Tracking productivity in software development can have significant and far-reaching impacts on an organization's economic success. For modern businesses having the right insights is crucial for making informed decisions to maximize productivity. This is especially true in tech and software, where complex processes like software development and deployment depend on highly performant teams. Today we’re looking at some of the key benefits of using data to improve software team productivity.
Why measure software productivity?
These days, process data is becoming more and more essential for making confident choices to improve efficiency and drive ROI. This is particularly important when it comes to securing budget approval for improving critical areas of software development, expanding developer capacity to support existing products, or pursuing new projects with the potential to drive business value.
How do you track developer productivity?
A popular method for tracking developer productivity uses the DORA metrics. They are commonly used to measure productivity in DevOps-based development teams as they provide insights into:
- Successful deployment rates
- Speed from development to deployment
- Development quality
- Responsiveness and resilience
These are, at their core, extremely important for maintaining a highly productive and effective development operation. However, DORA metrics can often fail to provide sufficient diagnostic power. That’s why it’s often a good idea to track more detailed metrics for team and individual developer productivity as well.
What are the benefits of tracking productivity in software development?
The benefits of tracking productivity in software development are gaining recognition from software-reliant businesses as they seek to gain a deeper understanding of their development processes. This in turn has driven greater interest in mining process data to aid in tracking productivity. By putting greater attention on measures of development productivity, leaders in tech are gaining valuable insights–helping them to make more informed decisions. With more data-driven decision-making steering strategy, organizations are more empowered to improve team efficiency and drive positive business outcomes.
Development monitoring and measurement platforms like Foreworth’s offer a range of helpful metrics that complement DORA metrics and provide deeper, more precise insights into the development process. Here are some of the key benefits our partners have been seeing.
1. Improved efficiency
One of the primary benefits of monitoring developer productivity is that it can help businesses to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in their development process. By tracking the time and effort that developers are putting into different tasks, businesses can get a better understanding of where they are spending the most time. This helps with identifying areas where efficiency can be improved.
With insights like these, tech chiefs have a clearer idea of where they need to invest to improve the process. What’s more, measuring performance before and after remediating actions have been implemented provides ongoing feedback. This empowers the organization to quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t, saving time and money in the long term.
For example, if you notice that one of your developers is consistently taking longer to complete tasks than their peers, you may want to look into why. It could be that they are facing more difficult or complex tasks, or it could be that they are encountering bottlenecks or roadblocks that are slowing them down. While visibility at this level can often be hard to come by, Foreworth’s platform helps by providing objective and standardized developer productivity scores month by month, allowing users to track their contributions across applications. This in turn helps to pinpoint where issues are occurring. By taking the necessary steps to address them, businesses can improve their overall efficiency and reduce the time and cost of software development.
2. Enhanced quality
Another way in which monitoring developer productivity can contribute to better profits is by helping businesses to identify team members who are consistently producing high-quality code. You can also use these insights to learn which of your devs are struggling. By tracking the productivity of individual developers, businesses can get a sense of which developers are consistently meeting or exceeding expectations, and which ones may be falling short. This information can be invaluable.
First, identifying top performers and providing them with additional support or resources helps them continue to excel. This could mean providing additional training, mentorship, or more challenging projects that allow them to continue to grow and develop their skills (while expanding your organization’s product offerings).
Second, tracking the developers who are performing below expectations helps with identifying their challenges and providing them with the support and resources they need to improve. This could include things like additional training, coaching, or support from more experienced developers. By helping struggling developers improve their skills and productivity, businesses can improve the overall quality of their software. It also helps with growing and retaining valuable talent which can lead to better capacity and more secure software development operations.
3. Greater accountability
Monitoring developer productivity can also help with holding developers accountable for their work and ensuring that they meet expectations. By tracking the amount of time and effort that developers are putting into different tasks, businesses can get a better-rounded view of how they are meeting their targets and deadlines. If a developer is consistently falling short, it could be a sign that they are not working to their full potential or that they are facing obstacles preventing them from performing to their full potential. Whatever the case, getting to the root of declining developer performance should always be a high priority.
By holding developers accountable for their work, it’s possible to improve motivation and morale, helping software teams to work harder and more efficiently. By setting realistic expectations and monitoring ongoing performance it’s possible to increase accountability across teams. This, in turn, can lead to improved productivity and better profits. It’s important to remember, however, that while accountability is important, so are flexibility and understanding. Supporting the psychological safety and confidence of your developers is essential to maintaining a high Developer Velocity Index.
4. Better resource allocation
Monitoring developer productivity can help businesses to make more informed decisions about how to allocate their resources. By tracking the productivity of individual developers, businesses can get a sense of which developers are the most effective and efficient, and which ones may be struggling. This can make a huge difference when making tough decisions on where and how to allocate resources to support the software department.
With a tough economic year ahead, businesses everywhere are tightening their belts. With shrinking budgets and higher demands on tech investment ROI, CIOs and CTOs will need to decide where to best allocate limited resources. In some cases, allocating more resources to high-performing developers might pay off by supporting their ability to perform. On the other hand, reallocating resources from underperforming developers to other areas of the business where they can be more effectively used might be a wiser strategy.
Without the right insights into performance, making these decisions can become more difficult. Basing your resource decisions on data and evidence rather than assumptions or guesses can help improve how you handle these strategic decisions.
Get started with measuring productivity
With finely tuned metrics and KPIs, organizations can more easily identify areas for improvement or remediation, leading to more efficient development efforts, reduced waste, and higher returns on investment. Monitoring developer productivity can contribute to better profits for software-reliant businesses by improving efficiency, enhancing quality, increasing accountability, and enabling better resource allocation. However, developer teams are often wary of monitoring platforms and there can be pushback on implementing them. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful article to help you learn more about getting your teams on board with productivity tracking.