Developer productivity: what makes us happy?

Is squashing bugs all day the best way to keep your team happy? As a developer, I can tell you it’s not. Neither is checking some boxes in a Performance review worksheet!

Developer productivity is all about maximizing your workflow so you can become an efficient code-crushing machine that churns out awesome features fast and with the fewest bugs possible.

But…measuring the productivity of any developer can be tricky!

If you work at a company that only cares about vanity metrics like hours logged, commits pushed, and keys clicked – you’re gonna have a tough time. That’s all flash and no substance!

These metrics make developers feel like button-mashing video game characters trying to rack up points instead of creative engineering building awesome features.

Hours worked? All that measures is your ability to look busy.

More commits? Hope you like writing tedious commit messages!

More keys pressed? Smash that keyboard!

These all seem like fake vanity metrics (they are), but a lot of not-so-modern companies still use them!

To truly measure super productivity, we need to look at the core problem itself

Meaningless metrics

First, let’s talk about what doesn’t work:

  • Measuring lines of code is rewarding potential inefficiency and verbosity. Verbose code isn’t impressive; it’sit just becomes harder to understand!
  •  Tracking commits encourages lots of fragmented, meaningless work. Commits should mark milestones!
  •  Logging hours motivates a burnout culture. Goodbye productivity!

So what really matters?

Meaningful metrics

These metrics matter to me… and I think a lot of other people too:

  • Code quality – Writing clean, readable, maintainable code that follows best practices
  •  Performance – The speed at which a developer completes tasks/user stories/features. Does it fix bugs quickly? Implement a fast change to make users happy. Go for it!
  •  Bug ratio – Speaking of bugs, the ability to eradicate bugs from the codebase.
  •  Business impact – The work delivered tangible business value and positive outcomes for the company
  •  Innovation – When the developer or the team can come up with creative solutions to problems, this truly helps. Getting passed roadblocks in engineering is one of the best feelings ever! Look beyond the obvious.
  •  Teamwork and knowledge sharing – Helping others on the team by sharing knowledge and mentoring others in the team

Support your developers! Help them reach the flow state: productivity is powered by being in the flow state, feedback, accountability, and teamwork. So don’t sweat the small stuff and those vanity metrics.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: