Digests » 69

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Can you measure engineering productivity without compromising culture or quality?

Measuring software development productivity is hard — and that's why most companies aren't doing it at all. However, a new wave of research suggests that you can use data to continuously improve engineering performance. You just have to be mindful about the metrics you choose and the way you use the data.

this week's favorite

The seven areas of software management

In a former post I talked about that to grow as a software engineering manager you need to move your time and focus away from the tactical and to the strategic — spending them acting to get ahead of misses rather than reacting to them as they occur. However that raises: what does that mean in terms of tangible acts?

Great engineering teams focus on milestones instead of projects

Most engineering organizations focus on delivering projects. They should focus on milestones instead. Managing projects is hard. Companies contort themselves to do it well. Instead of playing chess, switch to checkers. Milestones are an easier game, and you get better results.

Good efforts preserve bad systems

For many systems, constant limping is the status quo. Extra efforts of well-meaning employees often prevent the system from failing completely; it also prevents it from improving.

Metrics-driven product development is hard

The way that the FAANG companies use metrics to build products is vital to their success. They invest an army of people and homegrown tools to pull it off. My last article, Balancing short-term and long-term product bets, describes Google's process.

On schelling points in organizations

We’ll first develop an understanding of what this force is by building a toy model that can formally capture the dynamics and then allow us to tinker with it to develop a deeper intuition. We’ll then use the model to dig into tactics that surf this dynamic in real organizations.