It occurred to me recently that when it comes to a software project – it takes more than just code to make it successful but at the same time we typically only measure the scope of a software project in lines of code (LOCs). In most organisations it’s laughed at as an official measure of productivity, but think about it – when was the last time your manager put socialising or pondering or answering email or relearning your own code on the project plan?

I don’t have the time to go looking at the mass of research about measuring programmer productivity or project complexity, but I’ve had this quick idea I can share: instead of lines of code (which is just a part of the effort involved in maintaining a project) we can measure the entire effort it takes to conceive it, design it, build it, and maintain it.

What unit of measurement? Days of effort, of course, or DOE. Unless it’s a big project, in which case we can measure in months of effort, or MOE. If it’s a really big project – years of effort, YOE. But tiny projects should not be forgotten – so hours of effort must also be accounted for, as HOEs.

I think I will suggest that to my project manager if I have one again some time soon..