Software Measurement

Towards Organizational Measurement Alignment and Reporting

Communicating information needs to your teams and receiving valuable reports.

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Strategic Software Management and Measurement

In any strategic-oriented organization, measurement needs and reports flow in 2 opposite directions.

Bottom-up information flow

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Top-down information flow

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Cascading goals through the organization

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  1. Measurement level: Is the goal measurement been done at that team/department level? Let’s examine a similar goal to reduce the defect backlog by 50%. Now, assume that in your Engineering department, you have a few research and development teams responsible for developing new features, a few for enhancing existing features and developing on-demand projects for clients, and, lastly, two support teams responsible for fixing defects. Does it make sense to demand a reduction in the defect backlog from the research and development team? Should they be diverted to fixing defects? Should this goal be used to measure their performance? Maybe they could have a goal related to defect density reduction on the new features they produce, but not necessarily fixing defects. This is just an example; I’m not advocating that you should divide your teams like that, ok? :-)

Be accountable, manager!

Reporting and asking for information can be tense and may cause friction. In my experience, most of it comes from people feeling they need to justify or defend themselves, and that measurement will work against them. The guidelines above will help you get through that. The other hurdle is to know when and how you need to step in. If you are managing people, you know they are doing their best, so the last thing you want to do is to tell them to “improve the numbers.” You want them to improve their practices, which will improve the numbers. If the numbers show that improvements need to happen, you should not get in their way. It’s their responsibility to improve, but it’s your accountability.

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Peter P. Lupo

Many management blogs focus on soft skills. This blog is about hard skills! Measurement, indicators, approaches, etc., for Software Engineering Management.