Metrics: The Heartbeat of Success
Metrics: The Heartbeat of Success
Find out why integrated environments for metrics are so important.
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Software products and projects have become more complex today owing to comprehensive product functionality, advanced architectures, and sophistication. Added to this is the increasing business and margin pressure, for which projects are now required to be accomplished within a short time span and with minimal resources. To achieve this, organizations constantly invest in state-of-the-art tools to make sure that every single stakeholder has the proper ammunition for on-time delivery with quality. Though organizations invest heavily in individual tools, and many projects continue to fail, leading the organizations to incur a huge loss.
Why is this? Poor visibility of proper metrics is one of the major factors behind this. With data residing in silos, generating proper metrics involving data from across various tools is a huge challenge resulting in poor control and inaccurate decision making.
What Are Software Metrics?
Data always speaks the truth and metrics is the voice of that data. Both data and metrics are the driving factors behind the success of any state-of-the-art practice in software engineering. Companies need metrics to better understand, track, control, and predict software projects, processes, and products. Metrics serve the purpose of providing information needed by engineers for technical decisions as well as information required by mid or top-level management for business decisions. For a generation of meaningful and informative metrics, every stakeholder who needs to be involved in designing, implementing, collecting, and utilizing it must understand the definition and purpose of metrics.
Some of the major factors that organizations should consider for successful reporting are:
- Measuring what matters: The goal of metrics is improvement through measurement, analysis, and feedback and this includes measures related to productivity, quality, and progress. Stakeholders should find visibility to the metrics that matter the most to them based on their roles and responsibilities.
- Metrics on Everything: Metrics should be designed and generated not only in a single phase but for all phases of a lifecycle, starting from requirements to delivery. The full picture together with end-to-end traceability should also get reported.
- Single Source of Truth: Metrics should be centrally visible to stakeholders in real time. It should be a single source of truth available anywhere and anytime.
- Monitor performance: Projects should be measured both in terms of time and cost. Metrics should be clear about whether projects are running on schedule or behind schedule and within budget. This gives a greater insight into issues or roadblocks that threaten a project's schedule or budget
Metrics for Different Phases
As discussed, metrics should be for anybody and everybody available anytime and anywhere in real time. Some examples of ALM metrics across different phases are given below:
Project and Portfolio Management
- SPI (Schedule Performance Index)
- CPI (Cost Performance Index)
- Project Health Report
- Resource work allocation report
- Investment by projects
- Demand by Project Type
- Demand Vs Capacity by Departments
- Average phase duration (in days)
- Portfolio Value Vs. Cost
Many companies today are implementing DevOps, where, other than implementing the 7C's of DevOps, metrics too play a major role. Some of those metrics are listed below:
- Applications with Most Deployments
Challenges of Generating Metrics
Though the importance of metrics is acknowledged across the industry, generating them is extremely challenging. Some of the major challenges are:
Data Residing in Silos
Data silos is a major challenge in cross-phase reporting. Companies invest lots of money to procure the best-of-the-breed tools for increasing productivity and delivering quality. However, while this global distribution of disparate tools has led to increased individual team productivity increased, data became restricted within the tools. This led to the creation of silos. As a result, even though metrics could be easily generated for individual phases, there was no central visibility on release predictability and overall project status in terms of cost and schedule.
Error-Prone and Human Dependent
As the data is distributed across tools and reside in silos, things like generation of centralized metrics and end-to-end traceability are achieved manually, thereby making the data error-prone and flexibility of real-time monitoring challenging.
Integrated Environment for Metrics
With the increasing complexities of metric generation, the need for an integrated environment has become very important. It eliminates the pain of extracting data from different tools on demand and uses offline mediums for generation of metrics. Besides, an integrated environment enables the tools to exchange data among themselves in real time. But integrated environment alone is not the solution. Some major characteristics of an integrated environment are as follows:
- Tool integration from all domain and technology.
- Storage support and an interface that can be leveraged for generating reports and dashboards using cross-tool data.
- Capable of exposing reports and dashboards based on user roles and responsibilities.
- Scalable and easily adaptable for new tools brought into the ecosystem
The need and importance of metrics at every level is getting more and more recognized by organizations these days. Organizations are investing in creating an integrated environment with a central storage for getting real-time traceability, reports, and dashboards of data residing across various tools. Proper metrics available in an anytime and anywhere manner is the key to success today.
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