Practical Software Measurement

Part III: How Does Duration Affect Productivity?

This week we turn to another question triggered by the Performance Benchmark Tables: how does duration affect productivity? To many managers, project schedule and cost are equally important. There are significant tradeoffs involved: if the project takes too long, important market opportunities may be lost. But adding people to compress the schedule can drive up cost dramatically. For this reason, QSM uses a productivity metric that explicitly accounts for duration: the Productivity Index (or PI). Unlike ratio based productivity measures, the PI is a three dimensional measure that adds duration to the traditional size/effort equation. It explicitly accounts for the distinctly non-linear relationships between size, effort, and time.  To see the benefits of this approach, let’s look at how project duration relates to simple (SLOC/effort) productivity.

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