Establishing Effective Software Metrics for the Measures You Want


In his CM: the Next Generation series, Joe Farah gives us a glimpse into the trends that CM experts will need to tackle and master based upon industry trends and future technology challenges.

to run to a technical resource to have them supported.

Metrics: What's Useful, What's Overhead?
When I'm developing metrics for a project, what's useful, and what's overhead? The answer depends on numerous variables which are constantly changing. Define the metrics you might find useful. Create a large list if you want. Then turn the presentation of them on and off as required. Group them into dashboards according to role. Add to the list as you discover additional problems or trends.

Make sure that the data you're using is reliable. Make sure that the processes support gathering good data. Make sure that the interpretation of the data is unambiguous. Make the important metrics widely visible, especially if the team member’s performance can affect the results. Even consider competitive metrics that pit one part of the team or one project against another.

Good process, good tools, good presentation, and meaningful metrics. These will make your metrics useful.

About the author

Joe Farah's picture Joe Farah

Joe Farah is the President and CEO of Neuma Technology and is a regular contributor to the CM Journal. Prior to co-founding Neuma in 1990 and directing the development of CM+, Joe was Director of Software Architecture and Technology at Mitel, and in the 1970s a Development Manager at Nortel (Bell-Northern Research) where he developed the Program Library System (PLS) still heavily in use by Nortel's largest projects. A software developer since the late 1960s, Joe holds a B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. You can contact Joe at

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