ALM #053: 4 Metrics Every Engineering Manager Should Track
The Data-Driven Approach to Engineering Management.
📖 Read Time: 2:45 minutes
If there's one thing we've all heard, it's that "Data is King." But, as Engineering Managers, how can we truly harness this power to guide our teams? How do we transform data into action to make the right decisions at the right time?
Today, I'm going to share four critical data points that every Engineering Manager should track to drive their team's performance.
Using these data points to guide your decisions will make you a beacon for your team. They'll know that the path you're showing them lies on a firm foundation of factual data.
So, let's turn on our analytical minds and dive in.
How many people leave under your watch?
The attrition rate—the number of people leaving your team—is critical. High attrition could indicate issues like insufficient promotions, low salary adjustments, or unpopular changes in direction. Addressing these issues right away can increase your team's stability and satisfaction.
Consider a scenario where your attrition rate spikes following a restructuring within the team. This might indicate that the changes have unsettled your team members, necessitating clear communication and reassurances about their roles.
Lead & Cycle Time
If you've never invested in understanding your lead and cycle time, the time is now.
The Cycle Time is how long your team spends working on an item.
The Lead Time is broader, measuring how long it takes since a customer requests a feature until that feature is delivered.
Both give you a great understanding of how painful your customer's interactions are with your team and a lot of information about possible optimisation.
For example, if your lead time is disproportionately high compared to your cycle time, it may indicate inefficiencies in how you prioritise work or how the team handles customer requests.
Addressing these areas could significantly improve your service quality and customer satisfaction.
Team morale is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of team performance. I learnt that asking simple and anonymous questions effectively and effortlessly gave me the necessary data.
At the end of each retrospective, add a little anonymous survey:
How did you feel about this sprint?
😁 Happy | 😐 OK | 🤬Sad / Grrr
The goldmine is not one or two surveys but the data that consistency brings along the several months. I've only truly understood what I had after nine months of data.
For instance, consistently low happiness levels could suggest a stressful work environment, leading you to implement measures to address work-life balance or internal communication.
Give it a try, and let me know how it feels.
CFR & MTTR
It's not about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.
Incidents are inevitable in every team, but understanding their frequency (CFR) and your team's recovery time (MTTR) can inform process improvements and enhance resilience.
For example, a high CFR might point to issues in your testing or deployment processes, while a long MTTR could suggest a need for better incident response strategies.
By understanding and leveraging these four metrics, Engineering Managers can make more informed decisions and lead their teams to higher performance levels.
Start tracking these data points, and let me know about the transformations you observe in your team dynamics and results.
Attrition Rate: How many people leave under your watch.
Lead & Cycle Time: How long it takes for you to deliver features.
Happiness Levels: How happy your team truly is.
CFR & MTTR: Incidents happen. It's all about how you react.
That’s it for today.
See you all next week!
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Have an incredible week! 💪🏼
Parada 👊🏼 A Leader's Mindset