Evaluating Productivity on Your Team

June 26th, 2015

Do you know how productively your team is working? Counting lines of code was an early attempt at measuring programmer’s productivity, but if you use that metric, it’s easy to game the system: null statements boost output with no effort and no benefit. It doesn’t help that elegant, efficient code is harder to write – but more compact.

Lines of Code or Function Points

In any case, lines of code is the wrong metric, because evaluating productivity requires measuring the desired output, and companies aren’t trying to generate lines of code, they’re trying to generate applications that perform specific functions. So perhaps function points are the right metric?  The first problem is that counting function points is highly variable.

The second problem is similar to that of counting lines of code — the quality of the implementation matters as much as the quantity does. A developer who writes easily understood, maintainable, reusable code may have contributed more to the project than a developer who completed more function points but whose code can’t be reused and is difficult to maintain. Since this quality can’t be measured in real-time — you won’t know how hard the code is to maintain until it’s live in production — this means measuring productivity can’t truly be known until time has elapsed.

And neither lines of code nor function points give any way to assess the contributions of the non-coding members of the team. The result is that team productivity shouldn’t be assessed by applying quantitative metrics on an individual level, identifying the “slowest” programmers, and cracking the whip to get them to crank out code more quickly.

Remove Non-Productive Tasks

Instead of trying to collapse a team’s productivity down to a single number, focus on improving team productivity by eliminating the non-productive tasks that can take up the bigger part of a day.

Ask developers what gets in the way of getting the job done — do they have the tools they need and an efficient workflow that drives a development process through its lifecycle? Do they have the training they need? Are they spending time writing useless status reports? Are they working from clear requirements? Improve productivity by fixing the problems that reduce the team’s ability to deliver.

Build the Right Team

The most productive teams are filled with employees who are excited about their work and enjoy working together. InReach IT Solutions can help you find your next employee. Contact us today to learn about our hiring solutions.

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