Linked by snydeq on Thu 17th Nov 2011 22:47 UTC
General Development Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister discusses why code analysis and similar metrics provide little insight into what really makes an effective software development team, in the wake of a new scorecard system employed at IBM. "Code metrics are fine if all you care about is raw code production. But what happens to all that code once it's written? Do you just ship it and move on? Hardly - in fact, many developers spend far more of their time maintaining code than adding to it. Do your metrics take into account time spent refactoring or documenting existing code? Is it even possible to devise metrics for these activities?" McAllister writes, "Are developers who take time to train and mentor other teams about the latest code changes considered less productive than ones who stay heads-down at their desks and never reach out to their peers? How about teams that take time at the beginning of a project to coordinate with other teams for code reuse, versus those who charge ahead blindly? Can any automated tool measure these kinds of best practices?"
Permalink for comment 497588
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
obsession with data
by Yamin on Fri 18th Nov 2011 03:01 UTC
Member since:

We have an obsession with making sure all decisions are based on numbers that permeates our culture. It's like we've created a culture of management that cannot make any decision without someelse putting the numbers in front of them... well then what is the point of having management at that point? Just have the computer do the final step and compare the two numbers.

Ultimately, any complex task is going to be impossible to measure via any cheap means or expert opinion. Ultimately, you'll have better luck with peer review, professional programs...

I can't tell you who/what makes the best teacher... but I guarantee I can tell you after speaking to their fellow teachers. Ditto for doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers ...

This is all thrown off of course if you are basing their performance review or who gets laid off on it ;)

Of course software developers don't have the luxury of some kind of professional association or proper training path (residency, articling, accreditation...)

You'd probably get a decent view of software developers by having a group of known good people (developers, product manager...) do random interviews with teams, review developers, review code, ask questions...

Reply Score: 1