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Measuring Impact: A Guide for Engineering Leaders

Harsha Shekar

Senior Engineering Manager at Atlassian

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Introduction

In this article, we will explore different methods and strategies for measuring the impact of individual engineers in a team, taking into account different levels of experience and seniority. Measuring impact is a critical aspect of evaluating the performance and growth of engineers, and it helps in identifying areas for improvement and career advancement. We will delve into the challenges faced in measuring impact and discuss potential solutions and frameworks that can be implemented.

The Importance of Measuring Impact

"Measuring impact is not about ranking people or determining who is the best. It is about understanding the value each individual brings to the team and the company."

Measuring the impact of individual engineers is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps in identifying high performers and recognizing their contributions. This can lead to increased motivation and job satisfaction among engineers. Secondly, it allows engineering leaders to identify areas for improvement and provide targeted feedback and support to help engineers grow. Lastly, measuring impact helps in making informed decisions regarding promotions and career advancement.

Challenges in Measuring Impact

"Measuring impact is not always straightforward. It can be blurry and subjective, especially when considering different levels of experience and seniority."

Measuring impact can be challenging due to several factors. Firstly, impact can vary depending on the nature of the work and the projects being undertaken. Some projects may have a broader impact on the entire company, while others may have a more localized impact within a team. Secondly, impact can be subjective and difficult to quantify. It is not solely about the number of lines of code written or the number of tasks completed, but also about the quality and significance of the work done. Lastly, different levels of experience and seniority may require different metrics and criteria for measuring impact.

Establishing Clear Metrics and Goals

"Setting clear metrics and goals is essential for measuring impact effectively."

To measure impact accurately, it is crucial to establish clear metrics and goals that align with the company's objectives. This ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals and that the impact can be evaluated consistently. Metrics can include technical aspects such as code quality, documentation, and infrastructure improvements, as well as non-technical aspects such as mentorship and collaboration. By setting specific goals for each individual, engineering leaders can track progress and provide targeted support and feedback.

Revisiting Growth Profiles and Frameworks

"We need to revisit our growth profiles and frameworks to ensure they align with the desired impact and career progression."

Growth profiles and frameworks play a significant role in measuring impact and career progression. It is essential to revisit these frameworks regularly to ensure they are up to date and aligned with the desired impact. Ambiguities in roles and responsibilities should be addressed, and clear criteria for each level should be established. This helps in setting realistic expectations and providing engineers with a clear path for growth and advancement.

Contextualizing Impact

"Measuring impact without context is meaningless. It is essential to understand the underlying factors and circumstances that contribute to the impact."

Measuring impact without considering the context can lead to inaccurate evaluations. It is crucial to understand the underlying factors and circumstances that contribute to an individual's impact. For example, the number of code reviews or commits may not accurately reflect the actual impact if the work done is of low significance. Contextualizing impact involves looking beyond the numbers and considering the value and significance of the work done.

Conclusion

Measuring the impact of individual engineers is a complex task that requires clear metrics, goals, and frameworks. It is essential to consider the context and the nature of the work being done. By establishing clear criteria and regularly revisiting growth profiles, engineering leaders can effectively measure impact and provide targeted support for individual growth and career advancement. Ultimately, measuring impact helps in recognizing high performers, identifying areas for improvement, and driving the overall success of the team and the company.


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Harsha Shekar

Senior Engineering Manager at Atlassian


Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsLeadership Training

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