Software development productivity measurement is the activity of recording the metrics and attributes of a software endeavour for comparative purposes.

How productive are our software developers?

Would you like to know if your team is more productive than another or than industry norms? If these are the questions that you are asking yourself then you’ll want to look more closely at benchmarking.

When you compare the activities of one team vs another within an organisation, that’s internal benchmarking. Comparing against another similar organisation is referred to as external benchmarking.

Let us first look at the most mature and reliable means of measuring functional size, as this is the core metric for measuring productivity. Having examined all the common, and many of the less common techniques, we are convinced that the COSMIC Function Point is the most reliable, consistent, ungameable and widely applicable standard. As you can see from the results below, it offers and excellent correlation to effort. In other words the effort to build and test some software correlates to its COSMIC FP size.

We recommend that the core metric used for all software benchmarking work is the COSMIC Function Point. (IFPUG FPs are fine too).

A reliable way of assessing developer productivity

Additional reasons for using COSMIC Function Points are:

  • Suited to incomplete requirements (ie. Agile)
  • Suited to almost any type of software
  • Sizing is mostly automated (by ScopeMaster®)

Software benchmarking lets you demonstrate the productivity, cost-effectiveness and quality of your software development and maintenance work. Once you know your numbers versus the benchmarks of highly productive teams, you can then start to look at improving how you work and make changes to deliver better quality software, faster and cheaper.

Using ScopeMaster we can help you assess how your team(s) perform against industry norms.

We favour the use of the Productivity Index devised by Putnam & Myers.

Software development benchmarking

Software development productivity benchmarking – assess your team

If you have a great team, why not publish your productivity index, maybe it will help you win development work?

All you need is a set of user stories from a previous project, about 1 hour and access to ScopeMaster.

  1. Take a set of requirements from a recent project. Upload them into ScopeMater. Let the analyser work out the size.
  2. Add to the productivity calculator, the total effort it took (in person days), the duration (in months), and defect removal that you achieved.
  3. It will then determine the productivity index of your team.

And that’s all there is to it.

If you are above average, say 6+ for a web team, then you are on the track to greatness. If you like, we will publish your team’s productivity index on our league table.

Beware of misleading metrics

Story points, Lines of code, T-shirt sizes, man-days are all gameable or easy to manipulate, techniques usually used for estimating effort and time. They are invariably manipulated for self purpose. Only ISO standard functional sizing methods are hard to game.