Measurement Primer

In this primer, I will briefly address how measurement is focus and how without measurement, there is no conversation.

I will introduce some software product metrics, along with some suggestions from a business and project perspective.




“..“when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it;

when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind;

it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science”.”

— William Thomson, a.k.a. Lord Kelvin


Figure 1: Business Metrics

* What does management do with the metrics and reports they receive?

* What decisions are made based on metrics and reporting?

* What types of processes/activities are in place to realise these decisions?

* Were the actions relevant to business outcomes?

* What information do decision-makers need to run the business?


Figure 2: Project Metrics

* How are project metrics (e.g. financials, resource utilization) collected, and by whom?

* What decisions are made based on project metrics and reporting?

* What does management do with the metrics and reports they receive?

* Are metrics used to define and evaluate the success or failure of a project?

* What mechanisms are used to track ROI?

* How does your organization use ROI feedback to improve organizational performance?


Figure 3: Software Development Metrics

* % documented features tested and % code coverage provide key indicators, along with # of defects along with their severity (and preferably effort estimates)

* % change in [Deliverables] due to [Prior Stages], #changes in Deliverable following review

* %grade of [All Deliverables] compared to objectives


Figure 4: A Limited Set of Metrics to Achieve Focus

* Success rate with organizational change, which may sometimes be described as average project success rate (as determined by project controls – e.g. cost, schedule, quality)

* Precision/improvement of estimates

* Return on investment (up-to-date, for all past initiatives)

* Average project length /slippage — with intermediary controls such as % of fulfillment and variance

* At the project level , % change in project scope and test plans



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November 11 2012