12 KPIs for the Software Development Team 12 KPIs for the Software Development Team
Review: 5- 5 5 12 KPIs for the Software Development Team

12 KPIs for the Software Development Team

Project Management
13 Mar 2024
13 min read

Setting KPIs for software development can be difficult and time-consuming. However, customer satisfaction and project compliance are major goals for development teams. And accomplishing goals for yourself and your organization requires measuring your team’s performance with software analytics.

Let’s research KPIs in software development that are a valuable method of maintaining accountability for achieving everyone’s goals and aligning all parties involved during the project delivery.

12 KPIs for Software Development: Tracking Team Efficiency and Productivity

What is a software development KPI?

In the world of software development, key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable metrics that track your team’s progress towards pre-defined goals. These KPIs act as a bridge, connecting your development efforts with the broader business objectives of your organization.

Think of it this way: your clients, customers, and initiatives that generate the most revenue are where your time, energy, and resources are best allocated. Revenue concentration is another crucial financial KPI that development teams should consider to ensure their efforts are aligned with this goal.

KPIs go beyond just presenting raw data. They simplify complex processes by condensing information into a single, meaningful number. It is a metric that assists in managing, reporting, and identifying important developments and KPI examples of software development. This allows for easier analysis and decision-making. By tracking KPIs, you can gain valuable insights into recent performance and identify areas for improvement, ultimately steering your software development process in the right direction.

KPIs are values that gauge the overall performance of your business. In software development, KPIs demonstrate how well your development efforts align with broader business objectives. However, choosing the right metrics is crucial. You’d be shocked at how frequently businesses pick indicators that don’t accurately reflect the development team’s performance.

Modern agile teams prioritize scalability and use KPIs for developers to achieve this goal. Agile processes enable faster application development through continuous delivery and deployment. Therefore, business scalability becomes a critical consideration for software development KPIs.

It’s not just about what the development team achieves but how their work translates into business value.

Do you want to discover more about Agile processes? Check out our article, where we discuss whether Kanban or Scrum is a more effective Agile methodology to work with.

The importance of measuring software development KPIs

In any business endeavor, achieving goals requires intentionality in your approach. By establishing clear engineering software development KPI metrics and ensuring your team is prepared to meet them, you can significantly increase your chances of delivering high-quality software on schedule and within budget.

Your KPI for software development will offer helpful context for understanding and addressing issues that arise. Effectively tracking KPIs allows you to manage specific issues and prioritize the metrics you think stand out the most. Moreover, KPIs contribute to team productivity, and therefore, team extension.

A development team operates more effectively when it clearly understands how its collective efforts affect whether an outcome is positive or negative. Either way, implementing a structured method to measure progress in the software development process leads to a higher return on investment (ROI).

KPIs are important, but firstly, you need to get into product management fundamentals to get a chance to be successful in creating any products or services.

Benefits of software development KPI metrics

Just as measuring and tracking our actions in any endeavor helps us define our goals and track progress, software development KPIs provide a valuable framework for gauging success. They allow us to see if we are on track and make adjustments as needed.

KPIs are a crucial tool for tracking development, but their effectiveness hinges on accountability. An additional advantage is that the responsible party is naturally more invested in seeing positive results. Even if their sole duty is reporting, you can bet they’d prefer delivering good news over bad, which inherently motivates them to drive performance.

Metrics are the backbone of any successful team, and software engineering is no exception. Choosing the right KPIs goes beyond simply selecting performance indicators; they should also offer clear insights into your team’s effectiveness. So, the perks of applying KPI for software developers will be as follows:

  • Improved control, planning, and transparency
  • Better output and quality
  • Predictable software sizing and costing
  • Analyzing past project KPIs creates a valuable knowledge base for future reference.

This isn’t the whole list, because KPI for a software company can also offer several advantages. Organizations can use them to:

  • Monitor performance
  • Spot issues
  • Uphold accountability.

Finally, KPIs may boost employee motivation, enhance decision-making, and connect goals with strategy.

While your business may have numerous moving parts, it is neither practical nor efficient to track everything happening internally. One reason is that not all metrics are valuable enough to track. Another reason is that keeping track of too many metrics can simply overwhelm teams.

Focus on one or two key metrics that will be most useful in attaining your goals. Remember, a few well-chosen KPIs can have a significant impact on performance, while excessive tracking can be counterproductive.

12 KPIs in software development

While there are many software development KPIs, selecting the most relevant ones for your team is crucial. Here is a closer look at the top 12 KPIs for software engineers.

Development velocity

Development velocity is the amount of work that your team can complete within a sprint.

A sprint is a predetermined timeframe in agile development during which specific tasks must be completed.

This metric is often measured in story points, which estimate the effort required for specific tasks. Story points are largely calculated by assessing the size of a software project and the amount of time needed to develop it. The average speed of your squad can be determined after just three sprints. You can assess the aims’ viability using speed.

Sprint burndown

This metric focuses on how much work your team actually accomplishes during a sprint. It differs from development velocity, which is an estimate based on averages.

When measurement doesn’t match expectations, teams can adjust their performance by using sprint burndown as a software metric. Development teams frequently utilize sprint burndown charts to depict the data they have gathered and compare time to points. These charts typically show remaining work (often story points) on the vertical axis and time (days in the sprint) on the horizontal axis.

Release burndown

This metric takes a broader view, tracking progress towards a product release that may encompass multiple sprints.

Additionally, this statistic is helpful for teams to monitor product releases. Development teams can use the release chart to determine whether they are on track to meet release deadlines or identify potential delays.

Businesses, in turn, will have reliable statistics to demonstrate to stakeholders when they may anticipate a return on investment following release. Customers might also be told of delays or early launches.

Burndown charts for releases resemble those for sprints. Sprints are shown on the x-axis, and scores are shown on the y-axis.

Cumulative flow

Cumulative flow charts show the current state of your program’s tasks or requests at any given time. Different colors represent different stages in the workflow, such as “Approved,” “Work in progress,” or “Completed.” The width of each colored band indicates the amount of work currently in that stage.

These charts are valuable for identifying bottlenecks in your workflow. By visualizing the flow of work, you can identify areas where tasks are getting stuck. This allows you to take action to improve efficiency and keep your project moving forward.

Flow efficiency

Flow efficiency is a metric that measures the ratio of active work time to total time. In other words, it tells you how much time your team is spending on productive work compared to the total time spent on a task.

In many cases, work in progress refers to time standing still rather than actual work being done. Developers sometimes need to wait before switching from one work or project to another.

Flow efficiency helps identify these situations. You can calculate it by dividing the time spent actively working by the overall cycle time. Analyzing flow efficiency over time can help you identify periods of low efficiency and investigate the root causes.

Code simplicity

A more generic software development KPI, code simplicity can be measured using various indicators. One example is cyclomatic complexity,  a numerical indicator of the number of independent pathways your code must follow. Fewer paths indicate simpler code. Simpler code is generally easier to test and maintain.

Code stability

Measuring code stability can be tricky. Even small changes to the software product might be necessary to maintain stability, potentially impacting the company or the software itself. Some developers track the frequency of code changes, while others define stability as the percentage of deployed code with downtime issues.

Code churn

Code churn metric reveals how frequently code is altered over time, and can be used as an indicator of code stability. Software that requires regular code rewrites to incorporate new features is high maintenance and thus high risk.

Code coverage percentage

Development teams utilize the software KPI of code coverage to gauge the quality of their code. It’s vital for software development life cycles that employ test-driven development (TDD) and continuous delivery (CD). This measure, commonly known as test coverage, identifies the percentage of your source code that is performed during testing.

While aiming for 100% coverage isn’t always necessary, it’s possible that untested code might harbor hidden problems. Generally, the more code coverage you have, the less debugging is required.

Deployment frequency

Deployment frequency is the frequency of code updates being deployed to live environments. It simply measures how quickly a company successfully releases software to production.

Change failure rate

A percentage-based indicator called the Change Failure Rate (CFR) tracks the percentage of deployments that fail once they are implemented in production or reaching end users. To calculate your team’s CFR, divide the total number of deployments by the number that failed in production.

Defect detection ratio

A crucial KPI in development, the Defect Detection Ratio reveals the proportion of defects identified during release compared to the total number of defects (including those that make it to users). This is one of the KPIs for the development team that indicates defects found at the time of software release/defects found at the time of software release + escaped defects.

Effective approaches for picking and tracking KPIs

There are a huge number of various KPIs available. Selecting the wrong ones may result in measuring something irrelevant to your objectives.

Implementing KPIs in your workplace can be challenging, as not everyone may fully comprehend them or how to apply them. Also, KPIs shouldn’t be used solely for behavior modification.

You have to choose the right methodology for establishing and monitoring KPIs to enhance your present processes. For extra motivation, take a look at some of the KPIs for software developers examples and templates, which can aid in everything from setting objectives to monitoring KPIs.

KPIs can be easily tracked in a variety of ways, such as using Google Sheets, Google Analytics, or a dedicated KPI tracker and dashboards for developers. While software development KPI dashboards based on certain examples can be an effective tracking technique, not all dashboarding programs are user-friendly or compatible with your business model.

Building a culture of monitoring, reporting, and improvement goes beyond choosing the right KPIs. You must establish a performance management system that is reliable, clear, and easy to use if you want employees to accept the usage of KPIs and get inspired to change.

Read more about product management specifics in our articles. You may also inquire about software development key performance indicators and agile development process from our team directly.


You are likely familiar with key performance indicators for software developers already. At their core, KPIs are a form of performance measurement that helps you understand how your development team or business is functioning. KPIs can offer several advantages to companies. They enable organizations to monitor performance, spot issues, and uphold accountability. Additionally, KPIs can boost employee motivation, enhance decision-making, and connect goals with strategy.

A well-defined KPI should act as a compass, guiding you towards achieving your strategic objectives. The software metrics and KPIs described here are a must-have if you hope to scale your business and improve your development process at the same time.


What is the difference between deployment frequency and change failure rate?

Deployment frequency measures how often new code is released to production, while change failure rate measures the percentage of deployments that result in problems after release.

How do I choose the right KPIs for my software development project?

The best KPIs will depend on your specific project goals and development methodology. However, the most common ones include code quality, deployment frequency, defect detection ratio, and change failure rate.

What is the KPI in software development?

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in software development aren’t a single metric, but rather a collection of measurable values that track different aspects of the development process.

What are the 5 main KPIs?

The 5 main KPIs to consider include code quality, deployment frequency, defect detection ratio, change failure rate, and code coverage.

How many KPIs should I track?

It’s better to focus on a few key KPIs that are truly meaningful, rather than numerous less relevant metrics.

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