Software Development Quality Metrics: Why are They Important?

Metrics are essential to businesses because they provide a basis for measurements and support business leaders to make decisions, ultimately improving business operations and performance. However, there are quite a large number of metrics and there’s no use in measuring all of those. 

Hence, it’s important to track the right metrics which show how your business is doing. In particular, for the software industry, certain metrics can be applied to measure and control the quality of products being developed. Yet, the process of selecting the exact metrics in order to quantify and control the software quality may differ from organization to organization. Following irrelevant metrics may divert you from focusing on what really matters.

Today, software development companies are shifting toward an agile culture and adopting more frequent software release cycles, so it’s even more important to make sure that the product releases are of quality.

What are software quality metrics?

More frequent software releases also equate to faster development and deployment and may negatively impact the quality of the software release. Hence, it’s critical to adopt the relevant quality metrics system that is suitable and prevents the software product to fail.

As said before, metrics can be differently selected, depending upon what matters the most to the businesses. For example, some care more about the number of software defects found while others focus more on the failure rate. 

However, there are a number of common metrics in successful software development that the majority seem to agree on. Let’s take a look.

Why do software development quality metrics matter?

Product quality is an essential factor to attract and retain users. All the development team members from software developers, engineers, architects, testers and UI/UX designers, etc. all have a say in controlling the product’s quality. Quality should always be a priority throughout the software development process. 

In terms of development outsourcing, using Software Development Metrics provides a number of advantages as follows:

  • Measurable outsourcing output enables both clients and outsourcing providers to realistically and fairly evaluate the project’s performance.
  • Improve productivity while saving on time and costs.
  • Create more accurate estimations.
  • And more

Now that you already understand the benefits, now let’s examine in detail the commonly related quality metrics: 

Common Software Development Metrics 

Various software development metrics including Agile metrics consider various aspects of the software development process including lead time, cycle time, etc. which is especially valuable to improve the process.

Lead time. 

This metric measures the total amount of time since software engineers and developers receive the customer’s initial requests until they (“customer”) receive something. By reducing the lead time, you can effectively deliver the product to customers faster and earn the needed customer satisfaction.

Cycle time.

The cycle time begins when the development team starts working on customer requests until completion and delivery. The cycle time is different from the lead time as the lead time is usually longer and includes lead time.


This metric provides an estimation of how much time the development team needs in each stage and allows the development team to internally track estimates and completion over the sprints and make plans for future development.

Active days. 

This metric measures the time that developers actually spend on coding which does not take into account other tasks such as planning or team meeting and discussion. The active day helps to understand the hidden cost of disruption. 

Failure and repair time. 

Software defects, bugs, and errors are bound to happen in any software development project. Thus it’s worth noting the time developers spend on fixing bugs and errors.

Code churn. 

This is to measure the volume of the code that has been modified, deleted, or added within a determined time frame. Generally speaking, the churning rate is usually higher during the beginning stage of the project as software developers experiment with different ways to solve the coding problem.  Code churn enables software leaders to assess the quality of work by developers. A higher churn may indicate problems are likely to happen.

Managing software quality 

Software development quality is not only about the metrics and KPI but also depends heavily on the developers. Here are a number of factors that development teams should pay attention to:

  • Coding standards & best practices. Sticking to coding standards and best practice can help the development team member to perform their jobs the right way, ensuring consistency and ease of following. This could translate to better quality in the long run.
  • Testing & Software QA. By applying QA and testing right at the beginning of the project, the development team can catch and prevent potential software bugs and defects before such issues can impact the product negatively. It’s always easier and less expensive to prevent issues than spending a lot of time and resources fixing them later.

Both development QA (code review, unit testing) and testing activities (such as functional, integration, and regression testing), as well as test automation, should be applied as frequently as possible.


Ultimately, the purpose of using metrics is to measure and ensure customer satisfaction. At TPP software, we use such metrics to deliver the best quality product to our customers possible. If you’re still hesitating about using which software metrics to use for your project, contact our team today.