Saturday, August 05, 2023

Development Metrics? Try DevEx
by Ron Lichty

If you read my post on never, ever, ever, letting story points or velocity be used as a performance metric, you are likely aware of my skepticism around software developer and development metrics. In that post, I called out Jerry Muller’s thin book, The Tyranny of Metrics, for capturing the inane insistence on metrics to “measure" developer productivity. Muller quotes Andrew Natsios in defining an increasingly problematic, increasingly common human condition that Natsios labeled “Obsessive Measurement Disorder: an intellectual dysfunction rooted in the notion that counting everything… will produce better policy choices and improved management.” Muller devoted his book to debunking that belief.

You also likely know my appreciation for work by Nicole Forsgren and others - their book Accelerate, and their DORA studies, which focused not on attempting development and developer metrics, but rather on leveraging very tangible delivery metrics.

(Worth watching: good talk by Emily Nakashima on leveraging DORA for KPIs.)

More recently Forsgren and co-coauthors delivered SPACE: actually looking at developer productivity.

Now Forsgren with yet another set of coauthors has looked into Developer Experience - DevEx - not just tools, but human factors such as having clear goals for projects and feeling psychologically safe on a team. DevEx has been shown to have a substantial impact not only on developers' performance and productivity, but also on their satisfaction and engagement, and on employee retention. And how do we measure DevEx?

Complete with real-world examples.

Image by Lukas Bieri via Pixabay


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