A better way to measure developer productivity

Despite decades of research and practical experience, measuring developer productivity remains an elusive problem. Leaders today face more pressure than ever to deliver results, yet struggle with finding useful signals to guide improvement.

Some organizations attempt to use metrics such as lead time or pull requests completed, which focus on the speed and output of their developers. These efforts, however, fail to capture the full story around productivity or drive actual improvements.

With the proliferation of vendors and consultants promoting ineffective engineering metrics, it can be difficult to know where to turn. At DX, our team includes the world’s foremost experts on developer productivity including Margaret-Anne Storey (author of SPACE), Nicole Forsgren (creator of DORA), and Michaela Greiler (previously Microsoft Research).

Today, we’re excited to unveil a new approach for measuring and improving developer productivity that focuses on the developer experience. By capturing qualitative insights from developers, and augmenting these insights with data from our systems, we can unlock clear signals on productivity and how to improve.

If you are currently dealing with the problem of how to measure or improve productivity, this paper is for you. We break down developer experience into its individual components, allowing you to understand and optimize each one. We provide guidance on how to measure these individual components along with overall engineering KPIs, helping you understand the full impact of improvements.

We’ve written this paper based on extensive research and practical experience helping hundreds of organizations tackle developer productivity. Our methods have been field-tested at companies such as Pfizer and eBay that have utilized our approach to reduce lead times by 6x, release twice as quickly, and accelerate their rate of innovation.

Who is our paper specifically written for?

  • You lead a developer enablement function focused on making developers’ lives better, and are looking for a proven framework to build off.
  • You’re an executive at a large enterprise that is seeing slowing rates of innovation, and want to know how to turn things around.
  • You’re a founder, CEO, or executive at a startup that is seeing software delivery speed decrease as headcount grows, and want a toolkit to address it.
  • You’re having intense internal debates about what type of engineering metrics to track at your company, and are looking for a science-based approach.

If you have questions about our paper, please connect with me on LinkedIn. If you would like to learn more about how DX can help your organization, please request a demo through our website.

May 16, 2023

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