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Tangoe improved retention with a metrics-oriented culture of support
When Chris first he stepped into his role, he noticed tension among the team. Through 1:1s and conversations with prior leadership, he uncovered a culture that was hostile to mistakes. Chris tells us, “When I first started, errors were a source of shame. Everyone was afraid of making a mistake because they didn’t want to be belittled.”
With their office in Indianapolis, Tangoe was competing with giants like Salesforce for engineering talent. There was a company-wide effort to create more mentorship opportunities and better incentives for engineers to stick around.
“We wanted to hire at the intro-level and grow engineers into senior engineers and managers. We were setting up mentoring programs for this,” says Chris. But they couldn’t pull this off without improving the feeling support across the team.
Chris started creating structure around code reviews and mentoring, as well as encouraging managers to be transparent about team-wide strengths and weaknesses.
Each week, Chris sends out screenshots of key Velocity reports, such as Activity Log, showing workload distribution, and Pull Request throughput, indicating efficiency. The teams then used these reports to discuss progress or problems in their daily standups.
Chris also encouraged managers to share key individual metrics with their team. Management emphasized that these metrics would never be used punitively, but rather to create concrete benchmarks for improvement.
One of the software engineers tells us she prefers metrics to her experience on other teams that only relied on qualitative measures of performance. “I love having the metrics, because I know exactly what I have to do to grow at Tangoe. At previous jobs, I had no idea why or when I’d be promoted.”
Over time, the team was able to boost retention and grow senior engineers and engineering managers through their data-driven coaching and mentoring program.
“The climate is more curious. Everyone is inquisitive and interested in the data. No one is accusatory.”— Shawn Plew, Lead Engineer, Tangoe