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Top 16 Software Development KPIs for Measuring Team Performance

Top KPIs For Software Development

There is no doubt that software development requires high-quality performance. Such achievement does necessitate a continuous evaluation of numerous metrics. Setting software development KPIs is a great approach for staying accountable to your goals. They can also help you to measure your digital team’s strengths and weaknesses to further work on them and enhance outcomes. 

In this article, we dive deep into important metrics in software development that you should consider for your development team. 

1. Velocity                                                             

2. Sprint Burndown

3. Release Burndown

4. Cycle Time

5. Cumulative Flow

6. Flow Efficiency

7. Availability

8. Reliability

9. Serviceability

10. Code Coverage

11. Code Stability

12. Code Simplicity

13. Code Churn

14. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

15. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

16. Customer Effort Score (CES)

16 KPIs of Software Development

Software development KPIs demonstrate how well your development efforts are aligned with company objectives. 

I’ve seen a few companies use KPIs like lines of code, number of commits, and deploys. Nevertheless, they can be deceptive as they don’t match the ultimate goals. The KPIs you select for custom software development demand a great deal more nuance. Furthermore, business scalability should be a fundamental aspect of performance indicators for software KPIs. The question when setting metrics is not only what does the development team need to accomplish but also how do they add value to the business?

We can classify software metrics into 5 categories:

  1. The formal code metrics analyze the code quality by looking at the lines of code, complexity, instruction path length, and overall development process.
  2. The productivity ratio of developers investigates the effort and time invested in the software development project.
  3. The testing metrics show how thoroughly the digital product is being tested and provides a comprehensive picture of the work’s quality and completeness.
  4. The operational metrics evaluate the effectiveness of system maintenance and stability.
  5. Customer metrics display whether or not clients are satisfied with the recently launched software product. 

With that being said, let’s have a look at some common KPIs that are used to regularly track and analyze the performance of different phases of the development process.

Work in progress

Velocity

Velocity chart

In Agile development, projects are usually divided into sprints which are centered on particular tasks. Each sprint contains many functions that need to be finished before the end of the workday. Hence, you can use velocity metrics to track the amount of work your team can fulfill in a sprint. 

There are several techniques for measuring velocity, with story points being the most popular measurement. It indicates an estimate of the overall effort needed to execute a product backlog item or any other workload fully. Agile teams usually employ story points to understand the size of the task and their prioritization. 

Digital teams usually take around three sprints to get a solid idea of their average velocity. With velocity, you can determine how feasible the team’s objectives are.

Sprint burndown 

Sprint Burndown chart

Sprint burndown is a more narrow metric that counts how much work is done during an iteration. 

Keep in mind that sprint burndown differs from velocity, which is an estimate based on several averages. Ideally, it should be averaged to portray the lowest possible number of tasks or work hours. 

Sprint burndown as a metric assists teams in closely monitoring their performance when it falls short of expectations.

Release Burndown

release burndown chart

While the sprint burndown indicates the number of completed story points during the sprint and how close the team is to accomplish them all, the release burndown demonstrates the progress of how many Features or Epics have been completed during the release (which can be a single or combination of many sprints). 

A release burndown chart can help development teams determine whether they’re behind, ahead, or on schedule. The chart also makes it easier to update stakeholders about an ROI-post release or inform customers of delays or early launches.

Process Health and Bottlenecks

Cycle Time

cycle time breakdown chart

This software development metric demonstrates how much time is spent on a particular task to assess the efficiency of the development process. The lower the cycle time, the more code your team is delivering. This KPI enables you to objectively evaluate your digital team’s performance and roughly estimate how quickly they will accomplish upcoming tasks. To better comprehend the work quality, you can also stack all the cycles for a specific period and compare them to other data.

Cumulative Flow

Cumulative Flow Diagram

Cumulative flow is a visual diagram illustrating the stages of your software tasks or tickets. Applying a color scheme to highlight various phases of the project, the chart shows the distribution of tasks across the development stages. 

Different colors represent different phases, such as ‘’Approved’’, ‘’In-progress’’, or ‘’Backlog’’. These colors are then organized in bands, with the bandwidth corresponding to cycle time. This makes it easier to track all the tasks’ status in the development process and detect when the work-in-progress limits are exceeded. 

A cumulative flow chart is an excellent tool for monitoring the team’s work output and holding them accountable for consistent performance.

Flow efficiency

Flow Efficiency Chart

 

Flow efficiency is the ratio between active working time and the total time. To calculate the metric, divide the time you spend working by the overall cycle time. If your flow efficiency is low, it might be a sign of waste - items stuck in a wait state for some reason. 

It also sheds light on the distribution of work across multiple waiting periods. You can correlate low efficiency with specific periods to better comprehend what caused the shortcomings.

Software Performance

Availability

This performance metric calculates the percentage of time that the tailored software is operational under normal circumstances. Robust availability features permit the solution to continue functioning even amid errors. They often isolate the broken element and remain operating at a decreased capacity. Less capable systems, on the other hand, could malfunction and become debilitated.

Reliability

This software development KPI refers to the likelihood that the system will achieve specific performance standards and provide expected output for a defined time under known conditions. It might be enhanced by features developed to prevent, identify, and fix software flaws. Instead of delivering imprecise results, a reliable software program will discover and attempt to resolve those or isolate and report them. 

Serviceability 

The serviceability of software relates to how quickly and easily a software system can be repaired or serviced. Availability and serviceability are inversely proportional. If the time for the former increases, the latter decreases. 

Some software systems are built to automatically alert the service center once they spot a fault. The goal of the metric is to ensure effective repair work with minimal disruption to regular services. 

Code Quality

Code coverage

CODE COVERAGE

Also known as test coverage, this metric reveals how much of your source code executes during testing. It’s frequently applied to examine test-driven development practices and continuous delivery processes.

Be careful not to overestimate how many lines have been covered. Additionally, closing a test isn’t always possible by just calling a line of code several times. Instead, it should be utilized to emphasize the code that has been covered and might interest testers.

While attaining 100% code coverage doesn’t imply that the code has been rigorously tested, it indicates that you have emphasized the codebase and the most crucial features of the project development. 

Code Stability 

Measurement of code stability is relatively challenging. Stable code means that there aren’t many modifications made to the custom software that might be detrimental to the company or the product.

Some development teams determine to chart the frequency of code changes, while others define stability as the proportion of deployed code that experiences downtime. 

Code Simplicity

This KPI can be assessed via different metrics. The common one is cyclomatic complexity, which quantifies how many distinct paths your code must follow to complete a task. The fewer the path, the better it is.

Code simplicity can help you to anticipate the risk throughout the software development and testing stages while identifying which parts of the code contain the most bugs.

Generally, simpler code is simpler to test and maintain. Forcing developers to refactor their code into numerous sub-methods could lead to them making it more difficult to understand. The risks associated with new developers’ long-term onboarding can also be decreased by having code that is easy to read. 

Code Churn

Code churn

Code churn is a metric that gauges how frequently changes are made to the code. If the code needs to be rewritten to handle a new feature, it can result in high maintenance.

Despite being primitive, code churn can be utilized to assess code stability and identify unstable and stable development stages.

You can look for patterns in code changes to spot problems that the task-generation approach could cause.  When noticing spikes in code changes, it’s vital to inspect which tasks generate the spikes to prevent creating unstable code. 

The stability of your software product is crucial prior to a release. An increasing trend might indicate that the code will be more likely to be rewritten before the scheduled launch date, causing instability.

Usability and UX metrics

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS-1

NPS quantifies a customer’s willingness to recommend a software product to their friends and family. It helps spotlight areas needing improvement, computes the loyalty levels and user satisfaction.

This KPI is typically obtained directly from users through surveys and should be collected periodically with teams.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT-1

 

This metric shows how satisfied users are with your digital products and services. Based on their user experience, clients will rate the software on a scale of 1 to 5. The evaluations provide an overview of a consumer’s opinion of the product, enabling you to spot and address any potential problems.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES

This usability metric allows you to measure how simple it is for a customer to interact with your business via the software product to make a purchase, submit a support ticket, etc., on a scale of 1 to 7.

Benchmark

Despite providing specific measurements, KPIs are still constrained: how can you tell whether a number is good or bad?

Hence, benchmarks are essential for development teams to rate performance and pinpoint areas for improvement.

BENCHMARK-1Source: Linearb

Closing Thoughts

These above metrics are essential to increase team productivity and optimize the custom software development process. 

To ensure that your software KPIs align with business objectives and are measured accurately, consider collaborating with KMS Solutions. Our developers are highly skilled and experienced in establishing KPI dashboards to accomplish goals consistently. Schedule a meeting with us today to get a free consultation on your project.