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Whether you are establishing KPIs for the first time or re-evaluating your team’s key metrics, keep these essential characteristics in mind while creating KPIs:
For a KPI to be truly helpful it needs to be concise. It needs to be both easily comprehended and measured. For example, a KPI such as “Is the function achieved as per timeline” is concise and clear. If the goal is clear, the team can make proactive decisions to influence the outcome. Compartmentalizing and tracking just a few metrics within categories such as Speed, Accuracy, Quality, and Joy can help you focus without worrying too much and get the best out of data. This ultimately helps in increasing the overall team intelligence.
KPIs should trickle down from the overall strategic goals of an organization to the daily operations of the team working on a particular project. The KPIs must be aligned, always aiding the umbrella goals of the software project. It is also important that you don’t end up with a long list of things to measure in a KPI. Use the factors judiciously to make sure you are only monitoring aspects that would help the project. Limit the factors to 4-6.
A KPI must be measurable to analyze the positive and negative variations of a goal. This does not always need to be a quantitative measurement such as “how many times a particular activity happened?,” but can also be qualitative such as “how good of a job are the employees doing at their particular tasks.” Qualitative aspects can be represented by, say colour codes or on a scale to make them quantitative. You just need to ensure that your KPI is based on a solid, focused goal.
Effective KPIs are timely such that their results are reported on an appropriate timeline, and are analysed in a relevant time period. Some indicators can be measured more frequently than others. Setting the right measurement frequency for your indicators highly depends on how often accurate measurements are available and how quickly they change over time. If you have indicators with daily accurate measurements then daily measurements are a good way to monitor those indicators. This could be something like the number of bugs found each day by the testing team.
You need to find the right balance with reporting on KPI results. While infrequent reports will create difficulty in accurately identifying trends, reporting too frequently can diminish the value of the data.
Let’s assume you have a team of developers that is working on developing and deploying an application.
To set up the KPIs, set up your key objectives. Here are a few that we use commonly
The above goals are pretty common for development projects. Of Course you can tweak or add goals as per your priorities.
Once your goals are set you can plan on the KPIs accordingly. Here are some KPIs that you can use
Cycle time measures the amount of time or the speed with which a product is completed from order to delivery. This KPI revolves around efficiency and tracks how effectively the development is managed to optimize output.
In a typical software development team, a lot happens between the start and the finish line. The following chart is an example of the usual development process.
Cycle time reflects the efficiency of the process and the tools that are being used. There is a chance that your cycle times are different in different stages of product development. In that case, you can define the parameter to be adherence to cycle time. In this parameter, you can measure how close to the timeline the project is moving at each sprint. Have there been substantial delays at each project? CycleTime can further be used to project the burndown chart where one can compare the sprint timeline estimated at the start of the project and the one achieved.
By measuring cycle time one can learn about
This metric quantifies the number of major bugs in a sprint that are found on the demo day. Performance for this KPI can be measured by setting a predefined benchmark to compare the results against. Bugs can be further divided into critical and major as well as minor. The priorities of these issues can be set in the scrum retro meeting.
By measuring bugs and errors one can
In a KPI report, a PSI provides a score that summarizes a webpage/ mobile app performance. Here is a list of different tools from which one can choose to be able to check performance. The best part is that plenty of these tools can be used by non-tech founders
The score from these tools can be determined and put into the KPI reporting.
For e.g: The page load speed can also be quantified using tools such as Google’s PageSpeed. While considering these numbers as a benchmark make sure to take into consideration the limitations of the tool and what would be considered as good performance. Like for Google Page Speed Insight, a score of 100 can never be achieved practically. Hence teams should mutually decide the score. PSI score above 80 can be considered as 100% achievement of the performance goal.
There can be multiple tools that can be used by the team to benchmark performance.
Setting up a performance benchmark will help you to
For an outsourced project, this metric quantifies the satisfaction of the customer or your client project manager at the release. This has to be measured and analysed within a week of completion of the final milestone.
The stakeholder satisfaction survey questions should be around the overall performance of the team in terms of communication, responsiveness, and timeliness and can be rated on a scale of 0 to 5.
This feedback benchmark would help you in
User Satisfaction Survey
This metric quantifies the users’ perspective on the quality of your product. The user satisfaction survey questions should be around the overall performance of the product and should be rated on a scale of 0 to 5. This survey can be done with a set of end-users at the end of the pre-decided milestones of the project. With an end-user survey, ideas are bound to come. A word of caution would be to keep improvement and ideas separate from the issues reported. Extra time needs to be allocated to inculcate feedback.
User satisfaction survey KPI would help you in
Code Review Score
Using a static code analysis tool like codegrip.tech, quality of code can be quantified. Such tools automate code review and generate a report that can be used by the team to benchmark the quality of your code.
Code Score KPI would help you to
There are many other parameters that you can measure but as I mentioned earlier, you may choose to use or not use the parameter as per the project. Choose what is important for your project.
Thinking to set up KPIs for your team? Here are a few things to consider while making a plan that really works for you
The most common KPI mistakes happen when KPIs are not clear enough. A simple way to set up KPIs is to make them SMART.- specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related. This is a sure way to avoid pitfalls in setting up KPIs.
Do not take intuition as the way to define your KPI parameters. As mentioned above, set up a meeting with stakeholders, define objectives, and narrow down on measurable indicators that lead to those objectives.
There are a lot of KPIs available over the internet but they may or may not suit you. You do not want to fall into the trap of KPIs that look beautiful but are no use for you. You need to ask “Can this metric lead me to a decision”. If the answer is yes, then only keep it.
Think about data that is consistent and real. You should not end up measuring both cause and effect. Capturing random events or lagging the understanding of cause and effect can end you up with a lot of data but very less action points
Take into account those things that are repeatable occurrences and in line with your standard procedures. For e.g page views of a viral post may not be repeatable monthly. You cannot expand on its success.
Any software project needs an execution plan. KPIs are a great way to collect the data that you require for a continuous improvement cycle. This cyclical process is designed to drive peak performance and to allow you and your team to make data-driven decisions with quantifiable results.
Of course, not everything can be quantified and some things take longer to measure effectively than others. The purpose of KPIs overall should be to reward the positive more than to penalize the negative. Hence, plan accordingly. Structure the metrics such that a minimally acceptable level of performance gets the team a pat on the back. Any performance above that level could be incentivized with a performance bonus.
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