Digital Service Delivery

What Are the Most Important Metrics for Your Software?

Developing software in general is never easy. And developing software that lives in a production environment, serving as the foundation of your digital presence is quite difficult. No matter the current state of your software, whether in initial development or having been deployed for years, these metrics will help inform you of its current state […]

by | Aug 17, 2022

Developing software in general is never easy. And developing software that lives in a production environment, serving as the foundation of your digital presence is quite difficult. No matter the current state of your software, whether in initial development or having been deployed for years, these metrics will help inform you of its current state and where potential fixes can be made:

Performance

This really goes without saying. You could be hitting it out of the park with all other metrics discussed here, but it won’t matter if your software’s performance is not up to snuff. At the most basic level: does the home page load within a few seconds? Can a user create an account on a single page? Does the layout of the UI make it easy for new users to find what they are looking for? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” users are spending their time trying to make your software work for them, instead of it actually working for them.

Here are some metrics that can better help you more effectively answer questions about your software’s performance:

  • User activity: the time spent on website, number of visits to website, and actions taken while on website.
  • HTTP request time: the number of seconds it takes to make a successful request to your servers. This usually coincides with loading a page, placing an order, etc., and should not be more than 2-3 seconds.
  • HTTP Error percentage – the percentage of requests made to your server that are unsuccessful. This should be below 1%.

Quality

Unless you plan on never adding new features to your website or hiring new developers to work on your codebase, it’s very important for your software to be high quality. Now what does that mean? It means your software should be easy to read, easy to debug, and easy to scale. If your codebase is not easy to read, then it certainly is not going to be easy to debug. How is your development team supposed to quickly patch a hotfix if they have to spend valuable time simply trying to understand how the code works together? And how can major features be added if there is uncertainty to the current structure of the code? The answer to both questions is you can’t.

A very rudimentary metric used to assess code quality is LOC (lines of code). Obviously, there are many factors that go into what a quality assessment would be for a codebase, but LOC is a good starting point. Most integrated development environments (IDEs) have extensions that can calculate LOC. One other great metric for code quality focuses on testing: code coverage. Code coverage is defined by the amount of code that is being executed while running your automated test suites. There are plenty of code coverage tools out there depending on which languages and/or frameworks you are currently using. A good code coverage percentage to aim for is around 90%.

Security

Perhaps the most critical of the metrics discussed here is the security of your software. Ensuring your users personal information is safe and protected is crucial to building trust in your business. There are two general questions that you must ask yourself to ensure you are taking the appropriate security measures: are you measuring risk in a way that promotes effective action? And are you measuring risk in a way that allows for prevention of new liabilities?

Here are a few metrics you can use that will help ensure you answer yes to both these questions:

  • MTTR (mean time to recovery): the time between the discovery of a security breach and the deployment of a fix. This will vary based on the severity and scope of the issue at hand.
  • Flaw creation rate: the rate at which flaws are being produced compared to the rate at which fixes are being produced. If you are generating more flaws than fixes, you are headed in the wrong direction.
  • Number of business exclusive vulnerabilities: these are vulnerabilities that are unique to your business and therefore no automated tooling will catch it. These can be found and diagnosed by an extensive combination of automated testing and smoke testing by the security team.

Your software will always be in a state of flux, with problems continuously arising. However, you and your business can severely limit those problems by ensuring you have passing grades on the metrics listed above. These metrics will help ensure your software is performing well, it was written up to industry standard, and is secure!

Trusted software providers like Exelaration can keep your software running smoothly. Learn more about what we can do for you or email info@exelaration.com to get started.

 

will.drougas@exelaration.com

Will is a Full Stack Developer based in Washington, D.C. He earned his Masters of Education from the University of Virginia in 2018 and has brought his passion for mentoring and teaching to Exelaration since joining in November 2021. Will enjoys spending his free time outdoors either golfing, playing tennis, hiking, or just exploring D.C.

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