Select and Use SDLC Metrics Effectively

Be careful what you ask for, because you will probably get it.


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The use of metrics is very popular across industries and practices. But metrics misuse and mismanagement is widespread, often causing them to do more harm than good to your organization. Poorly selected and/or mismanaged metrics will expose your organization to several risks, including:

  • Productivity loss
  • Gaming behavior
  • Ambivalence
  • Unintended consequences

Using Info-Tech’s TAG (team-oriented, adaptive, and goal-focused) approach to evaluating, selecting, and managing SDLC metrics to help your organization:

  • Minimize risks
  • Maximize the value of your metrics

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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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