Suitable metrics

Using processes means that we can gather information (metrics) to help us improve and justify our initiatives. Metrics is the one of the many impressive terms used by consultants (like me) to make something simple sound clever, mysterious and worthy of large fees. It is true that implementing sophisticated IT dashboards requires a lot of knowledge and experience, however for small development teams the simpler the information presented the more useful it is. Metrics are a set of consistently presented numbers that tell use on a regular basis how well we are steering the ship. i.e. Are things getting better or worse? Are we delivering what we committed to? The Pareto1 principle tells us that 80% of our problems come from 20% of the system we are working on, with metrics we can find out which 20% so that we can do something about it

Metrics are used to for two purposes

  1. Team improvement initiatives:
  2. Communication with the customer

So what are useful some metrics and how can they be used? Here are some example suggestions:

Other tools, as well as using a ticket system:

You will probably have an intuitive feel for the major issue with your current approach. Metrics allows you to test that assumption and satisfy yourself that you have done something positive about it. The core principal is that metrics should be simple and useful. Note that as our processes improve and we do more projects , which metric is useful will change and it will be necessary to re-tool the metric reports. Make sure you capture that in a ticket as well!