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Top KPIs to Track for Your Remote Software Engineers

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New technologies provide companies and IT specialists with heaps of opportunities like remote working. Some organizations have already shifted to remote working or outreach to specialists before the quarantine. Thus, it was expected that 73% of teams would shift to remote work by 2028 even before the coronavirus lockdown. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, making almost all the IT companies work remotely to stay afloat and competitive.

Today remote software engineers along with other teams have become a new norm. The new state of things not only opens up new opportunities for recruiters but poses new challenges. Now you’re sitting there trying to make up what to do to scale the approaches and methods you use for outreached teams. Want to know how to keep the engineers proactive and efficient? Here are crucial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to implement and track the productivity of your remote software engineers.

What does a solid KPI look like when working remotely?

There is one important thing to bear in mind, don’t overapply industry-standard KPIs. The selected indicators and performance measures may align with the goals, objectives, and culture of the company, and directly impact its prosperity. So, make sure that the selected KPIs cover the following points:

  • Simplicity. In case the team doesn’t understand the KPIs, it’s meaningless to establish such metrics at all – it’ll come to nought. With that in mind, all the KPIs established might be simple and clear for comprehension and assessment.
  • Alignment with the company’s objectives and culture. It’s quite obvious because such metrics are irrational if they don’t make your company more successful and closer to the goals set.
  • Relevance. The definite indicators are controlled by appropriate decision-makers. So, the KPIs for software engineers are to be specific ones.
  • Measurability. The KPIs must be clearly defined and measured that helps you better understand how your remote teams of software engineers are performing.
  • Achievability. It’s critical for any metric to be achievable, otherwise, the engineering team will be frustrated, inefficient, disengaged, and as a consequence unproductive. To put it simply, you’ll receive the opposite result to the expectations when implementing any KPIs.
  • Timeliness. To make any changes effective, accurate and timely data gathered is required. Herewith, all the KPIs reports must be provided frequently and analyzed at the proper time.
  • Visibility. Visible measures and indicators help you keep the remote developers engaged and motivate them to perform their job better.

Even if setting metrics and indicators that include all the components listed above, it’s impossible to grade engineers if the employees don’t know about them. Herewith, all the KPIs and measures are to be clearly defined, documented and explained to the remote team. Also, it’s vital to train teammates on how to interpret the respective KPIs and what aspects of the daily routine must be improved.

9 KPIs to track for your remote software development team

It’s no secret that some KPIs better suit your company than others. Moreover, it’s obvious that such generalized metrics like the number of code lines written, new features finished, a number of bugs fixed, total hours worked within a sprint, and others are ineffective and give the wrong impression of productivity. If the standard metrics don’t work, what KPIs to implement to track for your remote software engineering team? Let’s elaborate on the top 9 KPIs to use when dealing with remote software engineers.

Sprint Burndown

This indicator is needed for monitoring the process dynamics, including task completion and status throughout the sprint, iteration, etc. (a certain time). Based on story points, the indicator provides the necessary insights. Usually, the charts are used for demonstrating the data. It’s a two-axis chart that demonstrates the rate of completed/closed tasks on the y-axis, time on the x-axis. It’s crucial for accuracy that the teammates deliver the work and reports consistently.

When tracking this KPI, you receive significant insights about the workflow and the entire project. The information obtained will help you make the development process even more efficient, providing useful insights:

  • If the project is planned and scoped correctly;
  • If the remote team meets a schedule.

Using the KPI, you can:

  • Plan iterations and sprints as well as estimate tasks in a more efficient way;
  • Delegate tasks in granular pieces;
  • Track the developers’ performance;
  • Reveal the gaps in the process to fix them and boost effectiveness.

Pull request completion

Actually, pull requests are used to notify other team members about the completed feature, changes added, bugs fixed, etc. Once they have been notified, the rest developers and teammates can review and discuss the suggested changes of the code before making integration. The pull request completion as well as the open requests reflect whether the remote team of engineers is efficient when working together. Tracking the opened, re-opened, and closed requests allows revealing the gaps in the feature delivery process.

Open/close Rates

This KPI is used for the measurement of total work output. So, track the metric to state how many production issues (fixed bugs, new features, tasks, etc.) were opened, reported, and closed/completed within a certain period (a week, month, sprint, etc.). Tracking the KPI over time, you receive an understanding of whether remote developers work consistently or not.

Cycle Time

Reveal how long it takes the remote team to move a ticket or task from the status “To Do” to the status “Closed” by implementing the KPI. This indicator estimates and tracks the productivity and speed of the teammates. Thus, you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the software engineers, revealing the types of issues that take more time to be completed or finding other blockers in the process. That allows setting more accurate forecasts and expectations.

Lead Time

This KPI indicates how much time the remote team needs to go from the idea to fully developed app/software. Not only does it help you clarify the overall software engineering team performance from the start date to the release, but you can also gain an understanding of how much time you need to solve various problems. Also, keep in mind that this indicator can be used to track the period when a task is created and added to the backlog and the moment when it is completed.

Team Velocity

This KPI demonstrates how many tasks were closed within a certain period — iteration/sprint. The story points along with feature tickets are commonly used to measure this KPI.

Herewith, the KPI can help to:

  • Plan more realistic sprints and iterations;
  • Spot challenges to mind when planning sprints/iterations;
  • Set realistic delivery forecasts;
  • Reveal a falling velocity, for instance, if there are any blockers;
  • Check if any changes improve the results — increased/stable velocity.

With that in mind, the KPI depicts whether the workflow is efficient or requires improvements. However, this KPI is based on non-objective estimates and you are stick to this fact. That’s why this KPI doesn’t suit for comparing the efficiency and productivity of several and different teams even within the same project.

Cumulative Flow

Collecting data by using this indicator, you can visualize the flow of tasks/tickets over a certain time. Thus, you make the development more estimable. So, the KPI gives a deeper understanding of what tasks/tickets are in progress, reviewed, completed, and on and on. The indicator helps with:

  • Spotting bottlenecks;
  • Checking if the workflow is consistent;
  • Seeing if the team is stable.

Generally, the charts are used in this case. It’s because the graphs obviously demonstrate the current state of things and visualize cycle time, throughput, tasks in progress3 essential development indicators to have in mind. Besides, the chart provides a big picture of the entire workflow. Thus, you see if the remote team handles such a workload, where throughput is over the limit, at what stage tasks/tickets are at the moment, and so on.

Mean Time To Repair (MTTR)

It’s a security indicator that reveals the time between a breach detection and a working solution deployment. Track this KPI over certain time intervals to get more accurate data. The reduction of the MTTR value means that the team of developers becomes more effective.

Bug Rates

This indicator demonstrates the average number of bugs detected during the development and generated as new features. A low defect rate tells about the high quality of code. This KPI helps you increase the quality of the product by revealing defects in the early stages and managing bugs more efficiently. That’s why to measure the KPI you should analyze the following aspects:

  • At what stage the team detected the majority of the defects;
  • How many defects the developers eliminated;
  • How often bugs occur when working with this remote team.

Tips to consider when setting and tracking KPIs

Unfortunately, there is no one-fits-all solution when setting KPIs. Herewith, it’s obligatory to define the metrics and use the specific KPIs for your organization. In addition to that, it’s a tricky thing to define KPIs that are in line with the organization’s culture and objectives. With that in mind, before you set the performance measurements and indicators to track the developers, check the list of points to think over:

  • Describe the intended results, desired expectations;
  • Understand alternative indicators and measures;
  • Choose the right measurement for each goal;
  • Clearly define, state, and document performance measures selected;
  • Set targets, goals, and thresholds;
  • Determine composite indices (if required);
  • Set the time intervals to evaluate progress in line with the intended results, expectations.

Do you think that’s all? Not yet. There are a few more nuances to keep in mind.

  1. If some performance measures and indicators are already used, then assess them to reveal which ones to extract and which ones to discard.
  2. Don’t use all the KPIs at once, choose those that suit your company and project most of all.
  3. It’s better to avoid any brainstorming while establishing KPIs.
  4. Check if you measure all the objectives settled.
  5. Before implementing any performance indicators and engineering metrics, think about the impact and the results for the entire company — not only for the department and/or team. Select KPIs that will be useful for the entire organization.
  6. It’s reasonable to facilitate buy-in among the stakeholders that are relevant to the KPIs.


Nowadays, remote working is the new normal. According to the latest studies, remote teams can be 13% to 35% more productive. Yet, it’s crucial to choose the right KPIs to reach the objectives settled, keep employees engaged, and inspire engineers to succeed. If the KPIs are used correctly, they can dramatically change and optimize the workforce. Moreover, it’s crucial to establish KPIs that are relevant to your company and project, aligned with settled objectives. Besides that, don’t choose difficult metrics. All the indicators might be simple, achievable, measurable, visible, and timely. In this article, we’ve highlighted the most common and working KPIs used when dealing with the remote team of software engineers. Just customize the KPIs described according to the core organization’s goals to take full advantage of them.


Bogdan Ivanov is a CTO DDI development. Bogdan is responsible for building the complete technology strategy within the company. Outlining the company’s technological vision, and ensuring that the technological resources are aligned with the company’s business needs are his main responsibilities.