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What Are Engineering Metrics? 8 That Will Elevate Your Team

What are engineering metrics, their role in business success, available tools and how they can strengthen the development team.
October 21, 2021 • Alex Doukas

Businesses can grow quickly. In fact, the goal of almost any business endeavor is to grow, strengthen a position, and earn a share of the market. The market, of course, is far from static—especially when it comes to technology. Actually, tech can change so rapidly that even the slightest lack of adjustment can be a serious setback or even catastrophic in some cases.

As organizations grow, they have to reevaluate their processes to scale successfully. Processes that might work for a small company won’t cut it for a larger one. Therefore, it benefits you to have tools in your arsenal that can determine the quality of a software product and help you figure out how this product can further improve.

In this post, we'll explore the definition of engineering metrics and their role in business success. Also, we'll look at some of the available tools and how they can strengthen your development team.

First of all, let's cover the basics.

Table of Contents

What Are Engineering Metrics?

Certainly, the concept of metrics is familiar, even if you don’t realize it at first. To measure your height, you might use centimeters, feet, or inches. To measure weight, you use pounds, kilos, or stones.

But what happens when you want to measure software?

Well, this is where engineering metrics come in handy.

Engineering metrics provide a standard of measurement for a software product. As you develop software, several activities are happening. You want to measure those activities to have a better estimation of the effort and the size of the project.

Measuring the software can help you make many predictions. These include:

  • how much effort it's going to take to develop it
  • what the budget should be
  • the most sensible schedule to follow
  • how long it'll take to complete
  • what resources you'll need
  • your productivity levels

In general, engineering metrics are necessary to understand how a company performs. They can provide valuable insights into the present and future success of a company.

Measuring the right indicators will help you accelerate delivery, maintain a positive culture, and translate development activity to business value.

What Are the Most Useful Engineering Metrics?

Lots of metrics are available. Each organization has different goals, so it's important to select the most appropriate metrics. And understanding the most useful engineering metrics can help you decide which ones can benefit your development team.

Measuring the right indicators will help you accelerate delivery, maintain a positive culture, and translate development activity to business value. So, what should modern development leaders measure? Let's look at eight valuable metrics.

1. Cycle Time

Cycle time is one of the most important metrics of a software development team's efficiency. It describes how much time the team needs to complete a specific task from start to finish. In other words, it tracks how quickly a development team brings value to the end user. The goal of a development team is to have a low cycle time.

Short cycle times lead to higher revenue and a more efficient organization overall. Monitoring cycle time provides development leaders with a clear view of potential bottlenecks that might clog the delivery pipeline.

2. Deploy Frequency

With deploy frequency, you measure how often your team releases code to production. One of the goals of a development team is to release smaller chunks of code and to do so more often. This makes deployments more manageable to release and to test. Also, it increases the overall quality.

3. Rework Ratio

The rework ratio indicates the amount of code that needs to be rewritten after the team delivers it to the end user. Having a high rework ratio percentage could signal a series of problems. For example, there could be insufficient communication or a problematic review process that might lead to future quality issues.

4. High-Risk Branches

This metric indicates the number of code branches that have a high rework percentage. The risk is bigger when you have to make more changes. Therefore, branches with a high rework percentage also have more risk that could lead to low quality.

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5. Investment Profile

With the investment profile metric, you can measure the time a team spends on various types of work. This can vary from fixing bugs to handling non-functional tasks. The investment profile metric represents the type of work on which the team members spend their efforts. The goal is to determine if resources are distributed accordingly so that the actual investment area matches the expected investment areas.

Linearb investment profile

6. Context Switching

Context switching indicates how often team members have to move from one issue to another because of various roadblocks. If there's a lot of context switching, it signifies that most likely the team is inefficient. In this case, appropriate changes should take place to help a member or the whole team to focus.

7. WIP Balance

The work in progress (WIP) balance metric allows you to determine if work is distributed evenly across your team members. With this metric, you have an overview of how much work each team member has. Also, you can avoid circumstances where some members are overwhelmed, while others are underloaded.

Team health

8. Days Worked

Keeping team members happy and fresh is necessary. The days worked metric measures how many days a team was active during the iteration and allows you to avoid burnout.

Want to learn how to run a data-driven dev team? LinearB provides several more metrics that prove beneficial for engineering leaders.

Linearb combines technical and business data and provides a single source to development leaders.

How to Gain the Most Out of Engineering Metrics

Keeping track of all these metrics is a time-consuming process. And time is a luxury that most teams don’t have! What can you do to solve this issue?

LinearB offers a project board that was created with the needs of dev team leaders in mind. We provides valuable insight to development teams, allowing them to perfect their software delivery process.

LinearB combines technical and business data and provides a single source to engineering leaders. All the necessary information you need to make decisions is on a single screen.

Tracking Engineering Metrics with LinearB

LinearB is easy to use. You can connect with your preferred Git provider. From there, it runs without having to input more data manually. LinearB correlates and analyzes Git data, project data, and team interactions. It offers development leaders metrics that are easy to understand.

LinearB metrics measure the delivery pipeline efficiency to prevent bottlenecks and iteration delays. It flags inefficiencies and makes suggestions in real time. This can increase the delivery performance of the team and minimize frustrations. If your team's metrics can measure delivery predictability, that leads to higher quality products.

Furthermore, LinearB offers metrics that can keep a development team on track to meet its objectives. The metrics LinearB measures are team oriented instead of being focused on individual team members. They aim to help teams maintain a healthy culture against individual performance metrics.

Implementing the right engineering metrics provides development leaders and business executives a language that both parties can understand.

The Benefits of Engineering Metrics

Engineering metrics provide valuable benefits for organizations that develop software.

  • They can help increase the overall quality of the product.
  • They can increase team productivity.
  • Metrics can even help you reduce costs by alerting you early on about problems that may show up in all stages of the software development life cycle.

Implementing the right engineering metrics provides development leaders and business executives a language that both parties can understand. This helps both groups to have a deeper understanding of the product so they can control and plan efficiently.

The metrics that you saw in this post, combined with specialized metrics that platforms such as LinearB offer, are a powerful tool. They can provide the competitive edge that modern software development teams need.

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