Chapter #7 - Measuring Engineering Productivity (1 of 3)
Software Engineering at Google Chapter #7 - Measuring Engineering
Productivity (1 of 3)
Be a data driven company
As organizations grow linearly, communications costs grow
By increasing the productivity of individuals, you can increase
your business’ scope without the increased communication overhead
Linters help code reviews scale
Create a team dedicated to engineering productivity. Have it’s
members be from a wide variety of fields (psychologists, software
engineers, behavioral economists, and more).
This team is essentially “Engineering productivity specialists”
Is a metric worth measuring?
Does measuring the metric slow down the organization?
Tracking progress may change engineers behavior (“observer
effect”) and the behavior change may serve to mask the underlying
To know if a metric is worth measuring, ask people to describe
what they want to measure in the form of a solid, concrete reason
or answer. The more concrete the answer is, the more likely the
metric is worth measuring
Beware “anticdata” (single anecdotes that masquerade as data), it
In addition to the question above, ask the following questions:
If the data supports your expected result, what action will
need to be taken due to that result?
If no action will be taken then there is no need to measure
What result are you expecting, and why? (This acknowledges
biases at the beginning)
If we get a negative result, will action be taken?
Does a negative result change your decision? If not, then why
measure? You are not using the results of the measurement to
make a decision, but rather to justify an existing decision.
Who will decide to take action on the result and when will
they take action? This ensures the person asking for the
measurement is empowered to make decisions based on the
results or that the person is representative of someone who
can make the decision. The other purpose is to determine who
the decision maker is so we can get them the data in a form
that they want (quantitative vs qualitative)