13 Metrics For Software Quality (Plus Key Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many software teams keep track of metrics related to their programme during both the development and deployment stages. Monitoring software quality metrics can help software professionals meet their customers' needs, develop fully functioning programmes, limit software errors and streamline internal processes. Learning more about the various metrics related to software quality may allow you to optimise the software development process and ultimately generate more revenue.

In this article, we discuss the benefits of using metrics for software quality and explore 13 unique metrics that you may want to keep track of during your next software project.

What Are Metrics For Software quality?

Metrics for software quality are aspects of a software programme that describe its usability, functionality and efficiency. Software quality metrics can also refer to the quality of the software development project, such as the procedures involved in designing and testing the software platform.

Software engineering teams typically have a set of metrics that they use in the quality assurance phase of development to ensure that their programmes meet all user requirements before releasing the product to market. They also use quality metrics to gather feedback from customers about errors, bugs and interface issues that they can apply to software updates and new releases.

Related: 7 Website Design Software Tools (With Features And How To)

Benefits Of Using Software Quality Metrics

Organising and evaluating software quality metrics can provide software teams with an array of advantages, including:

  • Meet customer needs: One of the primary goals of most software teams is to create a product that ultimately solves a customer's problems or satisfies their needs. By keeping track of software quality metrics, it can become easier to make sure that prospective and current customers are ultimately happy with the final product.

  • Reduce errors: Many quality metrics that software teams use during the development process can reduce the number of errors that occur after the product launches.

  • Manage the project: When you monitor software quality metrics throughout the development process, it can help with key aspects related to project management, such as whether the project remains on schedule and if developers have changed the programme's functionality.

  • Optimise processes: Analysing quality metrics for your programme can help you optimise internal processes for both this and future software projects. For instance, these metrics might give you insight into how long coding teams realistically take to develop each function within a programme.

  • Gain or retain customers: Ultimately, keeping track of software quality metrics can help you create a more functional and user-friendly programme, which can help software teams both acquire new customers and retain existing ones.

Related: Software Developer Resume Skills (And How To Include Them)

13 Metrics For Software Quality

Following are 13 metrics that you can use to help you evaluate the quality of your software:

1. Dependability

Users rely on software to be dependable and consistent so they can use its features to produce the same results. This involves having a programme that behaves predictably based on user inputs. It also requires having reliable maintenance practices to quickly resolve issues. Here are a few specific metrics that uphold dependable software quality:

  • Rate of failures

  • System availability

  • Crash rate

Related: 10 CAD Software Programs (With Definition And Tips)

2. Functionality

For a software programme to meet user expectations, all features ideally function with minimal bugs and errors. A primary aspect of the testing process in software development and maintenance is identifying and removing errors to improve functionality. This involves using functionality-related metrics to track common types of errors and which features or aspects of code cause the most issues for users. Examples of software function metrics for quality include:

  • Probability of failures

  • Number of bugs

  • Severity of bugs

Related: Verification Vs. Validation: What Is The Difference?

3. Agile metrics

Keeping track of agile metrics can help software professionals speed up the development process. For instance, you can monitor the leave time, meaning how long software engineers spend from the initial conception of the idea to finishing the product. You might also keep track of the programme's velocity, or how long each step within the developmental process takes. Once you have gathered data on the velocity for multiple software development projects, you can predict with greater accuracy how long each stage might take you for future projects. Other agile metrics might include:

  • Control chart

  • Net promoter score

  • Cumulative flow diagram

  • Quality intelligence

  • Cycle time

Related: Agile Vs. Scrum: What Is The Difference? (With FAQs)

4. Code characteristics

The way programmers write code also contributes to the quality of the final programme. You can use a variety of performance measures to determine how the style and content of software scripts influence quality factors, such as defect rates and user satisfaction. Here are some elements of code characteristics to measure:

  • Number of lines of code

  • Code clarity

  • Adherence to coding rules

Related: 39 Important Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

5. Interface accessibility

Making accessible software interfaces can impress customers. This involves having an attractive design and an intuitive navigation panel that is easy for people to understand. Many software programmes also have a tutorial mode that teaches users how to operate the basic functions of the programme to make the application as accessible as possible.

Related: 16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits

6. Production metrics

As you develop the software, you can use production metrics to gain a deeper understanding of what your team has accomplished so far. By keeping track of the active days, for instance, you can see how many days cumulatively that team members have spent on the project. You might also want to monitor how long software engineers or coders spend fixing various bugs in the programme. Other production metrics that can prove useful include:

  • Task scopes, or how much code each engineer can realistically write yearly

  • Code churn, meaning how much code the team has modified

  • Productivity

7. System performance

Another aspect of software quality to measure is the overall performance of the system and the volume of input or user activity it can handle. This is most important for software applications that host complex code and have complicated system requirements, such as computer games or database software services. When users input complex commands, it is vital that the software can keep up with these requirements.

Related: How To Conduct Smoke Testing (With Advantages And Tips)

8. Defect management

Although the goal of any software developer is to eliminate errors entirely, bugs and defects are typically a normal part of any application. This means that ongoing maintenance and managing defects are important for upholding software quality. To appropriately address defects, you can track the frequency of errors, how long it takes to address them and the success of your solutions with these quality metrics:

  • Mean time to detect crashes and bugs

  • Mean time between system failures

  • Mean time to resolve bugs

  • Ticket backlog

  • Resolution success rate

9. Pull requests

Also called merge requests, pull requests are indicators that software professionals use to let others on their team know when they have completed a specific function and are ready to compile their code with the rest of the programme. Maintaining awareness of your pull requests can provide you with insights into a software's complexity or team members' interactions with one another. This category of software quality metrics can include:

  • Which or how many pull requests failed to compile or did not function as expected

  • Which or how many pull requests did not pass their tests

  • How many pull requests resulted in comments

  • How many rejected and merged pull requests

Related: 9 Test Case Management Tools To Consider (With Benefits)

10. Documentation

Because software design involves regular updates and collaboration from multiple software development professionals, you can also monitor the quality of your documentation. In software development, documentation involves explaining changes to code, describing updates and making internal notes to communicate with other developers. Each software development team has its own practices for documentation, so tracking documentation typically involves adhering to those rules.

Related: What Is A Sprint In Agile? (Definition, Benefits And Example)

11. Adaptability across platforms

Many software developers design applications that work on multiple platforms or integrate with other programmes. To ensure that this function works, you can compare software performance on each channel to determine how well the integration works. For example, you can compare defect rates, the number of bugs and other key metrics on multiple types of operating systems to measure the adaptability of the software.

Related: Career Goals For Software Developers (With Examples)

12. Size-orientation metrics

Size-orientation or size-oriented metrics refer to data sets that evaluate a software's output in relation to its quality. To find the size-oriented metrics for your current software project, you can average out various numbers related to both software productivity and quality. Many size-orientation metrics measure their data sets in kilos or KLOCs, which can provide information about the size of the code and calculate bugs, errors and costs per 1,000 lines of code.

13. Overall satisfaction

Getting qualitative feedback from customers about their overall experience using your software can provide you with holistic insights into the quality of your application. Asking consumers to rate the quality of their experience or provide a rating for specific software features can notify you of your product's strengths and weaknesses. You can gather this information by administering surveys through email, on your website or even a survey system in your software programme.

Explore more articles