Metrics and Process Maturity


Metrics versus Limits for a CM Tool

Another related area for CM tools, as for any system, is the set of quantifiable limitations on the tool. These are really a different form of metric - one that will change much more slowly over time. How about the following easy ones - I would hope they're all sufficiently high:

·         Maximum number of directories/files supported

·         Maximum file size

·         Maximum revisions per file

·         Maximum files per change

·         Maximum number of problems

·         Maximum number of changes

·         Maximum number of branches

How Easy Is It For You to Make a New Metric Visible?
You'll need a tool that makes it easy to track metrics. If it's not, you'll find you're not using metrics as much as you should be. Ideally, your CM tool suite has suitable metrics functionality. There are a number of things to consider here.

First, you want it to be easy to obtain your metrics. Maybe you have an overnight job generating them. Or perhaps you can just go into the tool and query them easily as you need. Perhaps they come out as numbers, perhaps as graphs as well. Great. Even better if you can export your data to a graphical slicer and dicer (e.g., Excel spread sheet).

Next you need to be able to dig down into the metrics - why is this number what it is. Click on the extra-long or extra short bar on your bar graph and identify the specific items. Or zoom in on a cell of your tabular summary. This is more than a problem solving exercise, it's a learning exercise. You want to be able to understand the metrics, not just see them. You want to investigate anomalies too. Unfortunately, over-night generated metrics (as opposed to interactive ones) will require a bit more work to dig.

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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