software development process.
Here are the ten important ones for your team:
#1. Lead Time
Lead time measures the time taken from an update or feature conceptualization until its deployment, reflecting the team’s efficiency.
A shorter lead time indicates a more agile and responsive development process.
In other words, if the time from code commit to code deployment is lengthy, it might indicate issues with ideation, coding, testing, or approval processes.
This KPI is vital because your team can directly identify delays.
#2. Deployment Frequency
Deployment frequency measures how often a team deploys code to production, indicating a team’s agility in its DevOps practices as one of the software development models.
As one of the software development KPIs, it can reduce the risk of major errors and help address issues quickly, accelerating the development cycle.
However, the quality of these deployments is equally essential.
Deploying often without considering quality can lead to a high failure rate.
#3. Change Failure Rate (CFR)
CFR is a KPI for software development showing the percentage of changes to the codebase.
It indicates how well a team can introduce changes without causing disruptions.
A high CFR can be costly in terms of the immediate impact on service or the longer-term effects on customer trust and product credibility.
A lower CFR is the goal, suggesting that most changes improve the system without introducing new issues. To achieve this, teams often rely on rigorous testing systems and code reviews.
#4. Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR)
MTTR tells the average time it takes for a team to recover from a failure or outage.
It requires a well-maintained and up-to-date system for tracking and managing bugs and outages.
A lower MTTR indicates a team’s ability to effectively diagnose and address the underlying issue to restore service as quickly as possible.
Reducing MTTR involves:
- Improving the team’s skills and readiness.
- Streamlining communication during outages.
- Ensuring that there are clear procedures for responding to incidents.
#5. Bug Rates
Bug rates refer to the frequency at which bugs are reported in a software application, understanding the code quality.
A high bug rate indicates deeper issues within the software development process, such as inadequate testing, less attention to detail, or a lack of coding standards.
Monitoring bug rates, your team can analyze:
- The situation’s severity.
- The stages at which they are most frequently introduced.
- How quickly they are resolved.
This analysis also helps prioritize bugs needing immediate attention, ensuring that you promptly address the most critical issues to minimize poor user experience.
#6. Code Churn
Code churn measures the amount of changed, added, or removed code over a period of time, showing the stability and maturity of the codebase.
Some churn is expected and can be a sign of healthy project evolution.
Yet, high churn rates can be a red flag, showing indecision, shifting requirements, or a lack of clear direction.
Tracking code churn can help your team manage technical debt, ensuring code changes are deliberate and beneficial.
It encourages developers to write maintainable code and avoid unnecessary rework.
#7. Code Coverage
Code coverage quantifies the amount of executed code during testing.
It uses a percentage, representing the proportion of the codebase tests cover.
Teams use code coverage to identify untested parts of the codebase, critical for preventing bugs from reaching production.
Thus, it encourages developers to write comprehensive tests, creating a more stable product.
Also, it helps assess the potential risks of code changes, as areas with lower coverage might be more prone to introducing defects.
#8. Automated Test Past Rate
The automated test pass rate measures the percentage of computerized tests that pass during a given test run.
This indicates the software’s health and the test suite’s effectiveness.
A high pass rate typically means the code changes are not breaking existing functionality.
In contrast, a low pass rate can be an early warning sign of issues in the code that need to be addressed.
This metric benefits continuous integration environments, where tests are run frequently, and developers are immediately alerted to failures.
It allows teams to quickly respond to and fix issues, maintaining the integrity of the codebase.
Moreover, tracking the automated test pass rate over time helps teams identify flaky tests — tests that showcase non-deterministic behavior, which can be a source of frustration and inefficiency.
#9. Sprint and Release Burndown
Sprint and release burndown charts are visual tools tracking the completion of work in a sprint or release cycle.
These software development KPIs are updated regularly, often daily.
The sprint burndown monitors the work completed within the sprint timeframe.
Meanwhile, the release burndown provides a broader view, focusing on the progress of a release over multiple sprints.
The burndown chart’s decline should reach zero by the end of the period, showing that all planned work is completed.
If the line levels off or trends upwards, it signals that additional tasks come faster than completed ones — not enough work is being done.
Realizing this allows teams to adjust their strategies or workflows.
#10. Usability and UX Metrics
Use these measurements to check usability and UX in software engineering KPIs.
They show the end-user’s satisfaction level with the finished product.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS quantifies the user loyalty and likelihood of recommending the software to others.
For example, “How likely are you to recommend our product on a scale from 0 to 10?”
Customer Effort Score (CES)
This KPI for software development assesses the ease of user interaction with the software by asking customers to rate the effort required to use the product or resolve an issue.
The question might be, “How easy was it to use our product?” with a numerical scale for responses.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The CSAT measures customer satisfaction with a product or service at a specific interaction or touchpoint.
A possible question to ask would be “How satisfied are you with your experience?” and providing a rating scale.
Calculate by averaging the responses.
Understanding software development KPIs is crucial for steering your projects toward success and ensuring your team’s efforts align with your business-specific objectives.
They do so by pinpointing where your process excels and where it can be fine-tuned for better performance.
Some important KPIs include lead time, bug rates, and code churn.
Are you looking to refine your development process?