Developer productivity encompasses an interconnected and nuanced web of metrics, processes, and attitudes. This complex phenomenon has important and wide-reaching implications for entire organizations and therefore business leaders, dev managers, and ICs consider it crucial to measure and manage dev team productivity. One framework to studying and understanding dev productivity comes from Forsgren et. al’s research: The SPACE of developer productivity. SPACE provides a practical and multidimensional viewpoint into developer productivity and proposes a new approach to defining, measuring and predicting it. The SPACE framework presents five categories to measuring productivity:
S – Satisfaction & Well Being
P – Performance
A – Activity
C – Collaboration & Communication
E – Efficiency & Flow
New to the SPACE framework? Start here.
Analyzing engineering team productivity should have a basis in the SPACE framework, pulling together several engineering management metrics under the umbrella of SPACE categories. We delve into each dimension here, presenting potential metrics per category, how they can be measured, and more importantly, we discuss how these metrics impact the dynamics of dev teams.
Satisfaction and well being
Satisfaction aims to present developers’ fulfillment and engagement with their tasks, the tool stack, and their workflows. Well-being presents an index of developers’ health and represents the impact that work and health have on each other. As a whole, this dimension captures how teams work together to create value. It is also a dimension that is becoming increasingly important in today’s world of work where burnout and overwork are increasing and threatening developers’ health and productivity. Here are some metrics we use to measure this dimension:
We measure satisfaction with the aim of answering the premise: Will your developers recommend your team to others? We seek to understand whether team members are happy, content, and engaged with their tasks and their work environment.
For dev teams, we also aim to understand whether engineers are happy with the code review process: are developers satisfied with the code reviews assigned to them?
We measure this metric using feedback loops and surveys, creating an environment where open conversations and team members’ inputs can foster better team culture. We also use Hatica’s stand-up feature to regularly check-in with the team to get a pulse of team members’ overall well-being.
Satisfaction is critical in ensuring that teams have low employee turnover and in creating a team culture that promotes productivity and sustainable performance.
An engaged and efficient team directly contributes to great team culture. We measure efficacy to ensure that developers are equipped with the right tools and processes to succeed at their tasks.
Surveys and micro check-ins are trusted methods of assessing efficacy. We also use metrics to map out dev workflows to identify patterns in bottlenecks so that we have indicators of potential blockers that we can pre-empt.
Employee efficacy affects employees’ level of effort and persistence when learning difficult tasks. For dev teams, where every task can potentially be an opportunity to create new thought-streams, efficacy becomes a critical metric to ensure consistent performance and delivery.