Measuring Performance

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What is it?

Performance measurement in software development, maintenance and support is a process used to evaluate productivity, time-to-market, quality and functionality for performance appraisal or benchmarking. This can be for:

  • an existing system
  • parts of an improving system
  • new systems
  • maintenance and support processes
  • or on completion of the project to function as an audit tool.

Why is it useful?

Measurement of performance provides a clear picture of current status and what changes are necessary to address any issues, whilst providing a mechanism for benchmarking and forward planning.

In addition, once required changes have been quantified the cost can be more accurately assessed which will aid the budgeting process. For a completed project, or work package, it acts as an audit tool to provide assurance that the required goals and quality levels have been achieved.

How does it work?

The various aspects of performance must be measured along with their drivers ( such as: technology, staff experience and constraints) so that the observed performance may be correctly allocated a numerical interpretation.

The entities of Products, Processes and Resources, must be identified and their internal and external attributes must be assessed for measurement. The key dimensions for the attributes of the entities are usually

  • Productivity = size / (effort or cost) - 'software size' being the measure of work output
  • Speed of delivery = size / elapsed time
  • Product Quality =defects / size
  • No of changes required

These variables are tradeable, for example it may be possible to deliver a system faster than normal by adding extra personnel, resulting in lower productivity and higher cost. Product quality may also suffer in the process. The downside of such an approach may be acceptable if the business benefits of the system are obtained earlier. Conversely under-staffed projects may be efficient, but take a long time to complete.

GIFPA Ltd. 2016
   
  
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