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How to Measure & Maximize Developer Productivity? - A Quick Guide

How to Measure & Maximize Developer Productivity? - A Quick Guide

As the software development process has become more complex, the need to measure developer productivity has also become more significant for DevOps teams. There are different aspects to contemplate when measuring productivity, and experienced developers will have their own strategies and hacks.

This blog will explore some of the best developer productivity tips, hacks, and tools to help you measure and maximize developer team productivity.

What is developer productivity?

Developer productivity is simply how productive a developer is in any given metric. A company would create different metrics to track. Then, developers would be assessed based on those results to get a good gauge of their productivity.

In addition to these metrics, there are multiple ways how productivity is calculated. You can measure a developer’s productivity by employing different tools to measure developer productivity, like the SPACE framework, or OKRs.

5 Top tips for measuring productivity

There's no single metric that can measure developer productivity across the board. Instead, it depends on various aspects, such as workflow, deployment methodology, team structure, development environment, and software delivery process.

However, you can develop the right strategy and metrics for your team and individual developers to help them focus on the right tasks. When it comes to measuring productivity, it typically adds up to tracking the work completed and the quality or significance of the job accomplished. By combining these two criteria, you can ensure that your team delivers indicative results.

Here are some top tips on how productivity is calculated that can help companies focus on process and outcome rather than output:

Measure team productivity

The most obvious way of measuring software development team productivity is to assess every individual on the same level. However, it's not the right way since every developer performs different tasks and, that too, in a team.

Do you still want to measure individual developers' performance? These metrics may help:

  • Number of code reviews
  • Frequency of code reviews
  • Number of commits
  • Average commit size
  • Time to review

But it is highly recommended to focus on "measuring teams, not individuals."

Make use of the SPACE framework

If you evaluate a developer's productivity based on the number of outputs, you might miss their number of commits or other crucial elements. The developer may be working late, the outputs are of low quality, or the outputs fail to offer customer value.

To cover every vital factor of productivity, research & strategy expert Nicole Forsgren collaborated with researchers from Microsoft and GitHub to create a SPACE framework, which stands for:

S: Satisfaction P: Performance A: Activity C: Communication E: Efficiency

This framework offered a holistic view of "how to measure developer productivity" and provided managers with the right tools to assess changes in productivity.

Identify productivity tools

Measuring productivity level mainly depends on criteria like Git commits, planned releases, regressions, and velocity. To choose the most precise measurements of productivity, you must evaluate what best conforms to your organization's requirements.

If you know what impact you want to make, you will automatically understand how to determine the right tools to calculate performance. Some best tools to measure developer productivity include:

  • HubSpot: Customer relationship management
  • Asana: Work management tool
  • Jira: Bug tracker & work management tool
  • Monday.com: Team productivity tool
  • Empuls: Employee engagement tool
  • Bonusly: Employee recognition and rewards tool
  • Wrike: All-in-one collaboration tool
  • Slack: Communication tool
  • Zoom: Communication & collaboration tool

Emphasize developer satisfaction

While measuring productivity, opt for developer productivity hacks and tools that focus on developer satisfaction.

Since a happy developer is more likely to be productive, you can also find ways to reduce the software engineer's workload and anxiety. And when you provide the developers with a good development environment, you exhibit that you care and want to make things easier for the developers.

Offering a healthy work environment, growth opportunity, better work-life balance, frequent recognition and rewards for outstanding achievements, etc., boost developer satisfaction and improve overall productivity and performance.

How not to measure developer productivity?

Many programmers measure their team’s productivity in a way that doesn’t help them become more effective. If you use the wrong methods of measuring productivity, you could be causing more harm than good.

These parameters are easy and don’t offer actionable insights for teams to improve the product development process. Here’s what not to measure:

Lines of Code (LOC/SLOC)

Writing more codes doesn’t mean the developer is building a better product. Additionally, more source code may cause more intricacy and result in unnecessary errors and future problems. Therefore, counting the amount of code produced isn’t a useful way to calculate productivity.

Hours worked

Similar to LOC, this measurement also highlights quantity over quality. While efficient developers perform more high-quality work in less time, additional work hours could decrease average productivity.

A study from Stanford University shows that productivity per hour drops significantly when a person works more than 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity decreases so much that additional hours would be purposeless.

People who overwork may suffer burnout and clock negative productivity, marked by an upsurge in errors and delinquency.

Task completed

Not all tasks are equal in terms of complexity, the effort required, and the impact on a project. Developers can do multiple things a day and look productive on paper. But the busy work won’t amount to much if they are sidestepping meaningful or complex work that will drive the project forward.

How to increase developer team productivity?

It's important that your employees feel they are an individual with value rather than just another opinion in the corporate device. You can improve overall productivity by working in sprints, minimizing distractions, offering continuous education, providing individual goals, etc.

How to increase developer team productivity?

Matching jobs to strengths

Everyone has their specialty that they’re particularly good at or interested in that they can do quicker and better than anyone else. So, ask your team what the individuals like to do and get them to fill out skill profiles. Then wherever required, assign issues and tickets to the developer who’s the right fit for the task.

Identifying any obstacle to productivity

As crucial as productivity evaluation is removing productivity barriers. Your development team can face blockages from different sources.

Multitasking can be an acute hindrance to productivity. When the developers need to shuffle between different tasks, they feel more overwrought due to recurring pressure, which leads to compromised performance.

Also, inadequate communication among team members can act as a productivity barrier. It can further lead to constant delays in task completion, affecting the overall outcome of the company.

To remove these obstacles, firstly, you need to identify them and detect their origins. It will help in better evaluation of development-specific objectives while measuring developer productivity.

Creating an optimal environment

An optimal environment can be different for every developer, but the common objective is to minimize distractions. Flexible working conditions make developers more attentive and productive.

Continuous integration, deployment, and automated testing

More developers are using CI/CD to help streamline their software releases and get updates out to customers sooner. It can help improve productivity by ensuring quality production, designing smaller, more precise, and less risky releases, delivering software faster and more reliably, automating bug identification and fixation, reducing manual testing time, etc.

Using developer productivity tools

Ensure your developers are equipped with the right hardware and software. You might have to find different software options to see what’s best for your team. Some common productivity tools include Jira, Asana, Trello, and other project management systems.

Taking an Agile approach

Most of the development teams are moving to Agile practices instead of Waterfall methodology. While Waterfall is a linear project progression, Agile process can adapt changes in the in later phases of development cycle. Therefore, developers can experiment and include features anytime and release smaller updates more frequently. Early testing and release minimize dependencies and delays, which is great for your developers’ productivity. Also, budget tends to be more flexible in Agile development methodology.

Being flexible & working smarter

Being productive doesn’t mean being stuck at a desk from 9 am-5 pm. But, being flexible with when and where the work gets done enables your developers to work smarter, innovate, and be more productive.

Investing in your employees

Orienting your team in teamwork, communication, and time management skills can improve performance and productivity. It is also worth building a culture of reflection and continuous improvement, as this may result in even more productivity advancements.

Сonclusion

Since developer productivity is such a substantial metric, managers must keep an eye on it. This way, they can prevent developer burnout, and ensure their team consistently produces high-quality work.

Like every leading software company, Turing measures developer productivity to ensure engineers are happy and satisfied. To promote our commitment to remote developer productivity, Turing focuses on developer experience.

If you want to hire the most talented and productive software development team in the world, try Turing’s AI-backed Intelligent Talent Cloud to source, vet, match, and manage the best remote developers.

Author

  • Author

    Sukanya Bose

    Sukanya Bose is a professional content writer with expertise in delivering well-researched, long-form content spanning various industry verticals. When not researching new ideas or writing, she might be found cooking special dishes, spending quality time with her fur babies, plants, family, and friends, or traveling to the hills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Measuring developer productivity is not an easy task. While you need to track the work accomplished by the developer, checking the quality and effectiveness of the job is equally crucial. By considering these two criteria, you can ensure the developer delivers productive results.

While there are many ways to improve developer productivity at work, top 3 ways would include:

  • Reviewing goals regularly
  • Motivating the team
  • Avoiding multitasking

Whenever you hire a new developer or team of developers, don't expect maximum productivity from the beginning. It takes at least a couple of weeks for them to settle down with the work culture. An average employee may also take up to six months to become fully competent.

A good developer team knows its customers and can create the product as required. They are capable of making the right technical decisions, and besides technical excellence, they are known for their accountability.

There are some ways to motivate your non-productive developers and get them enthusiastic. You can restructure the job, make tasks more challenging, set goals and celebrate success, offer regular recognition and rewards for results, and focus on the employee-employer relationship. These will help you deal effectively with your underperforming employees.

With improved productivity, the developers can accomplish their tasks quickly with more efficiency while giving the competitors an edge. Increased productivity enables companies to reduce expenses and deliver products and services faster. It leads to increased competitiveness as well as higher customer satisfaction.

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