Metrics of Success in Development – Part 3

Today we’ll finish the list of ten questions that can give you a quick measure of your development group or department. The purpose is two-fold: to let you see how you measure up compared to other similar departments, and to suggest ways in which you can think about the stresses in your department.

Let’s launch into the final four questions, then we can total them up.

7. Viewed from other departments (outside of Development), how would managers rate your development managers and engineers in each of the following areas?
(a) Cooperativeness (with outside people)
Extremely cooperative – add 3 points
Very cooperative – add 2 points
Cooperative – add 1 point
Uncooperative or unavailable – add 0 points
(b) Flexibility (willing to work with and compromise with others outside the department)
Extremely flexible – add 3 points
Very flexible – add 2 points
Flexible – add 1 point
Inflexible – add 0 points
(c) Team-orientation (beyond the Development department teams)
Extremely team-oriented – add 3 points
Very team-oriented – add 2 points
Team-oriented – add 1 point
Not team-oriented – add 0 points

8. What percentage of the company’s gross revenues in the most recent year were allocated to Development (or R&D)? (If your company has no revenues, or if revenues are less than the Development budget, answer “over 10%”)
(a) over 8% – add 3 points
(b) 4 to 8% – add 2 points
(c) 2 to 4% – add 1 point
(d) less than 2% – add 0 points

9. Comparing this year’s Development budget to last year’s, how did it change?
(a) Increased by 20% or more – add 3 points
(b) Increased by 5 – 20% – add 2 points
(c) Stayed the same or changed by less than 5% – add 1 point
(d) Decreased by more than 5% – add 0 points

10. The number of concurrent development projects now in my department is
(a project is defined as an activity with a timeline and a goal which needs at least 1 full-time person to make progress towards the goal; if you have many small projects, you can count the number of project leaders instead)
(a) over 25 – add 0 points
(b) 15 to 25 – add 1 point
(c) 5 to 15 – add 2 points
(d) 1 to 4 – add 1 point
(e) none – add 0 points

If your total points add up to 52
, you have a perfectly-performing development organization and have no need for improvement. For the rest of us, the points are probably in the following ranges:
Excellent: 37 to 52 points
Good: 22 to 36 points
Fair: 13 to 21 points
Poor: 12 points or fewer

How did you do? What does this mean? If you think about the stresses on your department, you can see that the point score is not as significant as the individual issues you’re facing. Are you having a lot of turnover? Slipped schedules? Complaints from other departments about your people? These can all be aggravated by declining budgets which are outside of your control.
Later we’ll examine some of these issues and how you can find ways to work around them. In the mean time, click on the Comment button and let us know how you scored.

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About John Levy

John Levy, Ph.D. is an expert in computers, software and storage who is available for consulting in patent litigation.

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