Monday, April 6, 2015

Software Development - Metrics vs Practice

Every organization looking for more and more metrics and especially wherever I go as agile coach and consultant to talk about agile adoption or improving software engineering practices. Many time management fails to explain objective behind so many metrics. While talking to management, what I have felt that these metrics sometime initiate violent communication in team that leads to lack of trust. Organization should focus more and more on building practices and better innovative processes that will automatically help in meeting objective. Metrics needed for sure because it helps organization in deciding future course of action but metrics without practice will demotivate team that result in poor product quality. 

Some of the basic example:-

80% code coverage - What is the reason for this metrics? This is to judge individual performance or ensure code is maintainable? If objective is NOT well communicated to team and practices for clean code is not established then what team member will do? Team may end up meeting 80% code coverage by any mean to satisfy metrics but what about objective?

Similarly there are many other metrics like "defect ratio", "defect per feature", "Code complexity", "team velocity", "estimation accuracy" etc. These can be easily manipulated if team doesn’t know objective behind these metrics. There has to be a process for defining metrics and every metrics must have clear objective. Before measuring ensure there is a practice setup and practice and metric both are aligned to single objective.

Measure outcome not output.

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