Most large companies invest heavily in application development, and they do so for a compelling reason: their future might depend on it. Software spending in the United States jumped from 32 percent of total IT corporate investment in 1990 to almost 60 percent in 2011 as software gradually became critical for almost every company’s performance. Yet in our experience, few organizations have a viable means of measuring the output of their application-development projects. Instead, they rely on input-based metrics, such as the hourly cost of developers, variance to budget, or percent of delivery dates achieved. Although these metrics are useful because they indicate the level of effort that goes into application development, these metrics do not truly answer the question: how much software functionality did a team deliver in a given time period? Or, put another way, how productive was the application-development group?
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