What Exactly Are Metrics?

By Serhiy Kharytonov  |  Posted 2010-02-01 Print this article Print

What exactly are metrics?

Metrics measure processes, activities, resources, processes and deliverables within a quality control plan. More specifically, a metric is a unit that is used to collect data in order to report on the state of a particular IT service.

This data must be presented in a meaningful way so as to help project managers make the proper decisions or to take corrective steps on projects or both.

In order to measure these metrics effectively, indicators and measurable periods are utilized. Indicators are used to describe metric data that can provide information about a particular project. Conversely, it is important to define the right measurable periods that can cover possible gaps in the control of the measuring indicators-and also allow us to control the situation upfront if a failure occurs within the measurable intervals.

Examples of indicators used on a project include actual versus planned task completions, actual versus planned staffing, the number of trouble reports written and resolved over time, and the number of requirements changed over time.

Indicators are used in conjunction with one another to provide a more complete picture of a project or organizational behavior. For example, a progress indicator is related to requirements and size indicators. All three indicators should be used and interpreted together.

Serhiy Kharytonov is the Executive VP of Consulting Services at SoftServe. Serhiy has been with SoftServe since 2000, previously in the positions of VP of Technology and VP of R&D Services. Serhiy holds a MasterÔÇÖs degree in Computer Science from the National Polytechnic University, Lviv, Ukraine, and is currently finishing his PhD. He can be reached at skhar@softserveinc.com.

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