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?"
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RE: Comment by Luminair
by Yamin on Fri 18th Nov 2011 21:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
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He is not ranting at all.

It's actually a very good point. One I think you should look at again.

They haven't found any good metrics for management? Why is that... because it is a skilled job... just like developers.

And the argument that we should *keep trying* is kind of pointless. It's great to *keep trying* in an academic setting. The problem is that a bad metric is worse than having no metrics.

For example, if you ran a software company and used lines of code as a measure of performance... you would end up with a poorer product than if you just let people do their job.

Of course we should always progress and try and innovate in everything... including process. However how much you adopt of 'new things' in current systems is always a challenge as you risk breaking what works and even making things worse.

That is not progress at all.
Given the poor state of developer metrics, I certainly wouldn't think it progress to put in anything into a company right now. That's a step backwards. To put it simply... the best metrics we have are peer review.

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