By Applaudo Studios




How to measure software development efficiency

Learn more about how to measure software development efficiency on every project.

Software development is a process that requires a continuous effort from the whole team in order to be successful, especially since competition in the technology sector is enormous.

Software development teams work hard to outperform and stand out from the competition. In the midst of a highly dynamic and competitive environment, how do you accurately measure the efficiency of a development team? In this article, we have elaborated on a list of metrics and key factors to measure this efficiency.

Before diving into the metrics, let’s first grasp the term efficiency in the context of software development. 

What is software development efficiency?

In general terms, efficiency is defined as the ratio of the amount of energy used to the amount of work done to create an output. But when it comes to software development, “efficiency” is the amount of software developed or requirement divided by the number of resources used like time, effort, among other examples. In other words, efficiency usually means that waste is avoided. Waste in software development involves defects, waits, overproduction, unused creativity, or extra revisions, to mention a few. 

When we talk about software development efficiency, each part of the process of software development must be taken into account to reflect the efficiency of the team. Efficiency within software development drives faster product life cycles, shorter time to market, and eventually a higher end result. Software team leaders can employ many metrics to measure efficiency throughout the process. However, the definitive measure of a software product’s performance is whether it meets the needs of the end-users and improves the company’s bottom line.

Given that efficiency in software development is not directly traceable or measurable, we need to determine factors that will help us measure the performance of your software team.

Factors to measure software development efficiency

Determining which metrics will ensure that a company’s software team is being efficient as possible is an important stage. It should be noted that the efficiency rate is not the same for different developers and teams. However, these are some of the factors that allow efficiency to be measured: 

  • Meeting times
  • Lead time 
  • Code Churn 
  • MTTR and MTBF
  • Impact 


  1. Meeting times

    What if the team frequently lengthens its meeting times? Even if a problem discussion is happening, it is recommended that every meeting has a fixed time to share project status and solve any possible blockers. Team leaders or Scrum Masters should analyze the fixed meeting time and the actual meeting time at the end of the sprint sessions, in order to figure out if, the team is being efficient for you or not. 
  2. Lead time 
    Lead time is the time period from product conception to its final delivery to the customer. This time depends on the type of project and the number of engineers required (which affects the cost of the project). By tracking your team’s lead times, you can predict more accurately the time to market for similar future projects. 
  3. Code Churn
    Code Churn is defined as the percentage of time developers spend editing, adding, or deleting their own code.

    Churn allows software managers and other project stakeholders to control the software development process, especially its quality. It can also help you identify problems with individual developers. For example, a high churn rate may indicate that the team is experiencing difficulty in solving a particular task, that there’s a need to do some rework, among others.
  4. MTTR and MTBF 
    MTTR stands for Mean Time To Repair and MTBF for Mean Time Between Failures.

    The development and delivery of a well-performing software product involve knowing how to solve problems such as bugs and carry out efficient modifications. MTTR and MTBF help to manage loose ends also after the delivery of the software/requirement.

    MTTR is defined as the average time required to fix a bug or repair a problem. MTBF records failures caused by design constraints. To know how to calculate them, we have:

    MTTR = (Total maintenance time)/(Total number of repairs)
    MTBF = (Total uptime)/(Total number of failures)

    These metrics are valuable considering that taking too long to repair can affect the performance of the business.
  5. Impact
    Impact helps to measure how changes made to the code affect the overall project. It is also a measure of how those changes affect the developers who carry them out. This is an important metric, as code modifications can prolong the product’s time to market, thus making it more costly. In addition, developers could be spending too much time making certain changes, which could negatively affect their productivity and increase delays. As a result, large changes such as those involving more code or files, and changes that are more difficult to perform, have higher impact scores.

We’re here for you

The metrics stated above are excellent tools for measuring the efficiency of software development. However, people who don’t know how to analyze them or use them to foster improvements may as well not be monitoring them at all. If your team’s efficiency is falling behind, it may be time to check out the five metrics mentioned to identify where the problems are or turn to a software company that can help you spot opportunities for improvement to achieve positive results. 

At Applaudo Studios we provide you with highly skilled software developers who use these insights to help you achieve your business goals. Achieving efficiency in software development leads to an increase in product ROI, improving the development process, reducing costs, and better managing workloads. 

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