The day-to-day success of software products relies heavily on the performance of your maintenance and support team. An efficient and productive team saves money, helps retain customers, and supports product loyalty.
As such, knowing how the team is performing gives leaders the tools they need to identify pain points and make educated decisions on how to improve team efficiency, skillset, and/or knowledge base.
For a well-rounded view of how your team is performing, we have put together a list of 5 metrics that we think every maintenance and support team should track and why:
1. Number of Bugs That Escape to Production
In our opinion, this metric is one of the most important performance measures for your team to track.
Why? Well, the main goal of a maintenance and support team should be to effectively resolve tickets. BUT, it is critical to ensure that when resolving an issue or implementing a new feature, support teams do not introduce additional bugs into the application. Solving one problem only to introduce another kind of defeats the point.
However, the reality is that sometimes new bugs are created, BUT they need to be identified and resolved before a feature or fix is pushed to production. To ensure these bugs are caught, have your quality assurance (QA) team to perform sufficient testing types according to the testing strategy of each project before deploying the release to the production environment.
At KMS, our goal across all of our outsource software support accounts is to never let a major bug escape to production.
2. Lead Time to Resolve Bugs and Close Tickets
To address urgent, 24-hour tickets, maintenance teams need to be able to move quickly. An important metric to track for these types of issues is the time between ticket creation and resolution or lead time to close.
This metric helps teams understand their efficiency, identify bottlenecks, and put systems in place to speed up resolution time for urgent tickets.
3. Team Velocity
Similar to how a scrum team measures team velocity, maintenance, and support teams should as well.
Velocity measures the amount of work a team can complete in a single sprint. Typically measured at the end of each sprint, teams will calculate how many user story points were accumulated during the sprint.
Measuring team velocity is important to determine overall team productivity and appropriately plan releases. This is a particularly important metric in determining the success of new processes that have been put in place to improve productivity.
Want to know more about story points? We have a 3 part blog series diving into the pros and cons of using this measure for scrum. Check out part 1.
4. How Estimated Resolution Time Compares to Actual Resolution Time
When a new ticket is created, teams should track both the estimated time for completions AND the actual time it took for the team to resolve the ticket.
Teams should strive to narrow the gap between estimated resolution time and actual resolution time. Providing good estimates of completion timelines will help teams allocate properly and manage workflows. As teams become familiar with the platform, this metric should continue to improve.
If the estimated timeline and the actual timeline are very far off, this can mean that your team does not have adequate knowledge of the platform. If this is the case, steps need to be taken as soon as possible to fill in any gaps in knowledge or determine what factors are causing the estimate to be so far off.
5. Number of Tickets that Have to be Reopened
This metric helps teams to understand when tickets have to be reopened. See, the goal of each resolved ticket is to completely address the issue and prevent it from happening again in the future.
Ideally, this number will always be 0, but when it is not, it is important to understand why. What solutions can be used next time to fully resolve the problem or prevent it from popping up again?
Finally, armed with these metrics, we recommend your team perform a root cause analysis (RCA) to systematically identify where an issue stemmed from and prevent them in the future.
At KMS, we believe a strategic software support team is much more than a good fireman, putting out fires and resolving tickets as they come up. Instead, we think in order to be most effective, teams should be able to generalize maintenance efforts and recommend ways to prevent the ‘fires’ in the first place.
Ultimately these metrics are nothing more than numbers if you do not use them wisely. BUT, if put to good use this data can help maintenance and support teams continually improve performance and provide exceptional service.