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Application Development: Getting the Right Metrics to Gauge Effectiveness and Efficiency

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Application Development: Getting the Right Metrics to Gauge Effectiveness and Efficiency

 app development

Software spending is on the rise.  The reason for this is simple: software is very important to businesses and their operations.

If this is true, then you would think that enterprises would have some way to measure how their application development team contributes to their business functions and processes.  Most of the time, businesses use the wrong metrics in gauging their application development initiatives.  For example, most companies rely on the cost of their developers, meeting delivery dates or variance to budget.  These metrics may give you an idea about a lot of things, but they do not give you the whole picture when it comes to the productivity and efficiency of your application development team.

All of these metrics we mentioned are input-based metrics.  What you need, however, are output-based metrics.

First, you need to take a look at the use cases for your applications.  To do this, you need to know who the users or actors are, both human and non-human, and their transactions with the application.  A sample use case is an online banking software used by a large bank.  A customer, who in this use case is the actor, will log onto his or her account.  He or she will then be able to check his or her balance online.  The customer can also transfer funds, pay bills and do other transactions.

After you have identified the use cases, actors and transactions, you need to calculate the use case points.  The use case points take into consideration the number of transactions performed by the application, the number of actors that interact with the application and how complex the application is, as well as the amount of code that needs to be modified.

Use case points are seen to be more reliable in measuring output, and as such can be an accurate measure of productivity for your application development teams.

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The road to change

Admittedly, an organization has to design many tools and processes in order to determine its use cases and use case points.  Each company will have to figure out how to get its use cases and use case points.  Each one needs to have a pilot team doing the work.  This pilot team can use completed projects to help the company learn how to come up with use cases and use case points.  Then it will have to apply these to a few select projects that are under development and fine tune the processes and tools.  This will continue until such a time that the company is confident that it now has a systematic approach to setting up use cases and calculating use case points.

The process can become very complex and time consuming, but if your business’ very survival depends on getting the right metrics to measure productivity, then you simply must do it.  The good news is that you can use JDeveloper to help you come up with use cases and use case points.  With JDeveloper, you can have use case templates to make your job easier and faster.

The best news is that Four Cornerstone can help you get JDeveloper up and running at your organization.  We can even help you learn how to use it for all your application development needs.  Call us today!

Photo courtesy of IntelFreePress.

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