Engineering metrics can be a powerful tool for tracking and communicating engineering progress, debugging processes, boosting team performance, and much more – but they must be wielded with care. When misused, metrics can backfire, creating confusion and resentment.
To help engineering leaders successfully leverage metrics, Code Climate has partnered with LeadDev on a series of blog posts and webinars that explore the fundamentals of data-driven leadership. Drawing on the expertise of engineering leaders from a range of industries, we highlight real-world perspectives on the what, why, and how of measuring as an engineering leader. We touch on everything from selecting the best metrics to track for your organization, to introducing metrics successfully, and specific use cases, like using metrics to run more impactful standups.
Here are some key insights:
- “I’ve found that metrics are valuable in helping zero in on what might be getting in the team’s way. Instead of treating them as a way to judge performance, I believe metrics are most useful in bringing to light areas of opportunity.” Leslie Cohn-Wein, Engineering Manager, Netlify
- “First and foremost, I use metrics to help me identify what the biggest bottlenecks are across different teams. Without metrics, I’d be left to make this judgment based on hearsay instead of methodology. The second reason I use metrics is to understand changes over time, particularly as we undergo organizational changes or make investments in specific areas.” Abi Noda, Developer Experience Expert
- “Cycle Time is a metric that I consistently come back to — it’s a great proxy for engineering speed, and can be a useful high-level look at whether certain key decisions are having the desired impact. If we’re moving slower than we had been, I can then isolate parts of the engineering pipeline and investigate where exactly things are going off track.” James McGill, VP of Engineering, Code Climate
- “The outcomes of productive standups ripple throughout the engineering team. By discussing specific metrics in standups, you can tell if your team is moving forward. You can ensure that the risks are being addressed from an objective, quantifiable standpoint rather than opinion.” Khan Smith, VP of Product, Code Climate
To dig deeper into what engineering leaders are doing today with metrics, check out the full series.
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