Benchmarking the mean performance of your own organization

a-look-in-the-mirrorMeasuring the mean performance of the projects in your own organization allows for calculating the mean performance of your organization. The significance of this is:

  • It acts as very reliable predictor for the performance of your next projects, based on your own historic results;
  • Determining the competitiveness of your own IT department allows for answering questions like:
    • Are investments and targets necessary to improve my IT performance?
    • Should I outsource this part of my value chain to a more able supplier?

After completing the project the functional size of the delivered software is measured. It is important to distinguish between the product size and the project size. The functional size of the product is the size of the functional user requirements of the software product delivered to the customer. The project size comprises all the functionality that is realized, changed and deleted during the project. There may be a big difference between the project size and the product size, especially in agile projects where changes are part of the project methodology.

Based on the actual effort spent, the actual duration of the project, the actual defects found in the different test phases, the project performance can be assessed. As the functional size is an ISO standard, there is a basis for comparison of these metrics enabling benchmarking internally as well as externally.

In Agile projects, each sprint can be regarded as a small project for which functional size based estimates, control and benchmarks can be performed. Statistically a sprint might be too small to show reliable results; in this case a set of sprints can be used.

See also the pages Sources of benchmark data and Benchmark tooling.