This is a list of articles, posts, and tweets that seemed worthwhile to have referenceable.

Useful engineering metrics and why velocity is not one of them ⚓️

  • (Lucas Costa, Founder & CEO of Ergomake; 2022 Aug)
  • “velocity is a terrible metric because it offers no predictive power and doesn’t help you make decisions.”
  • Instead, frames engineering throughput using queuing theory and Little’s Law, focusing on matching arrival and departure rates through the several queues in an engineering workflow, and using cumulative flow diagrams to spot problems
  • “There are four metrics you can use to measure the performance of such a queueing system”:
    • “Arrival rate — the rate at which tasks arrive in the system”
    • “Work in progress — the number of items in progress at any given time”
    • “Departure rate or throughput — the rate at which tasks leave the system”
    • “Cycle time — the time it takes for tasks to leave the system”
  • “A good metric has three characteristics”:
    • It’s not a target — Instead of determining an end state, it helps determine whether you’re going in the right direction.
    • “It’s actionable — It helps managers make decisions and intervene in a system to generate improvements.”
    • “It has a clear relationship to other metrics with characteristics 1 and 2 — You know how other metrics will change as you pull different levers.”
  • “Despite considering these metrics ‘good’, I must urge managers not to:”

10 ideas for building great culture in a distributed team ⚓️

  • (Nathan Barry, Founder & CEO of ConvertKit; 2022 Apr)
  • “Build a culture of written, asynchronous communication”
  • “Shared ‘no meeting’ days.”
  • Set time aside for informal chatter to get to know coworkers
  • Automate a detailed on-boarding workflow
  • Mandatory fun time off
  • Facilitate meetings between random coworkers (e.g., Donut chats)
  • Biannual offsites
    • “The biggest mistake I see companies make is trying to get too much work done on a retreat.”

Happy Workers are 13% More Productive ⚓️

  • “Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, in collaboration with British multinational telecoms firm BT, has found a conclusive link between happiness and productivity.”
  • “The authors state that while the link between happiness and productivity has often been discussed, their study provides the first causal field evidence for this relationship. ‘There has never been such strong evidence,’ said Professor De Neve.”
  • “The researchers found that happy workers do not work more hours than their discontented colleagues – they are simply more productive within their time at work.”

Time Pressure in Software Development ⚓️

  • (Abi Noda, Founder & CEO of DX, 2023 Aug)
  • Summary of meta-study from University of Oulu in Finland on 102 relevant papers: What Do We Know About Time Pressure in Software Development?
  • Time pressure gets results within certain constraints:
    • If it’s not too much — otherwise, it actually hurts efficiency
    • if the task actually can be sped up, or its efficiency improved — some are already optimized, at least with respect to the resources available
  • The results come at costs though:
    • Quality tends to suffer
    • Changes that would improve efficiency are pushed off
    • Unsurprisingly, time pressure has negative effects on individuals — though more on novices than experts