KPIs for Product Managers

KPIs for Product Managers: build failure rate

In this article, you'll learn about the key performance indicators (KPIs) that product managers should track to measure build failure rates.

As a product manager, one of your most important tasks is to ensure that your team is delivering high-quality software products. However, achieving this can be challenging when you're dealing with frequent build failures. Build failures not only waste time and resources, but they can also lead to frustration among team members and poor customer experiences. That's why measuring and tracking build failure rate is a critical KPI for product managers to monitor. In this article, we'll explore the definition, importance, and methods of tracking this KPI, as well as its potential impact on product development.

Understanding Build Failure Rate

Before we delve into the importance of monitoring build failure rate, it's essential to understand what it is. Build failure rate measures the percentage of builds that fail during the software development process. These builds can fail due to various reasons, such as incorrect code syntax, infrastructure issues, or third-party dependency problems. As a product manager, it's imperative to know your team's build failure rate to identify areas for improvement and optimize your team's efficiency.

Definition of Build Failure Rate

Build failure rate is calculated by dividing the number of failed builds by the total number of builds attempted, multiplied by 100. For example, if your team attempted 100 builds, and 20 of them failed, your build failure rate is 20%. This KPI reflects the quality of your team's work and highlights any issues that need to be addressed promptly.

Importance of Monitoring Build Failure Rate

Monitoring build failure rate is essential because it allows you to identify problematic areas in your team's workflow. A high build failure rate indicates that something is not working, and it requires further investigation. It can also help identify areas where your team may need more training or additional resources to troubleshoot issues. Moreover, a low build failure rate reflects a well-structured and optimized development process.

Common Causes of Build Failures

Build failures can arise for various reasons. Common causes include:

  • Incorrect code syntax: This can be caused by human error or a lack of knowledge of the programming language being used.
  • Issues with third-party tools or dependencies: These can include outdated or incompatible versions of libraries or software.
  • Hardware or infrastructure problems: These can include network connectivity issues or server failures.
  • Software version incompatibilities: These can occur when different versions of software or libraries are used across different parts of the development process.

These issues can be frustrating for developers and can lead to delays in product releases. By identifying the common causes of build failures, product managers can take appropriate measures to prevent them from recurring and optimize their team's workflow.

How to Reduce Build Failure Rate

Reducing build failure rate requires a combination of technical and organizational solutions. Some strategies that can be implemented include:

  • Automating builds and tests: This can help catch errors early in the development process.
  • Regularly updating third-party tools and dependencies: This can prevent compatibility issues.
  • Providing training and resources to developers: This can help improve their knowledge of programming languages and tools.
  • Improving communication and collaboration between team members: This can help identify and resolve issues more quickly.

By implementing these strategies, product managers can reduce build failure rate and improve the efficiency of their team's development process.

Key Performance Indicators for Product Managers

As a product manager, KPIs are essential for measuring your team's success and continuously improving processes. Here are some reasons why KPIs matter for product managers:

  • KPIs provide a clear understanding of how a team is performing and help to identify areas for improvement.
  • KPIs help to communicate the team's goals and progress to stakeholders, such as executives, clients, and team members.
  • A well-chosen set of KPIs can also help motivate and engage team members, as they provide concrete goals to work towards.

However, selecting the right KPIs can be a challenging task. Here are some tips to help you choose the right KPIs:

Selecting the Right KPIs

When selecting KPIs, it's crucial to choose metrics that reflect the team's primary objectives and goals. Product managers must identify which metrics translate to success in the final product or service. Furthermore, KPIs must be measurable, relevant, and specific, and established realistically achievable targets for the team. This ensures that the KPIs truly measure the team's performance and indicate actionable steps to take for improvement.

For example, if your team is responsible for developing a mobile app, you might choose KPIs such as user retention rate, app store ratings, and daily active users. These metrics help to measure the success of the app and provide insight into areas for improvement.

Balancing Quantitative and Qualitative Metrics

KPIs usually fall into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative metrics are measurable and numerical, while qualitative metrics are descriptive and subjective. It's vital for product managers to balance both types of metrics when selecting KPIs. Quantitative metrics provide specific, measurable targets, while qualitative metrics provide context and a deeper understanding of customer satisfaction and team morale. Both types of metrics are necessary to ensure a holistic view of the team's performance and success.

For example, if your team is responsible for developing a new feature for a product, you might choose quantitative metrics such as the number of bugs fixed and the number of feature requests completed. You might also choose qualitative metrics such as customer satisfaction surveys and feedback from the team on the development process. This combination of metrics provides a well-rounded view of the team's performance and success.

In conclusion, KPIs are essential for product managers to measure their team's success and continuously improve processes. By selecting the right KPIs and balancing quantitative and qualitative metrics, product managers can ensure a holistic view of the team's performance and success.

Measuring and Reducing Build Failure Rate

Measuring build failure rate is vital to optimize the team's performance. Here are some tools and best practices for tracking build failures:

Tools for Tracking Build Failures

There are several tools available to track build failures, including Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) tools. CI tools automatically run tests on every code change and notify the team when a build failure occurs. CD tools automatically deploy successful builds to production environments. Additionally, there are analytics tools that enable product managers to track team performance, identify trends, and highlight areas of improvement. These tools help product managers stay on top of build failures and ensure that issues are addressed promptly.

One of the most popular CI/CD tools is Jenkins, an open-source automation server that integrates with hundreds of plugins to automate the build process. Jenkins can be used to automate the entire software development lifecycle, from building and testing to deploying and monitoring. Other popular CI/CD tools include Travis CI, CircleCI, and GitLab CI/CD.

Identifying Patterns and Trends

By tracking build failure rate, product managers can identify patterns and trends that may signal underlying issues in the development process. For example, if there's a sudden spike in build failures, it could be due to a new team member working on a complex feature or a software update that caused compatibility issues. Identifying these patterns and trends can provide insights into areas that require additional training or process improvements to reduce build failure rates.

Product managers can also use data visualization tools to analyze build failure rates over time. These tools can help identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent in raw data. For example, a line chart that shows build failure rates over the past six months may reveal a steady increase in failures that was not noticeable in a simple table of data.

Implementing Best Practices to Reduce Failures

Product managers can reduce build failure rates by implementing best practices such as code review, testing, and infrastructure automation. Code review ensures that code is well-written and free of syntax errors, while testing catches bugs before they cause build failures. Infrastructure automation automates the deployment process, reducing the risk of human error. By implementing these best practices, product managers can optimize their team's workflow and reduce build failures.

Code review is an essential best practice that can catch errors before they cause build failures. Code review involves a team member reviewing another team member's code to ensure that it meets coding standards, is well-documented, and is free of syntax errors. Code review can be done manually or with the help of automated tools such as Code Climate or SonarQube.

Testing is another critical best practice that can prevent build failures. Automated testing tools such as JUnit, Selenium, and Cucumber can catch bugs before they cause build failures. Testing can be done at various stages of the development process, including unit testing, integration testing, and acceptance testing.

Infrastructure automation is another best practice that can reduce build failure rates. Infrastructure automation involves using tools such as Ansible, Chef, or Puppet to automate the deployment process. Infrastructure automation ensures that every deployment is consistent and reduces the risk of human error.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) are software development practices that emphasize the importance of frequent and automated builds. CI ensures that every code change is integrated continuously into the codebase and tested. CD ensures that successful builds are automatically deployed to production environments. These practices save time, reduce the risk of build failures, and increase the team's efficiency. By adopting CI/CD, product managers can optimize their team's workflow and reduce build failure rates significantly.

CI/CD can be implemented using a variety of tools and frameworks. For example, AWS CodePipeline is a fully managed CI/CD service that automates the build, test, and deployment process. Other popular CI/CD tools include Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, and CircleCI.

In conclusion, tracking build failure rate is essential for optimizing the team's performance. By using tools for tracking build failures, identifying patterns and trends, implementing best practices to reduce failures, and adopting CI/CD, product managers can reduce build failure rates and increase the team's efficiency.

The Impact of Build Failure Rate on Product Development

Finally, it's essential to consider the potential impact of build failure rate on product development:

Effects on Team Morale and Productivity

Build failures can have a negative impact on team morale and productivity. When developers encounter frequent build failures, it can be demotivating and frustrating. Additionally, it can lead to delays in release dates, putting pressure on the team and increasing the risk of burnout. By reducing build failure rate, product managers can improve team morale and productivity, leading to a more motivated and engaged team.

Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Build failure rate can also impact customer satisfaction and retention. When builds fail, it can lead to delays in releases or products with bugs, which can frustrate customers and lead to decreased satisfaction. Additionally, it can lead to poor reviews and feedback, hurting the reputation of the product and company. By reducing build failure rate, product managers can improve customer satisfaction and retention, leading to increased revenue and growth.

Time-to-Market and Competitive Advantage

Finally, reducing build failure rate can lead to faster time-to-market and provide a competitive advantage. When builds are successful, the product can be released on time or even earlier, giving the company an edge over competitors. Additionally, it enables the team to focus on developing new features and improvements instead of fixing build failures continually. By reducing build failure rate, product managers can improve the time-to-market and competitive advantage of their products.


Monitoring build failure rate is a critical KPI for product managers. It allows you to identify problematic areas in your team's workflow, improve team morale and productivity, and improve customer satisfaction and retention. By adopting CI/CD, implementing best practices, and choosing the right KPIs, product managers can optimize their team's workflow, reduce build failure rates, and improve their product development processes.