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Continuous improvement in engineering work processes.

The Challenge

It wasn’t long after Michael Baj, one of 128 Technology’s co-founders, became VPE and he began looking for ways to understand and communicate about how his team was operating. Michael wanted the ability to know whether engineering was working effectively, to use data to improve the work process, and to communicate progress to the rest of the organization in a way that made sense.

"My mind was already made up as soon as I took on this role," he recalls. "I believe it’s very important to be data-driven. That’s the way I run engineering. I believe in iterating—not just on software design, but on the process itself. I’ve always wanted accurate and concrete data to confirm or invalidate the decisions I was making around our work process."

Before he found Pluralsight Flow, Michael did a lot of investigating on his own. He wrote scripts to pull data from various sources, exported those into Excel, and evaluated the metrics he created in complex spreadsheets.

But it was an inefficient and brittle process. Worst of all, he realized the metrics he was tracking weren’t actionable.

“I believe it’s very important to be data-driven. That’s the way I run engineering. I believe in iterating—not just on software design, but on the process itself. I’ve always wanted accurate and concrete data to confirm or invalidate the decisions I was making around our work process.”

Michael Baj, Cofounder and VPE at 128 Technology

 

The Solution

Michael was researching productivity metrics when he found Flow. "It really struck a chord with me," he says. "Flow spoke directly to my core values as an engineering leader, and to the same values that I wanted to foster in our team."

With Flow, Michael found a suite of reports to understand engineering performance, and actionable metrics to drive process change.

"Most developers aren’t actually taught the best way to be productive in long lifecycle of software development. Flow gives us the metrics and perspective we need to coach them and give guidance on how they can be most effective at their job."

Michael helped his managers implement performance targets for their teams, and trained them on how to use the data to coach their engineers in meaningful ways.

Now the team at 128 is able to communicate with stakeholders in understandable terms, and assess how they are doing compared to industry benchmarks. With Flow, they are able to have discussions around concrete metrics at the board level that had never been possible before.

The key benefits of Pluralsight Flow for
128 Technology

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21%

Increase in Coding Days per Week

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29%

Increase in Commits per Day

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57%

Increase in Impact to Codebase

“Having metrics is not enough. They need to be the right metrics — because as soon as you put a measure in place, it’s going to change behavior. Flow metrics really get to the heart of helping ensure my team is effective.”

Michael Baj, Cofounder and VPE at 128 Technology

Results and next steps

Baj now uses Flow primarily for executive reporting, while his managers use it to coach their teams toward becoming more effective.

"It’s an incredibly valuable tool for leadership," he says. "It’s important for my managers to be able to have targeted measures to work against. We’ve found a strong correlation between improving on the Fundamentals and a higher velocity. Specifically, we’ve been driving up our Active Days and Commits per Day, and have found that it has improved velocity — and our estimates."

Being able to see they’re moving in the right direction in the data has made all the difference for Baj and the leadership team.

Build a data-driven engineering organization.

“We’re growing fast and it’s impractical to interrupt engineers or manually review all of their work. Pluralsight helps me quickly understand what’s going on and identify the areas that need attention. And it helps us be much more tactical about supporting the engineers."

Hunter Powers, VP of Engineering at Social Tables