Using Software Project Metrics

Don Beckett

Software measurement by itself does not resolve budget, schedule or staffing issues for projects or portfolios, but it does provide a basis upon which informed decisions can be made. Here are examples of how to use metrics to determine present capabilities, assess whether plans are feasible, and explore trade-offs if they are not.

The modern enterprise is software dependent. Whether you develop software in house, commission custom software, or purchase and install commercial software products, software projects are an important cost component and must be well planned and executed. But top-tier business leaders are rarely involved in the day-to-day management of software projects. Their job is to make decisions that affect a firm’s strategic direction, policies and profitability. Business leaders can, however, establish procedures and practices that help projects succeed. This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Basing plans on actual past performance is a core principle of any successful enterprise. Try imagining sales, revenue forecasting, budgeting or inventory management without this vital context. Managing a software portfolio and planning for ongoing development activities should be no different. Earlier in this series we identified three problem areas for software projects: budget (cost), schedule, and staffing.  …

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