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How Beyond Finance Fosters Engineering Team Health with Velocity

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By: Code Climate
January 12, 2023

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Beyond Finance is a tech-forward company that helps individuals find freedom from debt. Software is the foundation of its business model, and the culture is inherently iterative, always seeking improvement. Leadership values its people and goes the extra mile to create an environment where employees can flourish. The end goal is achieving the best outcomes for clients and the business as a whole, and improving engineering team health

The company’s innovative approach has fueled massive growth. Beyond Finance has earned the trust of over 200,000 clients, helping to resolve more than $1 billion in debt along the way. As Beyond Finance scales to support a rapidly growing user base and builds new products to maintain its position as an industry leader, its engineering team, which doubled over the past three years, continues bringing in new talent at a rapid pace.

Sergio Rabiela, vice president of technology, said that visibility into the health of the engineering organization is essential to support a growing team. Code Climate’s Velocity helps with onboarding new engineers. 

“We set goals as a team, put them in Velocity, and track our progress. It’s tough to do that without a Software Engineering Intelligence platform,” Rabiela said.

Eliminating the Manual Drag of Metrics

The Beyond Finance engineering culture has always been collaborative and reflective, with a goal of continuous improvement. But when Rabiela joined in 2019, it required a lot of effort to glean insight into the development pipeline, bottlenecks, and project status. At that time, Rabiela had to log into development tools to look at individual pull requests and code reviews and manually collect data to get a complete picture of what the team was accomplishing.

Rabiela had experience with Code Climate’s Velocity in a previous role and knew the platform could deliver the insight he needed without the manual effort. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before they had the technology in place and leadership at Beyond Finance was able to gain immediate value. 

Not only did Beyond Finance experience substantial time savings during reporting, but the tool revealed some interesting gaps they didn’t expect. They had the context necessary to correlate important metrics like PR throughput with the activities that impacted results. For example, the extra time teams spent troubleshooting issues in production affected how often they could push code, and meeting cycles extended code review times. They were even able to adjust their weekly schedule to create an environment that allowed their developers more time for the activities that mattered most — a change that the team appreciated.

“Velocity gives us signals that something is off in our environment or the way things are working so that we can address it proactively before it becomes a problem that impacts the organization. It is especially helpful at surfacing things that are hard to see otherwise,” Rabiela said.

With this visibility, Beyond Finance increased PR throughput by more than 700% in the first year and continued to improve throughout 2021. In 2022, they maintained high throughput rates despite nearly doubling their contributor count — a change that can often slow teams down. 

Fostering Engineering Team Health and Success

Velocity is essential in maintaining healthy workflows, achieving goals, and identifying opportunities for skills development. Rabiela said they frequently use the Developer360 team view to understand the various dimensions of their development activities. This insight guides managers to adjust processes if a project seems to be going off course or to make changes for future sprints. Additionally, visibility into trends in throughput and review times serve as a consistent baseline for measuring progress toward goals. 

It’s also valuable for developers, who get alerts when PRs have gone more than 24 hours without being addressed. And managers use individual developer metrics to help new engineers grow and build the right habits, like pushing code to GitHub at frequent intervals. 

“Many of these metrics would be nearly impossible to find without Velocity, because tools like GitHub are really just about the code you write, not necessarily the reviews or the comments. You lose a lot of context and end up with missing pieces. The daily activities of our engineers encompass a lot more than just writing code,” Rabiela said. 

Ultimately, Code Climate helps the engineering team at Beyond Finance uphold the company’s commitment to continuous improvement so it can ensure its products and processes are the best they can possibly be.

Want to learn how to improve engineering team health in your organization with data-driven visibility? Speak with a Velocity Product Specialist

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