Building Software Development Dashboards with Key Performance Indicators


Key performance indicators help managers gauge the team’s progress, understand what phase the project is in, and figure out where costs, goals, or processes need to be adjusted. This article details some typical KPIs to be used in dashboards to provide business analytics and communicate information in the most useful way.

Within the framework of the software development business, senior managers want to have the big picture in terms of costs, performance, and delivery to commitment in order to address expected results.

It’s a good idea for software team leaders and development project managers to put themselves in a senior manager’s shoes and think about what measureable indicators would be most useful to help draw that big picture.

The first step is to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on. KPIs will be used to enhance and measure the organization’s strategy, so they must be chosen with accuracy and be set up clearly in order to make them useful.

Dashboards should provide business analytics and performance indicators to help senior managers make decisions, giving the most accurate information in a simple way. Keep in mind that a picture is worth a thousand words. When you are giving a presentation and showing analytic information, the charts should speak for themselves. Any picture, graph, or chart you need to explain is not clear enough.

This article addresses the most typical KPIs that will help managers of any software development organization quickly understand what stage a project is in and then easily identify which processes need to be improved.

Schedule Adherence

This KPI measures performance in terms of time management and is intended to plot desired behavior in terms of delivery to commitment, accurate estimating, and the avoidance of delaying scope due to later assignments.

Its formula is based on the percentage deviation between actual and planned delivery dates:

[ 1- ABS ( ADD – PDD )/PDD ] * 100


ADD (Actual Delivery Date) = Actual Finish Date – Planned Start Date

PDD (Planned Delivery Date) = Planned Finish Date – Planned Start Date

Content Adherence

This KPI gives useful information about the team performance when it comes to scope handling. It is oriented to assess this performance in terms of delivery to commitment and delivery of full planned scope.

Its formula is based on the percentage deviation between total completed requirements and total committed requirements:

#Completed Requirements / #Committed Requirements * 100

About the author

StickyMinds is a TechWell community.

Through conferences, training, consulting, and online resources, TechWell helps you develop and deliver great software every day.