5 Tips for Measuring Developer Productivity

5 Tips for Measuring Developer Productivity

Be taught efficient methods to measure and enhance developer productiveness. Uncover invaluable suggestions for optimizing efficiency and attaining venture success.

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Expertise has discovered its method into each side of the fashionable office. Working prices, safety, communications, worker satisfaction and the shopper base are all a part of the know-how equation. A savvy CIO is aware of there’s a direct correlation between a high-performing IT group and a strong-performing enterprise.

SEE: Acquire Agile and Scrum expertise to assist enhance your productiveness.

As a know-how chief, you could advocate for the power to measure how briskly your workforce goes and that they’re headed in the precise path. You possibly can’t enhance what you don’t measure.

Bounce to:

Be taught from flaws in prior measuring approaches

Making an attempt to gauge how a technical workforce is delivering might be difficult. A workforce is a group of people. And within the case of an IT group, these people are performing discrete, advanced duties. Over time, managers of software program improvement groups have tried lots of approaches to measuring productiveness, the vast majority of which endure from two elementary flaws:

  1. A give attention to outputs moderately than outcomes.
  2. An emphasis on people moderately than groups.

These flawed approaches have given rise to a handful of anti-patterns that not solely fail to offer significant productiveness metrics however can result in poor workforce morale.

Strains of code

Maybe essentially the most well-known, and most hated, failed try to measure developer productiveness is counting strains of code. There’s little correlation between what number of strains of code a developer writes and the general worth that developer is delivering to the group.

In reality, rewarding builders for writing strains of code ends in code bloat and in the end incurs greater sustainment prices.


With the prevalence of Agile in software program improvement, sooner or later, some Agile coaches will possible advocate utilizing velocity as a strategy to measure your workforce’s productiveness. Group velocity, not particular person contributor velocity, is a helpful metric for planning workloads.

As a measure of productiveness, nevertheless, it falls quick. Equating velocity to productiveness will solely trigger builders to inflate estimates thereby not solely misrepresenting the workforce’s effectiveness however doubtlessly invalidating the measure’s usefulness in capability planning.


In lots of consulting organizations, a developer’s utilization — i.e. how a lot time they spend engaged on the code — is used as a proxy for productiveness. That is doubly flawed as a result of everyone knows effort doesn’t all the time imply outcomes and since this measure incentivizes venture managers to maintain builders 100% utilized.

In arithmetic, queue idea tells us that as utilization reaches 100%, lead occasions strategy infinity. That’s as a result of a 100% utilized useful resource has no capability for innovation, enchancment or change.

Take a data-driven strategy to measuring software program supply

In 2018, Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim printed Speed up, which included cluster evaluation of over 23,000 responses from greater than 2,000 distinctive organizations. They discovered 4 widespread traits within the knowledge that helped to categorize software program improvement groups as excessive performers, medium performers or low performers:

  • Lead time for adjustments: How lengthy does it take to go from code being dedicated to working in manufacturing?
  • Deployment frequency: How usually does your workforce ship software program updates to the stay buyer base?
  • Imply time to recuperate: How lengthy does it take your workforce to revive service when a failure is detected in manufacturing?
  • Change failure fee: What proportion of adjustments to the manufacturing atmosphere subsequently require remediation?
Measure Excessive performers Mid performers Low performers
Lead time for adjustments Lower than one hour Between one week and one month Between one week and one month
Growth frequency On demand (a number of occasions per day) Between as soon as per week and as soon as per thirty days Between as soon as per week and as soon as per thirty days
Imply time to recuperate Lower than one hour Lower than in the future Between in the future and one week
Change failure fee 0–15% 0–15% 31–45%

Desk supply: Speed up, printed by IT Revolution 2018.

Think about different elements that have an effect on workforce efficiency

Apart from strictly code-based measures, there are a number of cultural elements that may assist gauge how your software program workforce is performing.

  • Data is actively sought by workforce members.
  • Messengers will not be punished for delivering dangerous information.
  • Tasks are shared.
  • Cross-functional collaboration is rewarded.
  • Failures are handled as alternatives for enchancment.
  • New concepts are all the time welcomed.

Put aside time to judge the efficiency knowledge

As soon as what measures point out how the workforce is performing, as a CIO you then need to put aside the time and assets to construct a dashboard to measure. It’s possible, the info required won’t come from a single place, so that you’ll must seize and rework the info from a number of sources after which use a customized visualization instrument like Tableau or PowerBI to current it.

It’s higher to begin easy and broaden the place you’re getting essentially the most worth. Regularly, you will get many of the quantitative knowledge you want from APIs in your model management system and code pipelines. For the extra qualitative measures, think about using quarterly surveys.

Drive change primarily based on efficiency knowledge

On the finish of the day, amassing knowledge and metrics, even only a handful, is wasted effort if the group isn’t repeatedly reviewing the info and utilizing it to make course corrections.

Whilst you could get some pockets of excellence in the event you go away it to particular person groups, setting apart time as a company to repeatedly overview the metrics, collect insights and drive data-informed change is the quickest path to changing into a high-performing IT enterprise.


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