Measuring & Communicating Team Success

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16 April, 2018

David needed a way to communicate with the rest of the company about how well the engineering team was doing using objective, measurable metrics like other teams. He developed a monthly report to facilitate this purpose with both qualitative and quantitative sections.

Problem

As our organization has grown, it's been fairly straightforward to measure how our Sales or Client Services teams were doing by looking at sales numbers, churn indicators and factors, etc. The Product and Engineering organization, however, did not have the luxury of such immediate factors, but we needed an objective way to demonstrate how we were doing to the executive team and CEO.

Actions taken

While not everything in our organization was measurable, if we took the time to use third party tools like SonarQube, data available from AWS, and the like, we found that there was in fact a lot of objective things we could measure. As such, I created a "Monthly Report" to share with both our team and the company's leadership measurable data as well as qualitative content based on reflection from myself and senior members of my team. In each report, we have a brief executive summary, highlights and goals for the month, and then sections focused on capital expenses, performance & uptime, product development & quality (including workload, firefighting, resources, task verification and QA, technical alerts, user-visible regressions, technical debt, and code quality). With each section, we have visual charts and graphs, as well as a small note describing qualitatively what's going on in the graphs and why. This has not only been a great way to communicate how we're doing, but it's been an excellent way for me to force myself to be regularly on top of what is going well (or not well) with the team.

Lessons learned

Even if there aren't clearly measurable quantitative metrics to evaluate your team, there usually are good approximation which, when enhanced by a qualitative analysis, can be very illuminating. By keeping a regular cadence of these reports, and reminding yourself (e.g. via a monthly or quarterly calendar reminder), you can work with the leaders on your team to produce these reports in an efficient way that doesn't consume a great deal of their time while still giving you and the leaders of your company the visibility that is needed to maintain trust.


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