Development Resources Productivity Metrics

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Please share the metrics that you use to report your productivity to non-IT execs? We currently track OT hours for the Development organization. We also report the number of FTEs utilized each month by project. What industry-accepted metrics do you use to compare yourselves to? What is an effective metric to prove to non-IT execs that they are getting their money's worth? I don't need to tell you that they feel we should complete projects faster and with less effort. Thanks.

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Sounds like you have a project-based environment. Whether you are doing app dev, infrastructure dev or ops for either, projects are usually approved based on some value proposition process involving non-it management.

If they approved the project and associated costs to begin with, seems to me that if you are tracking time and come in on time and on budget, that means they are getting what was agreed to up front – which by default means they are getting their moneys worth based on that initial value prop process used to approve the project in the first place.

As far as how “productivity” compares to industry standards, for app dev you could look at function point metrics, for infrastructure you could come up with an ROI scheme of some kind etc.

Depending on the nature of your development efforts, you might find that the effort to measure to that function point degree of granularity represents a significant cost in and of itself.

I’d suggest that your money would be better spent implementing some continuous process improvement framework like CMM/CMMi.

Good luck! We’ve gone from the glamour of 1999 to being on everyone’s radar as a cost center . . . . bummer; but it?s where we are now!

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  • Cdd1960
    Thanks for your reply. I particularly liked the first part of your message. It seems that we put such an effort to defend our productivity we forget that they went through a cost/benefit analysis of the project in the first place. We should assume that each project brings value if it receives their approval to move forward. Luckily, we do not have any issues with implementation dates and estimates. How can I address concerns that we aren't getting enough our of our resources? "You need to do more with what you have". I'm starting to track the number of projects that are being worked on concurrently (show we're not single threading). I'm also utilizing a resource allocation report that shows the FTEs used for each project each month, including OT, overhead (sick, vacation, holiday) and training. Any other ideas?
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  • Jmccart
    I can certainly identify with your dilemma. I've been in the technology field for 25 years and it has always been the same. That doesn't mean that the situation is hopeless, it just means that reporting metrics are not the answer for you anymore than the number of nails driven by your housebuilder makes you confident that the work is progressing as rapidly as possible. It's important to track what we do when developing an application, but we can't forget that the only value that we bring to an organization is in implementing the tools that we build, not in preparation for implementation. Some suggestions: 1. Try to find a champion among each of the departments that can be involved (ownersip) in intermediate testing and help spread the word among their peers about the good progress you're making. Many in senior management get their views from their direct reports who get their views from their direct reports, etc.) 2. Try to establish a strong relationship (I've found that asking one to be your "coach" is a tremendous benefit) with senior management and make sure you don't use technical jargon when conversing. 3. Remember that when humans don't understand a process we tend to discount the value it brings to the end product. Try to build that understanding that spending time in planning and design while not visable is critical to building a product that will be robust yet flexible enought to meet the competitive demands faced by your company. Good luck, advice is easy, execution is hard.
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  • HighlandRanger
    Sorry for the late reply, been away for a few weeks. I guess to some extent we are dancing around the issue. If the direct question is how do you get more out of your people, then I guess we are talking straight metrics. Track time, set a baseline, establish goals for improving the baseline based on input from the people asking you to squeeze more out of your staff and then flood their carburetors with reports. Waste of time and bad for morale? You bet. But other than the measure, baseline, improve algorithm attached to "hard" numbers, or some other way to measure/set goals/report, not sure what else you can do. My only other thought would be to follow the example set by a large pharma company I have done consulting for over the years. They established an internal marketing role as part of their project team for every major project ? a dedicated FTE. That person?s job was to promote the project and/or resulting system and declare victory LOUDLY and OFTEN. This role functioned as a professional cheerleader and salesperson who promoted the project, targeting all stakeholders; users and management etc. As a CTO and a technologist at heart, it offends me. But realistically, it may do the trick-and that?s what counts! Again, good luck.
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