3 key Metrics to Measure a Software Developer’s Performance

Ugwu Arinze Christopher
CodeLn
Published in
3 min readSep 5, 2019

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You would agree that everyone would want to get the best out of any investment. No one wants to be unduly short-changed. In software development, it is not different. There are key metrics that gives a sense of the project’s ‘health status’, to ensure a commensurate return on investment. Before further discussion of these key metrics, it is important to define the scope of the project to be handled. Scope refers to the detailed set of deliverables or features of a project. This can also be referred to as project roadmap in an Agile development methodology. In software development, change and adaptability go in tandem. However progress should be measured, to make sure the return on investment is secured. Some important metrics to look out for are discussed below.

Code Churn

Code churn is a way to measure how the code evolves in the development cycle. That is, the lines of code added, deleted or modified over a short time. This is a very important metric because insights from it could help assess the performance of a developer or the likelihood of meeting up with deliverables.

From the code churn diagram, if there are more non-productive code, it means things are not going well with your project. Churn can also help to identify challenges faced by individual developers. A sudden increase in churn could indicate that a developer is having some difficulty achieving a particular task.

Development Speed and Efficiency

It is important to get work done quickly in agile driven development. The developer should be able to make incremental changes within a reasonable amount of time. The speed can be bench marked against the time allocated during the product road map or scope definition. When the developer is repeatedly behind schedule, it could be that there is a bottleneck or the person is under-performing.

Irrespective of the need for faster developmental changes, efficiency should not be neglected. The more efficient the product is, the higher the value of the business.

Technical Debt

This is the trade-off between software development speed and financial cost. Is your developer the type that builds products fast just to meet up deliverables such that you would always need to do refactoring in the future? Or is your developer the type that takes time to deliver a solid product that would require less maintenance? Your developer’s approach should be taken into account when trying to measure the performance of a developer. If a project is done quickly but the refactoring will be a nightmare, it will invariably incur debt for the company.

There is no general hard and fast rule for measuring developer’s performance. The points raised are recommendations based on previous projects that have been successfully implemented, there are other ways to ascertain performance when developing a product. With the right tools, every manager can devise an appropriate means to make sure that the investment made has a substantial return.

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Ugwu Arinze Christopher
CodeLn
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