Beyond developer productivity, how to reach engineering impact ?

Beyond developer productivity, how to reach engineering impact ?

Beyond developer productivity, how to reach engineering impact ?

Feb 21, 2024

4 min read

Engineering efficiency has become a burning topic with the ongoing downsizings and cost-cutting trends. Boards and investors demand visibility into engineering performance, while engineering leaders struggle to characterize what defines success in their field.

This symptom reveals another root cause: relying solely on engineering KPIs falls short of capturing the complexity of software development. They fail to encapsulate considerations such as juggling between priorities, managing technical debt or bottlenecks, or navigating team management challenges. Aggregating different types of metrics is crucial, as engineering success takes a lot more than productivity: no business impact can be achieved without alignment to company goals; no results can be obtained durably without a fulfilling environment for the teams.

At Echoes, we emphasize on three pillars that we believe are essential components of engineering success: alignment with business, performance, and positive experience, all contributing to the overarching goal of engineering impact.

Alignment with Business Goals

This pillar focuses on ensuring that engineering efforts are directed towards the right areas that serve customers and contribute to the overall success of the business and product goals. It’s about channeling energy in the right direction, and being aware of the eventual and inevitable noise or shadow work that may interfere with main priorities.

Beyond your best gut feeling, do you know how much of their efforts your teams are investing on your company’s OKR, North Star or simply on customer value? These impact measures are essential to understand the true value of your team's work.

Giving the opportunity to a team to have a clear vision of their business priorities, and how they should deliver impact, is a smart way to give autonomy to an engineering team. It will engage them in a virtuous cycle. Impact measures examples can be useful to illustrate this concept.

An optimal Engineering Performance

This pillar evaluates the efficiency of software delivery processes. It involves continuously improving workflows, tooling, and methodologies to enhance productivity, reduce time to market, and maintain high-quality standards. The DORA metrics, or the SPACE framework, are engineering excellence metrics that are useful tools when it comes to monitoring engineering activities through data. Following these metrics’ trends helps to anticipate a drift in a team’s performance, through weak signals. Here again, it’s about going beyond a manager’s experience or gut feeling, and gaining expertise.

The objective here is to empower teams to monitor their engineering performance using engineering KPI, like DORA metrics, in order for them to continuously improve, similar to how a runner tracks his performance through applications like Strava.

A developer-Centric Environment

This core principle underscores the importance of establishing a nurturing and empowering atmosphere for developers. It entails ensuring access to essential resources, cultivating a culture of continuous learning and development, and placing importance on aspects like work-life balance and collaborative teamwork. A developer-centric environment serves to attract and retain top-tier talent. Emphasizing a healthy ecosystem may involve evaluating performance at the team level rather than individual contributions, and ensuring transparent access to data for all team members.

We believe it’s the alliance of these 3 pillars that will create a robust engineering ecosystem that fosters innovation, efficiency, and significant engineering impact, leading to overall organizational success. It's about balancing technical excellence with business objectives and creating an environment where engineers can thrive and contribute their best work.

Begin your journey to a healthier engineering organization today

© 2023 Echoes HQ Inc. All rights reserved

© 2023 Echoes HQ Inc. All rights reserved

© 2023 Echoes HQ Inc. All rights reserved