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Software metrics are those characteristics of a software which are measurable and quantifiable.
Software metrics are usually an important component of quality assurance, management, debugging, performance, and estimating costs, and are handy for both developers and development team leaders.
What are the benefits of software metrics?
Productivity: Software metrics are key in improving the quality of a software project. From the metrics, developers are able to identify, track, prioritize and also communicate problems that occur in between with a view to solving them.
Manage workflow: With software metrics, developers could know the status of the project, the challenges, areas of improvement and opportunity areas.
The one thing with software metrics is that they are not just about the figures. Majorly, they should result in efficiencies, proper decisions and an overall great software.
Companies that use metrics focused on the volume of output would generally end up with more code. The flip-side of all these is that you could end up with poorly written codes, unresolved issues of debugging and lower quality of software.
As an industry rule, you should not just measure software metrics because they can easily be accessed. Rather, you should employ the use of software metrics because they add value to the quality of the software and the company bottom-line.
How to use software metrics
In a sense, software metrics completely remove the pressure on software project managers. It happens to be their own little way of ensuring everything is in the right order.
Key features of software metrics
- Relevant to what is to be achieved. For example enhancing the quality of software.
- Adaptable and simple to calibrate.
- The metric should be simple and lack ambiguity.
- Easy to determine and validate their accuracy.
Of note is that there exists a ton of software metrics that can track whatever properties you are seeking to address. However, what actually make sense are the specifically, identified metrics that add value.
Using software metrics the right way
To increase the productivity of your team, at one point or another, you would realize you need to track certain aspects as you proceed with the project.
Reducing amount of bugs reported: As a software metric, you would generally need to improve efficiencies by ensuring your team developers report few bugs.
Increasing number of software iterations: To increase the productivity of your team, you would need to measure how fast your team is in generating code and cleaning up the overall software system.
Fast-track completion of tasks: Most agile metrics focus on productivity of the software development team. Usually, project managers have to put their feet down to ensure the schedule is followed to the latter.
As a means to achieving this end, they employ metrics that put developers on toes to ensure they adhere to the strict timelines that characterize software projects.
Use trends not figures
The secret to project success lies in the monitoring of trends and not figures. While the numbers indicate your current state, trends could come in handy to ensure you are on track
For example, if your team posts a figure of 45% effectiveness and posts another figure of 48% effectiveness, this is a great trend. While you may want them to move up to 90% productivity, this trend is promising.
Another way to use software metrics is to set shorter timeframes. Doing this ensures that you can track performance in a short time and effect necessary changes.
Similarly, you will need to avoid metrics that do not lead to significant changes. Either in the quality of software or in the productivity of the team.
The number one goal of software metrics is to ensure you are in total control of your team’s productivity, challenges and opportunities at any given time.
Your ultimate goal is to ensure that you only use metrics that add value to your software and the productivity of your development team.