February 6, 2024

Why do you need a Developer metrics dashboard for your engineering team?

Table of Contents

Key takeaway

Executives often ask a crucial question - "What value is your team bringing to the organization?" As an engineering team, you should develop your own metrics to demonstrate your team's growth and contributions. This is necessary because marketing and sales have their own metrics for deals and leads. 

This blog will explain the benefits of creating and managing a Developer metrics dashboard. It can help gain insights into the engineering team's work and identify areas that require attention. We will examine the problems with outdated tools for measuring developer productivity and provide solutions to overcome them. This way, you can accurately assess the business value your engineering team brings.

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Developer Insight?
  2. What metrics are important when building a Developer Insight?
  3. Tools in the industry
  4. How to improve your developer efficiency?

Understanding the health and productivity of your team is essential for any engineering organization. To achieve this, you can use Developer Insights to show your team's value and performance through metrics. Like a player's career graph, these dashboards show how efficient and productive your developers are. 

Having reliable, up-to-date, organized, user-friendly data with the right measurements is crucial. Although many teams use metrics, only a few use the right ones. Choosing the right metrics is crucial for understanding your team's productivity and efficiency accurately. 

Here are the top four metrics that can help executives understand your organization's true status.

Development Cycle Time

Measuring development efficiency is important. Cycle time is a key metric that gives a brief overview of all stages involved. But only looking at the total number can be limiting, as there might be many reasons for a long cycle time. 

To better understand the problem and find its main cause, it's best to divide the process into different stages.

This process involves several stages. These stages include measuring the time it takes to make the first commit. Another stage is to create a Pull Request. Additionally, we measure the activity in the PR and the approval time in the PR.

Lastly, we measure the time it takes to merge the item into the main codebase. You can analyze each stage separately.

This will help you identify specific areas where your development process is struggling. Once you have identified these areas, you can make a plan to fix the problems. These problems are slowing down your team's productivity.

Active Work (In Progress)

Workload is the term used to describe the number of tasks that a developer is handling at any given time. When a developer has too many tasks, they may switch between them frequently. This frequent switching can lower productivity and eventually lead to burnout. 

You can track the amount of work assigned to developers and in progress. This will help you determine who is overloaded. You can then adjust priorities to avoid harming productivity.

Moreover, tracking active work can help you determine whether your team's tasks align with your business goals. You can use this information to reorganize priorities and ensure that your team is working efficiently towards your goals.

Pull Request Size

Smaller pull requests from developers help reduce cycle time, according to studies. This may come as unexpected, but it makes sense once you think about it. 

Reviewers are more inclined to promptly handle smaller PRs as they are aware that they can finish them more swiftly. If you notice that the pickup and review times for your team's PRs are taking too long, try monitoring the size of the PRs. Then, you can help developers keep their PRs within a certain size, which will reduce your cycle time.

Rework

Rework refers to any changes made to existing code, regardless of its age. This may include alterations, fixes, enhancements, or optimizations. Rework Metrics is a concept that enables developers to measure the amount of changes made to existing code. Developers can assess code stability, change frequency, and development efficiency.

By measuring the amount of changes made to existing code, developers can assess the quality of their development efforts. They find code problems, improve development, and prevent future rework. 

How to improve your Developer Productivity?

As the common adage suggests, acknowledging that you have an issue is the initial step towards improvement. However, it's equally important to identify the problem accurately, or else improvement will be impossible. 

This is especially true for software teams. Complicated processes in an engineering team can easily fail and finding the main problem is often difficult. That's where metrics come in. 

A Developer Insight (i.e. the Dashboard) displays your engineering team's progress and helps identify areas where developers may struggle. By identifying the problem areas, you can provide solutions to improve the developer experience, which ultimately increases their productivity.

How to choose the right platform to measure DEV insights?

You need a dashboard that is accurate, current, unified, and easy to understand, even if it has the best metrics. Otherwise, it may not be very useful.

Harness SEI can help you create an end-to-end developer insight (i.e. Dashboard) with all the necessary metrics. The distinguishing factor of Harness SEI is its ability to link your git data and Jira data together. This helps you understand how your development resources are used, find obstacles for developers, and evaluate your organization's plan efficiency.

Once you understand what's going on with your teams, you can set targets to create an action plan for your developers. For example, you can reduce your PR sizes. 

You can also use various reports on Harness SEI to measure and track your cycle time and lead time. 

  1. The Lead Time by Time Spent in Stages report and SCM PR Lead Time by Stages report can help you measure the lead time spent on development stages and custom stages from the time the item was created as a task until it is deployed into production. 
  2. The SCM PRs report can help you notify a developer when they create a PR that is larger than the desired size. 
  3. You can also use the SCM Rework Report to understand the efficacy of your legacy code and how often rework is taking place in your main codebase, resulting in developer churn. 

By providing a comprehensive set of essential parameters, including code quality, code volume, speed, impact, proficiency, and collaboration, SEI enables engineering teams to gain deeper insights into their workflows.

The Trellis Score, a proprietary scoring mechanism developed by SEI, offers an effective way to quantify team productivity. With this information at hand, engineering teams can leverage SEI Insights to pinpoint areas requiring improvement, whether they relate to people, processes, or tools. Ultimately, SEI empowers organizations to optimize their development efforts, leading to increased efficiency and higher-quality outputs.

To learn more, schedule a demo with our experts.

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