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Select and Use SDLC Metrics Effectively

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Contributors

  • Maurizio Laudisa, CIO and VP of IT, Superior Energy Distribution
  • Rob Gordanier, Senior Solution Architect, IBM
  • David Marsh, Agile Coach, Bodega Consulting Ltd
  • Terry Rickan, Executive Director, Statistics Canada
  • Mark Krasnohorsky, Information System Architect, K&K Technologies

Your Challenge

  • Your organization wants to implement (or revamp existing) software delivery metrics to monitor performance as well as achieve its goals.
  • You know that metrics can be a powerful tool for managing team behavior.
  • You also know that all metrics are prone to misuse and mismanagement, which can lead to unintended consequences that will harm your organization.
  • You need an approach for selecting and using effective software development lifecycle (SDLC) metrics that will help your organization to achieve its goals while minimizing the risk of unintended consequences.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Metrics are powerful, dangerous, and often mismanaged, particularly when they are tied to reward or punishment. To use SDLC metrics effectively, know the dangers, understand good practices, and then follow Info-Tech‘s TAG (team-oriented, adaptive, and goal-focused) approach to minimize risk and maximize impact.

Impact and Result

  • Begin by understanding the risks of metrics.
  • Then understand good practices associated with metrics use.
  • Lastly, follow Info-Tech’s TAG approach to select and use SDLC metrics effectively.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Understand both the dangers and good practices related to metrics, along with Info-Tech’s TAG approach to the selection and use of SDLC metrics.

1. Understand the dangers of metrics

Explore the significant risks associated with metrics selection so that you can avoid them.

2. Know good practices related to metrics

Learn about good practices related to metrics and how to apply them in your organization, then identify your team’s business-aligned goals to be used in SDLC metric selection.

3. Rank and select effective SDLC metrics for your team

Follow Info-Tech’s TAG approach to selecting effective SDLC metrics for your team, create a communication deck to inform your organization about your selected SDLC metrics, and plan to review and revise these metrics over time.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is an eight call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Understand the Dangers of Metrics

Call #1 - Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges (identify potential participants).
Call #2 - First call with participants (introduce Phase 1 and assign exercises for completion).
Call #3 - Review exercise outcomes (prep for Phase 2 calls).

Guided Implementation #2 - Know Good Practices Related to Metrics

Call #1 - Examine good practices and assign exercises for completion.
Call #2 - Review exercise outcomes (prep for Phase 3 calls).

Guided Implementation #3 - Rank and Select Effective SDLC Metrics for Your Team

Call #1 - Review evaluation tool and assign exercise for potential metrics.
Call #2 - Score potential metrics and select team metrics.
Call #3 - Conduct closeout and communication call.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Understand the Dangers of Metrics

The Purpose

  • Learn that metrics are often misused and mismanaged.
  • Understand the four risk areas associated with metrics:
    • Productivity loss
    • Gaming behavior
    • Ambivalence
    • Unintended consequences

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An appreciation of the dangers associated with metrics.
  • An understanding of the need to select and manage SDLC metrics carefully to avoid the associated risks.
  • Development of critical thinking skills related to metric selection and use.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Examine the dangers associated with metric use.

  • Establish understanding and appreciation of metrics-related risks.
1.2

Share real-life examples of poor metrics and their impact.

  • Solidify understanding of metrics-related risks and their impact on an organization.
1.3

Practice identifying and mitigating metrics-related risk.

  • Develop the skills needed to critically analyze a potential metric and reduce associated risk.

Module 2: Understand Good Practices Related to Metrics

The Purpose

  • Develop an understanding of good practices related to metric selection and use.
  • Introduce Info-Tech’s TAG approach to metric selection and use.
  • Identify your team’s business-aligned goals for SDLC metrics.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding of good practices for metric selection and use.
  • Document your team’s prioritized business-aligned goals.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Examine good practices and introduce Info-Tech’s TAG approach.

  • Understanding of Info-Tech’s TAG approach.
2.2

Identify and prioritize your team’s business-aligned goals.

  • Prioritized team goals (aligned to the business) that will inform your SDLC metric selection.

Module 3: Rank and Select Your SDLC Metrics

The Purpose

  • Apply Info-Tech’s TAG approach to rank and select your team’s SDLC metrics.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identification of potential SDLC metrics for use by your team.
  • Collaborative scoring/ranking of potential SDLC metrics based on their specific pros and cons.
  • Finalize list of SDLC metrics that will support goals and minimize risk while maximizing impact.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Select your list of potential SDLC metrics.

  • A list of potential SDLC metrics to be scored.
3.2

Score each potential metric’s pros and cons against objectives using a five-point scale.

  • A ranked list of potential SDLC metrics.
3.3

Collaboratively select your team’s first set of SDLC metrics.

  • Your team’s first set of goal-aligned SDLC metrics.

Module 4: Create a Communication and Rollout Plan

The Purpose

  • Develop a rollout plan for your SDLC metrics.
  • Develop a communication plan.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • SDLC metrics.
  • A plan to review and adjust your SDLC metrics periodically in the future.
  • Communication material to be shared with the organization.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Identify rollout dates and responsible individuals for each SDLC metric.

  • SDLC metrics rollout plan
4.2

Identify your next SDLC metric review cycle.

  • SDLC metrics review plan
4.3

Create a communication deck.

  • SDLC metrics communication deck
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