What is merge time?

Oct 11, 2023

In the dynamic realm of software engineering, metrics are the compass that navigates the vast ocean of processes, guiding teams towards optimization and excellence. Among these guiding stars, merge time shines brightly, offering a glimpse into the efficiency of the engineering process. But to truly appreciate its significance, one must understand its position within the broader spectrum of engineering metrics.

The Essence of Cycle Time

Before delving deep into merge time, it's pivotal to understand cycle time. Cycle time encapsulates the entire journey from the moment a developer initiates a task to its culmination and delivery to the end user. It's a holistic reflection of the software development process, capturing various stages and components.

The Anatomy of Cycle Time

Cycle time, in the realm of software engineering, is a mosaic of several integral pieces:

  1. Coding Time: The phase where lines of code are meticulously crafted.

  2. Review Time: The interval where the code undergoes rigorous code review by team members.

  3. Testing Time: The span dedicated to ensuring code quality through rigorous tests.

  4. Merge Time: The crucial period between a pull request's approval and its integration into the main codebase.

Merge Time Demystified

Merge time, often overlooked, is the time lapse between the approval of a pull request and its eventual merge into the primary codebase. Its importance is multi-faceted:

  1. Operational Efficiency: Extended merge times can hint at bottlenecks in the engineering process, possibly due to CI/CD challenges, unforeseen code alterations, or administrative lags.

  2. Code Integrity: A swift merge time is often synonymous with impeccable code quality. If the code aligns with the engineering team's standards, it's poised for a faster merge.

  3. Team Dynamics: Merge time can also be a barometer for the team's cohesion and decision-making prowess.

The Implications of Merge Time

  1. Stakeholder Alignment: For stakeholders, every tick of the clock matters. Delays in merging can ripple out, affecting business goals and customer satisfaction.

  2. Developer Morale: Prolonged merge times can stifle developer productivity. A waiting game for code merges can disrupt their workflow and dampen enthusiasm.

  3. Continuous Improvement: By keeping a close eye on merge time, engineering leaders can pinpoint and address bottlenecks, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

The Panorama of Engineering Metrics

Merge time, while pivotal, is a single facet of the multifaceted gem of engineering metrics. True engineering productivity is a symphony of metrics, from pull requests, benchmarks, kpis, story points, to lines of code. Dashboards, in this context, are invaluable, offering a visual tableau of these metrics, aiding engineering leaders in informed decision-making and optimization.

BuildPulse: Your Beacon in the World of Metrics

To harness the full potential of merge time and other engineering metrics, a robust tool is indispensable. This is where BuildPulse Engineering Metrics comes into play. It delves deep into engineering productivity metrics, from pull requests, code review, lead time, to the nuances of merge time. With its intuitive dashboards and granular insights, BuildPulse equips engineering teams to streamline their workflow, align with business initiatives, and deliver unparalleled value.


Merge time, though a singular metric, casts a long shadow on the broader engineering process. It offers insights into the efficiency, quality, and agility of the engineering organization. By understanding and honing merge time, teams can elevate their productivity, foster a culture of excellence, and drive continuous improvement. And with powerhouses like BuildPulse Engineering Metrics at their disposal, the path to engineering brilliance becomes not just insightful but transformative.