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Ratio of Developers to Projects

Ratio of Developers to Projects

Ratio of Developers to Projects

I am curious if there is a general ratio of developers to projects.

I work as a Director of a software development department. We keep around 200 projects in our queue at a time ranging from things that take 15 minutes (quick fixes) to long term development (6 months to a year).

We have 3 developers, a project manager, a quality assurance tester and myself that tries to help out in all areas while trying to be the director at the same time.

Can anyone shed any light on this?


ProDev, Builders of Affordable Software Applications
Visit me at ==> http://www.prodev.us

May God bless you beyond your imagination!!!

RE: Ratio of Developers to Projects

Just from where I am...

We have 4 Java developers, 1 Oracle Developer, 1 Oracle DBA, and 5 Business Analysts. One of the Java Developers is the "Developer Manager".

We have about 100 projects, most of which range from 15 mins to *maybe* a month. There are only a handful of projects that would expand past that.

The only current issue that seems to be our issue is the lack of structure on the software development cycle. We have issues where we have scope creep on a project, lack of specs & requirements, communication and a bottle neck in testing.

From your description, it is hard to say you are properly staffed without knowing what your release cycles are like and what approach to development are you going to use. Are you using Agile? Are you using XP with Agile? Or are you just assigning projects to the "best fit" and having them complete the project the best way they know how?

If each developer is working on their own projects and you have only one tester, you are going to bottle neck there and overload your tester. Unless, of course, you are doing XP with pair programming.

Can you please define your development cycle?

RE: Ratio of Developers to Projects

No we do not use Agile.

Most of our user apps have Access front ends with SQL Server backend.

We have a significant amount of new apps that we build in asp.net.

We are meeting for the next four weeks to talk about converting the existing Access apps to Asp.net (more projects) and converting SQL Server 2000 to 2005 (even more work).

We have no DBA so there are more responsibilities for us.

We have no software to manage our projects.

We have one project manager (that often has to code too) that tries to interview all users when request come in.

We do have a system for people to submit request (MAGIC).

She tries to set due dates and estimate time. With 200 projects you can see what a challenge that is.

Each developer and I have multiple projects they work on. Some long term some short term.

Yes, we only have one tester. We just acquired him less than a year ago.

ProDev, Builders of Affordable Software Applications
Visit me at ==> http://www.prodev.us

May God bless you beyond your imagination!!!

RE: Ratio of Developers to Projects

Well, I would strongly recommend a Project Management System. There are several Open Source ones (Trac is a really nice one: http://trac.edgewall.org/) and some extremely nice ones for $$. If you are interested in paying for one, let me know as I can recommend some really nice ones to use.

As long as the due dates take into account testing, etc, I think you have a nice team. It all depends on the customer's demands. I personally like a 2:3 ration for testers to developers... 2 testers for every 3 developers. This just makes the releases happen faster.

The business needs are what drives projects... that is the most important thing to remember. Some people assign projects according to who yells most, and not what best works for the business. So if you have a project that could potentially save the company a lot of money, pull more than one developer (if applicable) onto the project.

Each place is different, so it is hard to suggest if what you have is good or not.

RE: Ratio of Developers to Projects

You have 200 projects in the queue (15 minutes to 6 month in duration). You did not mention any problems in getting the projects fixed on time or within budget.

By adding: Agile, DBAs, software to manage projects and additional PMs...will this allow her to estimate the tasks more efficiently?

Ask the company for raises and at a minimum performance bonuses because your team is doing a great job. The additional costs & technical reconnoiterance for the add-ons will break the work flow.

"You should always have one less project developer than you need"

Peter Buitenhek

RE: Ratio of Developers to Projects

I never said that WOULD make tasks more efficient. I asked what she currently is using.

It is hard to say "yes, that team will kick butt" without knowing more about the team, how they do things, etc. So saying she needs raises based on 200 projects in the queue (15 mins to 6 month in duration) is faulty.

RE: Ratio of Developers to Projects


"You should always have one less project developer than you need" -- Peter

"...and you'll always have projects late and over budget." -- M!ke's corollary

< M!ke >
Don't believe everything you think.

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