Article written by Brett Miller
Measuring the effectiveness of your software developer(s) can be tricky (even if you have a perfect set of Key Performance Indicators). It’s a little like dealing with a serviceman where you put your trust in their abilities and knowledge, hoping that unnecessary replacement parts and labor time are not tacked on. So trust is an important factor, but not the only factor in this equation.
KPI Software Development Indicators
If you have already arrived at that point where you are beginning to question effectiveness … chances are it’s a sign something is wrong. The challenge is that the performance risk indicators that caught your attention may not necessarily be the direct fault of your software developer(s). There are many potential sources from which issues can appear in the development process … and all need to be understood and evaluated.
From my personal experience, I would have to say the single most problematic issue is the requirements not being clearly understood and communicated from the beginning. In years past as an independent contractor, I used to joke that a job posting would say one thing, the recruiter would explain it as another, the client would explain it as still another and (as you’ve probably already guessed) when I actually went to do the job … it turned out to be something different than any of the initial descriptions. Suffice it to say, in such cases productivity is sidelined while defining the work becomes the priority.
Software Development Qualifications
In a nutshell, effectiveness is a function of the software developer’s technical knowledge, practical experience, application exposure, and communication abilities. Within any particular venue, one software developer may be able to complete a task in one tenth the time of another. Yet in a different venue the positions of those same two technicians may be reversed. It is for this reason that I firmly believe a software development company is preferable to hiring individual software developer(to augment your staff). A good quality software development company should be experts at completing projects in the most effective way possible through clear communication and proper assignment of tasks based on skill.
Key Performance Indicator Evaluations
Evaluation of a software development program can also be tricky because so much is based on the knowledge of the individual doing those evaluations. For example, a code review is a perfectly acceptable way to determine if new code is documented and written in the same fashion as previous code. However, as obvious as this might sound, this evaluation method cannot be used by someone who isn’t familiar with coding.
Software Development Key Performance Indicators that may help …
1. Is the overall attitude of the software developer positive? Does it seem like he (she) enjoys the job?
2. How quickly does he (she) grasp the requirements of a project and is then able to communicate it to others?
3. During the requirements gathering phase does the software developer ask probing questions to help identify true needs? If not, the scope of the project may change as development occurs.
4. Are the requirements thoroughly documented before development begins?
5. Does the software developer present a clear plan of how the process will proceed? Does this include an estimate of the number of hours the project will take and when it should be complete?
6. Is progress being demonstrated throughout every phase of the project?
7. Are the estimates for hours and delivery dates you were given being met? If not, then why not?
8. How many bugs are caught in testing? Why did these occur?
9. Do you review the progress of each project to determine if something could have been improved?
10. Does the application work the way you intended it? Are there subtle things wrong?
If your responses to the KPI questions and ideas presented above are not satisfactory, consider working with another software developer. Or try outsourcing smaller projects to a web development company or another developer… evaluate each separately.
Effectiveness is critical to the livelihood of your business. You pay a premium for software development … your results should be exceptional!
Here is another article on KPIs, which includes a specific set of criteria which can be applied to measure effectiveness: