Above Average(s): Measuring Application Development Performance

March, 2002


If I was in a room with the starting centers from every team in the NBA, I could say I was about 7 feet tall–based on the average of everyone present. Although misleading, this would be a true statement. IT organizations risk falling into a similar trap of misperception if they measure application development (AD) quality and productivity based on industry averages or high-level aggregates from myriad sources. Such an approach rarely provides meaningful insight into how well or poorly you’re doing. More importantly, averages can’t tell you what to do to improve your software development. To use measurement effectively, it’s necessary to drill down to identify specific performance gaps and take specific actions toward improvement.