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Why Engineering Leaders Need Software Engineering Intelligence Platforms

Rachel Roth

By: Rachael Roth
May 08, 2023

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VSM vs. SEI Platforms: Why Engineering Leaders Need Software Intelligence Platforms

Software organizations and teams power businesses across a range of industries, and the success of those organizations hinges on fast, stable, and predictable software delivery. For any organization wanting to gain an advantage in the marketplace and provide maximum value to customers, improving the efficiency and productivity of their engineering team is a critical step.

With an abundance of tools, stakeholders, and data repositories, engineering organizations are complex. Not only is leadership tasked with optimizing the flow of work through delivery pipelines, but also with quantifying and demonstrating engineering value to the business. Many leaders turn to a value stream management (VSM) tool or a Software Engineering Intelligence (SEI) platform, to address these challenges. While both have their benefits, there are important differences that make SEI platforms the most comprehensive solution for engineering leaders.

Software Engineering Intelligence (SEI) platforms, also sometimes known as Engineering Management Platforms (EMPs), like Code Climate Velocity, offer critical insight into the engineering part of the value stream by providing both granular and holistic views of a team’s DevOps pipeline, team health, and developer experience. This enables engineering leaders with the right tools to be more effective in their roles.

SEI platforms also surface value stream metrics, like those tied to product value and customer satisfaction, which allow leaders to communicate more effectively with stakeholders.

How does Code Climate Velocity provide value stream insights?

Velocity, which is a Software Engineering Intelligence (SEI) platform, offers a range of insights that are valuable for engineering leaders and teams, but when it comes to the value stream in particular, it allows teams to track efficiency, resource allocation, and speed of software delivery.

For those looking for value stream insights, Velocity offers:

Data and integrations. Velocity ingests data from an organization’s existing tools, including GitHub and Jira, plus incident and deploy data, turning that data into dashboards and reports.

Actionable insights from data. Engineering leaders can leverage these insights to investigate their delivery pipelines and make improvements to the workflow. They can also share reports with stakeholders to underscore the impact of the engineering team on the business and align on strategic priorities.

Modules to enhance visibility. With Velocity modules like Team360, Dev360, and Code Review, managers can evaluate processes and institute best practices to improve workflow. With metrics like Cycle Time and modules like Workstreams, Velocity allows users to understand the flow of work through application delivery pipelines.

DORA metrics. DORA metrics track the overall efficiency of how you are delivering value to your customers. Velocity captures the four key DORA metrics, contextualizing them among other engineering metrics, in our Analytics module.

Tracking deliverables within Velocity

A key component of value stream management is the ability to track the status of projects and deliverables. Here are two ways that Velocity can help track deliverables:

With Workstreams: Velocity’s Workstreams module brings together Git and project management data for active boards and sprints, allowing engineering leaders to visualize work in progress.

To be more effective, engineering leaders need even more capabilities than what value stream platforms provide. Here are additional insights provided by an SEI platform like Velocity that are critical for leadership.

Benchmarking within Velocity

With competitive benchmarking available in an SEI platform, engineering leaders can compare their team’s performance against others in the industry. Internal benchmarking can also be useful for teams to evaluate their own progress, or to assess the efficacy of your internal onboarding processes. While we don’t recommend stack ranking developers, there are effective ways of comparing teams to achieve impact. Using the Compare module within Velocity allows leaders to identify high performers. You can then dig deeper into those teams’ processes, and scale best practices across the organization so that every team is operating at that level.

Tactical engineering metrics from an SEI platform

Leaders need ways to connect engineering input to business outcomes in order to demonstrate the engineering organization’s impact on the business. SEI platforms provide the level of visibility required for leaders to communicate the value of engineering teams to stakeholders.

Velocity contextualizes data

Code Climate’s SEI platform, Velocity, does more than provide metrics: it surfaces actionable insights and ingests up to a year of historical data, so that engineering leaders can identify trends and patterns.

With annotations, Velocity users can add relevant context to data within the platform, noting events or organizational changes, and observe their impact. Velocity’s Analytics module also allows engineering leaders and teams to view metrics in tandem to find correlations.

More than Delivery Metrics: Maximize Team Health with Velocity

Beyond focusing on work that moves through the pipeline, effective engineering leaders prioritize the health of teams and experiences of individual contributors. An SEI platform like Velocity makes it easier for engineering leaders to gain visibility into team health, while traditional VSM tools do not surface these insights. Creating a culture of continuous feedback and encouraging developer growth, for example, all lead to a better working environment. A positive, psychologically safe environment leads to product innovation and a higher rate of developer retention, which in turn will lead to improved value delivery.

While developer happiness is difficult to quantify, Velocity surfaces insights that correlate to developer satisfaction and team health, and helps leaders spot and prevent potential burnout, find opportunities for developer growth, and inform coaching conversations.

Here are Velocity features that specifically address these needs:


Velocity’s Team360 module is designed to provide engineering leaders with a consolidated view of what their teams are working on.

With snapshots and illustrations of workload and work distribution, leaders will be less inclined to ask for updates or micromanage teams. With this module, leaders can visualize how work is distributed to mitigate potential burnout, and see where teams are excelling to scale best practices across the organization.

Engineering leaders can use these insights to inform coaching conversations, providing concrete analytics to help teams remove blockers and establish priorities.


The Developer360 module, designed for Engineering Managers, provides transparency around engineering work and, similar to Team360, helps with coaching, alignment, and planning.

Specific insights into developer activity helps managers identify at-risk work so you can step in and support developers, while a snapshot of developer workload offers transparency around a team’s capacity and work distribution. Additionally, managers can gain a visual summary of a developer’s technical toolbox and skill level, providing a basis for planning and coaching conversations.


Velocity’s Compare module is the engineering leader’s answer to identifying top performers and those who need additional support in an organization.

This module breaks down performance by metric to visualize how individuals and teams are performing relative to one another on a given metric, as well as how performance is improving over time. Compare offers various visualization formats to gain different insights. For example, Radar View is a visual representation of whether a developer’s efforts are evenly distributed across all relevant metrics, whereas the Card View allows you to see metrics for teams or individuals in a scorecard format, and compare metrics over certain time periods.

The role of engineering leader is multifaceted. In addition to overseeing and improving delivery pipelines, team health, and performance, leaders also need to communicate the impact of the engineering organization to stakeholders.

A data-based platform is the most effective way to achieve this: data insights lay the groundwork for actionable conversations with your team to enable them to excel, while offering concrete evidence of the engineering’s role in driving change in the business. While VSM and SEI platforms both offer objective data, SEI platforms offer the most critical insights for engineering leaders.

To see Velocity’s capabilities in action, schedule a demo with a product specialist.

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