Software development metrics – how to measure the performance of your team

Organizations operating in a complex changing market need to be very careful when choosing the metrics that are to be collected during a software project. In the end, gathering too much information that is not relevant can hinder the performance of the team, making it impossible to achieve your business objectives within the allotted project timeframe. 

Why do we need metrics? 

If we make a change to the product, we need to have software development metrics that allow us to assess the possible effects. This provides data to quantify the reality before and after the change. It is essential to carefully select the metrics, ensuring that they do not disturb development processes, and the values ​​themselves are not vulnerable to distortion.

However, metrics should not be defined and analyzed only when we make a breakthrough change. If we are using agile methods, the main goal should be continuous improvement, meaning constant evolutionary process modifications, organizational changes, and empirical product development. 

Difference between business metrics and agile metrics

In any agile project, it’s vital to track business as well as agile metrics. To compare those two, the agile metrics measure aspects of the development process, whereas business ones focus on whether the solution is meeting the market needs. It is also worth noting that each business project plan must include key performance indicators (KPIs) that define its goals. ‘s also a good idea to add success rate for each product requirement, including the end user’s acceptance rate or the percentage of code that is self-tested. 

Software development metrics. How to measure your team capacity: 

1. Key metrics to measure your team capacity  

The Sprint Burndown

The Sprint Burndown Chart is a graphical representation of the work to be done during the Sprint, which is updated after each Scrum. The principle of creating a sprint burn chart is very similar to creating a release burn chart. On the vertical axis, we put the total number of hours that we obtained after summing up individual tasks in the Sprint. 

Then, each day in a sprint, individual members of the team estimate how much time they need to complete the task they are currently working on. The chart then gives us an overall idea if the project is heading in the right direction. 

Epic and release burndown

The Epic Burndown chart presents how your team is progressing against the work for an epic. What is an Epic? It is a collection of User Stories that aggregates into one common “functionality”. That means that many User Stories make up one entity. Therefore an Epic is superior in this hierarchy, making it easier to plan a long-term strategy, i.e. a release.

In turn, the release burndown chart allows you to track and predict project progress. Based on the speed of previous sprints, you can estimate future sprints so that the scrum team can adapt the product and design to existing requirements. The chart is based on two factors: the amount of work remaining in the product backlog, and the time until the work is complete. It is best to create and update the chart during sprint reviews when everyone knows the result of the sprint. 


Velocity is the speed needed to meet the requirements that are specified by the Product Owner in the product backlog. All tasks need to be completed so they can be assigned to Definition of Done. By tracking Velocity the team knows its speed, whether it is stable and the percentage of predictability. Moreover, the Product Owner can present the metrics to all stakeholders who use it to plan the backlog, i.e.

Control chart

Control Chart presents the Cycle Time for the product, version, or Sprint, showing how the cycle time has changed. It also shows the mean and the acceptable limits for deviation from the mean. A control chart includes the time spent by each issue in a particular status over a specified period. It must be noted that the less variance, the higher the confidence in using the mean as an indication of future performance. Moreover, it helps measure your team’s past performance in a retrospective, as well as the effect of a process that changes overall productivity. 

Cumulative flow

The Cumulative flow diagram contains a lot of information that can be useful as a basis for discussion or process improvement. To draw a CFD diagram, you need to know the number of tasks that are in each step of the process each day. This graph visualizes how the work went for one week, including cycle time, throughput and work in progress. Its main goal is to show you how stable flow is. This allows you to understand where you need to focus on making your process more predictable and giving you insight into past and existing issues.

2. Software development metrics. Additional metrics worth taking into account

Satisfaction metrics 

Satisfaction metrics, as the name suggests, is used for measuring levels of happiness, enabling you to find problems that are bothering your team. Jeff Sutherland argues that to gather feedback you need to ask four basic questions: 

  • “How happy are you with your team/company?” (score on a scale of 1-5)
  • “What feels best right now?” (open question)
  • “What feels worst right now?” (open question)
  • “What would increase your happiness?” (open question)

The theory behind it is the fact that happiness is strongly correlated with team well-being which in turn is a prerequisite for greater efficiency in the software development cycle. 

Team member turnover

Team member turnover indicates the health of your team. You must be aware that low scrum team turnover can be one sign of a healthy team environment. High turnover suggests you may be experiencing some problems regarding the work, individual scrum team members, burnout, ineffective product owners, personality incompatibility, or a scrum master who fails to fulfil her or his duties.

Key takeaways

When choosing software development metrics for your organization, you do not have to limit yourself to the ones listed above. It is believed that the approach to metrics should be similar to the implementation of Scrum, allowing you to improve the efficiency of the organization’s work such as quality, employee satisfaction or product delivery time.

Therefore, you should measure those parameters that are most important for a specific organization, taking into account its unique environment, problems and a different mix of different human personalities.

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