Understanding Engineering Team Performance Metrics and How to Get Started

Understanding Performance

  • Delivery lead time
  • Deployment frequency
  • Mean Time to Restore — MTTR
  • Change Failure Rate
  • Unplanned Work

Delivery Lead time

Deployment Frequency

Mean Time to Restore — MTTR

Change Failure Rate

Unplanned Work

  • Unplanned work due to long support queries, incidents or overlooked functionality needed for a feature, for instance.
  • Unplanned work done because the team had extra capacity to do so (e.g. pull work from future sprints). That may help to understand how assertive the estimations are.

How it can be helpful

  • Understand how the unplanned work is affecting the deliverables.
  • Understand how reliable the software is and take actions to improve quality when needed.
  • Understand team capacity and velocity.
  • Understand if the team processes need optimization — to have all the metrics above it is necessary a certain level of organisation.
  • Understand if there is space to optimise pull requests — to reason about user story and pull request sizing.
  • Reason about the software quality and improve the test strategy in place and coverage when necessary.

How to get started

More information

  • Look at the performance of the team always at the team level, not from the perspective of an individual member.
  • Take into consideration that teams naturally differ one from the others and the comparisons may go like the classical apples and oranges.
  • Ultimately, it must be used as a tool for teams to understand their performance against thresholds that make sense for the kind of work they do. The thresholds could be the same ones used in the Accelerate book, but not necessarily.

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Engineering Manager at Zalando. I’m passionate about creating a productive, inclusive and safe environment for people to work. I'm also a photography enthusiast

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Alessandro Lemser

Alessandro Lemser

Engineering Manager at Zalando. I’m passionate about creating a productive, inclusive and safe environment for people to work. I'm also a photography enthusiast

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