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    The 7 Crucial KPIs for Software Development

    Tuhin Bhatt's image.
    Co-founder of LAD

      Published on September 20, 2023

      7 min read

    You’d agree with me that every development team must have a list of set goals for their development operations, yes?

    Having key metrics that track and monitor your team’s performance makes meeting software development goals feasible.

    Without these metrics, you’d just be part of the 25% of teams who are always behind on their goals.

    Why are KPIs an important measure in development operations though?

    It is simply because of the need to consistently deliver quality and reliable software.

    The growing demand for better apps & software places great responsibility on developers to constantly upgrade their skills.

    Since software development processes can have many twists and turns, having KPIs is a great way to make things less complex.

    In this article, we’ll dive into what KPIs are, their importance, and the most important KPIs in software development.

    Without further ado, let’s dive right down into it.

    What Are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

    Simply put, Key Performance Indicators are measurable yardsticks that gauge the overall performance of an operation.

    In most technical work settings, KPIs are a great way to stay true to your goals because they show you how well your efforts align with your objectives.

    Choosing the right metrics requires a certain degree of precision, as some KPIs are deceptive.

    For example, using KPIs such as lines of code, number of commits, and number of deploys isn’t such a bad idea if you’re still into the traditional software development methodologies like waterfall method for development.

    However, present-day software teams may see that method as outdated and rigid, and would prefer to use the Agile Model.

    Because of this, modern software development teams have been able to set up better KPIs, which we’ll talk about later in this article.

    Why Are KPIs Important?

    For any software development team, satisfying your client is a top priority, and being intentional about how you complete any project is equally important.

    This simple intention is why making sure your team has dedicated KPI metrics is particularly essential in delivering quality software.

    There’s also a high chance of finishing your project without exceeding your budget if your team has a KPI they have to meet at a specific time.

    Having an organized metric also helps you track and identify issues that may arise in the process, and allows you to prioritize what is more important at the time.

    In essence, having KPIs for your software development team helps boost team productivity.

    9 Must-Have KPIs of Software Development

    By now, you must be well acquainted with what KPIs mean and the role they play in software development.

    Now let’s get into which KPIs best serve software development.

    #1. Flow Efficiency

    In simple terms, flow efficiency is a measure of how smoothly your project goes through the development process.

    It measures the time that was spent actively working on the task in comparison to the total time it took to complete that task, and this includes every idle time.

    Think of it as a way to check if your project is running at full speed, or if there are any bottle-necks that slow down the process.

    A high flow efficiency usually indicates that your task is moving as fast as it should without any sudden delays which is a good thing.

    A low flow efficiency means that you encountered a setback or your project got delayed, and this indicates room for improvements in your process.

    #2. Code Coverage

    Code coverage uses an automated test to measure your source code quality.

    Think of your source code in this case as a book, and a set of automated tests as proofreaders.

    Code coverage simply tells you how much of that book has been reviewed.

    A high percentage would imply that your code has been inspected for any probable problems, which is good.

    Code coverage is not a guarantee that your code is completely bug-free as it only examines the code that has been tested.

    That said, you should always aim for a higher code coverage because it usually means you’d have to do less debugging.

    #3. Sprint Burndown

    While using the Agile methodology, the sprint burndown monitors the progress of the team during a sprint.

    It uses a chart to visualize how much work is left to be done over time

    The vertical axis of the chart shows the amount of work that remains using story points, while the horizontal axis represents the duration of the sprint.

    It is a visual tool that shows the team is either ahead or behind schedule and permits adjustments to be made.

    #4. Release Burndown

    Just like the sprint burndown, the release burndown is also a visual tool, although with a different function from sprint burndown.

    Release burndown monitors the process of finishing all the planned features and user stories scheduled for a specific release date of software.

    It provides data that can be shown to stakeholders and even the customers, updating them about delays or possible early releases.

    It’s a straightforward way for the software development team to see if they are still on track for a scheduled release date.

    #5. Code Stability

    This typically measures how the code holds up under several conditions and scenarios.

    It assesses the software’s ability to function as expected without unexpected crashes, errors, or other issues.

    Code stability is a critical KPI because it directly impacts the overall quality, user satisfaction, and maintainability of a software product.

    A high code stability score simply means that the software is less likely to crash or produce errors when it’s in use.

    #6. Cycle Time

    The cycle time typically measures the time it takes the team to finish a particular task by measuring the time the task is actively being worked on.

    Simply put, it begins when the task is taken up by the development team, and any member of the team begins working on any aspect of the project and this is referred to as the starting point.

    The ending point of the cycle time is measured when the task is completed and meets its criterion for ‘done’, The criterion could be a review or documentation.

    #7. Code Simplicity

    The code simplicity entails writing codes that are easy to read and understand, avoiding unnecessary complexities.

    Its goal is to make the code more sustainable and reduce the possibility of having bugs

    This makes it easier to work with new team members and also improves collaboration among team members.

    #8. Cumulative Flow

    Cumulative flow is another visual tool that assists both the team and stakeholders in monitoring the progression of work as they move through several stages of the development process.

    It is capable of identifying when work is accumulating in a particular stage and informing the team to make adjustments which ensures a smooth job and a more feasible delivery date.

    #9. Code Churn

    Code churn refers to the amount of time a code is changed or adjusted within a specific period of time.

    It measures how often amendments are made to the code and the size of the changes that are being made.

    High code churn means that the developers are frequently tweaking the code, making amendments, or adding new features.

    Excessively high churn could make the code more complex and lead to the rise of bugs.


    The above-mentioned software development KPIs are top-tier metrics that will help gauge your development process and reduce complexities.

    Additionally, they boost efficiency and help align your software development process with scheduled timelines, which is crucial for your business and your customers.

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    Co - Founder

    Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of London App Development (LAD), a leading Web and Mobile App Development Company. He helps passionate entrepreneurs build amazing tech products. Tuhin being a peoples man who has a passion to share his technical expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.

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