Khaos

Measurement Dilemma

A while ago Tony quoted Weinberg.

In their desperation, they grasp at anything that’s easily measurable and has some apparent relationship with quality or
productivity.

Again he is talking about managers and the things we like to do to put in our
day. The example he gives is counting the number of lines of code. I don’t
measure this as I don’t believe it is a particularly useful measurement when
writing programs in Perl. However, I have been guilty of measuring things
without having a clear idea as to what meaning the results will give me.

Now I measure the amount of time spent to produce a function. I do this
because I want to improve our estimation process. By comparing actual time
with estimated time I can work out what is really meant by, “that will take me
3 hours”.

I also calculate final project costs. On client based work I use this to decide whether or not the job was completed quickly enough. If it cost us more to produce than the amount we were paid – we took too long to complete the job. What I haven’t been able to do is apply this to internal projects. We always have reasons why the job wasn’t completed within the estimated time and I don’t have enough information to know whether or not it would have been better to either not do the job at all or get someone else to do it for us.

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