How engineering leaders maintain sync with stakeholders
Oct 18, 2023
In the dynamic realm of software engineering, the bridge between engineering leaders and stakeholders is crucial. This bridge is built on trust, transparency, and most importantly, metrics. As the saying goes, "What gets measured gets managed." But how do engineering leaders ensure that they're not just measuring, but also communicating these metrics effectively to stakeholders?
The Power of Metrics
Metrics are the lifeblood of an engineering organization. They provide a quantifiable measure of team performance, the health of the development process, and the overall productivity of the engineering team. Metrics like cycle time, lead time, and lines of code offer insights into how efficiently the team is working. More importantly, they help engineering leaders identify bottlenecks, areas of optimization, and opportunities for continuous improvement.
Cycle Time and Its Significance
Cycle time, a critical engineering metric, represents the time taken from when a task starts to when it's completed. It's a clear indicator of the team's efficiency. A shorter cycle time means tasks are being completed faster, leading to quicker software development and releases. Conversely, a prolonged cycle time might indicate potential bottlenecks or areas that need optimization.
Investment Profile: Joining Project Management Metrics with Code Metrics
To present a holistic picture to stakeholders, engineering leaders often merge project management metrics with code metrics. This combined view offers a comprehensive understanding of both the planning and execution phases. For instance, while code review metrics might indicate the quality of code being produced, project management metrics can shed light on the team's adherence to timelines and their alignment with business goals - for example, the KTLO vs. non-KTLO breakdown can shed light on the team's focus and alignment with strategic objectives.
The Machine Behind the Machine
When stakeholders understand the intricacies of coding time, pickup time, review time, and deploy time, they get a glimpse into the "machine that makes the machine." These metrics, especially when tracked over time, paint a picture of the engineering team's health and efficiency. For instance, if the review time starts increasing consistently, it might indicate that the code quality is declining, necessitating longer review processes.
The Art of Communication
Engineering leaders play a pivotal role in ensuring that stakeholders are always in the loop. This involves:
Transparency: Being open about the metrics, even if they aren't favorable. This builds trust and ensures stakeholders are never caught off guard.
Regular Updates: Instead of waiting for a quarterly review, engineering leaders can provide regular updates, ensuring stakeholders are always informed.
Using Data: As Catherine Miller aptly put it, "Planning conversations are about feelings, and execution conversations are about data." Leveraging data during discussions eliminates ambiguity and drives objective decision-making.
Course Correction: When Things Go Off-Track
Even with the best plans in place, things can go awry. Engineering leaders need to be adept at course correction. This involves identifying the root cause, be it tech debt, resource constraints, or external factors, and then implementing the necessary changes.
BuildPulse: A Partner in Effective Communication
For engineering leaders looking to streamline their communication with stakeholders, BuildPulse Engineering Metrics emerges as an invaluable ally. Not only does it provide comprehensive metrics, but its developer copilot feature also ensures timely reviews and automates routine tasks. With tools like BuildPulse, engineering teams can focus on what they do best: building quality software.
In the ever-evolving world of software engineering, maintaining sync with stakeholders is both an art and a science. It's about measuring the right metrics, communicating them effectively, and ensuring that the entire team is aligned with the organization's broader goals. After all, as Juan Pablo Buriticá succinctly put it, "We're a good engineering team if we're good at reacting quickly."