HomeDevelopment7 metrics to determine the quality of developer experience

7 metrics to determine the quality of developer experience

Developers drive the success of software-based companies more than anyone else. If you keep developers motivated and provide a conducive work environment, they will produce reliable applications faster. Although enhanced customer experience is the primary goal of every organization, the underlying factor that steers customer satisfaction is Developer Experience (DX). Like the saying ‘charity begins at home,’ if you want your customers to have a superior experience, you will have to first do that for your developers. This will ultimately benefit your customers through increased productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Given the importance of DX, organizations must work towards fine-tuning development processes. This is where DX metrics come into the picture. They enable enterprises to gauge the satisfaction levels of their developers.

The importance of measuring DX

DX refers to streamlining the utilization of multiple systems, technologies, and processes to improve the overall efficiency of the software development lifecycle. It calls for a new culture of assessing the development practices from the developer’s POV to ensure their satisfaction, resulting in quality software. 

Technology has evolved tremendously over the last few years, with new tools, languages, and open-source libraries cropping up almost daily. It is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes application development personalized while inevitably complicating the entire discipline. Technology companies, including Netflix and LinkedIn, are investing in building internal developer platforms (IDP) to streamline development. It also helps remove bottlenecks and roadblocks from the path of developers, thereby improving their experience.

A good DX introduces consistency across development workflows by automating most repetitive tasks and making development an autonomous process without dependencies. 

But how do you measure if your efforts in improving DX are producing results? It simply captures key metrics and KPIs that tell you how effective your DX is. Below, we discuss the metrics you must track.

Key Metrics to Measure DX

Evaluating your development environment

DX is about how comfortable your team feels working on a software project. It begins with the health and hygiene of your development environment. It should enable uninterrupted productivity by eliminating roadblocks. You can measure this through:

  1. Onboarding time: Understand how long a developer can become familiar with the workflow to achieve optimal productivity. If the learning curve is steep, you might have to make modifications to cut down onboarding time.
  2. Feedback Mechanisms: Pay attention to how developers share feedback with other stakeholders. If the feedback loops are inefficient, it will create bottlenecks and lead to frustrations impacting DX.
  3. Employee Retention: If your development environment provides a seamless experience, it will reduce the number of employees quitting due to burnout and disengagement. Instead, the developers will choose to continue working with you for longer periods. This leads to high employee retention rates due to overall work satisfaction.

Assessing the quality of the code

Quality code is the direct result of a focused developer. As an organization, the onus is on you to provide an experience that aids developers in producing highly reliable code that is easy to read and maintain. Good DX-producing quality applications will minimize your maintenance costs. To assess code quality, you can measure:

  1. Code Coverage: Calculate the ratio of source code lines covered by automated tests against the total lines of code. It is an important metric to assess if your testing process is thorough. A high code coverage signifies a positive DX.
  2. Code Review Feedback: Peer review and feedback ensures that your source code complies with your coding standards and policies. A well-built development workflow will make sharing feedback easy through effective communication and add to the collaborative culture.
  3. Bug Fix Time: If the DX is effective, the turnaround time to fix bugs will be short. As bug fix time records the time it takes to resolve code issues, you can use it to see how streamlined the development process is.
  4. Technical Debt: Assessing this metric will give you a clear picture of all the shortcuts or tradeoffs developers make to finish a code block. Such a method compromises the quality of your software and is often an outcome of an ad-hoc process. 

The success of your software hinges on how inspired the developers are, and that depends on their experience when developing the application. Now that you know how to gauge the DX, let’s quickly walk through tactics that help you achieve it.

Strategies to improve DX for overall success

Improving DX is about creating a positive and efficient SDLC, which requires following best practices and strategies. Some of them are given below.

  • Invest in automation for efficiency: Developers usually handle several tasks besides writing code. If you automate repetitive tasks like testing and resource provisioning, they focus on building reliable software.
  • Understand your team’s limitations: Developers at every organization face different challenges as a part of SDLC. You must identify the challenges plaguing your team and address them on priority.
  • Enable easy code debugging: Working on faulty code frustrates developers like nothing else. To improve their work experience, you must streamline the debugging process through faster feedback loops.
  • Facilitate collaboration: A collaborative development approach favors developers and code quality. Build a workflow that facilitates practices like peer review and consistent coding standards. 

Seamless DX makes a developer’s life easy and profitable

Software development is complex and intricate. It requires developers to be autonomous in the current engineering landscape. This is why DX is of utmost importance in assisting developers in designing and building quality products quickly. However, offering an enhanced experience for developers to work with satisfaction is just half the battle. You must also ensure that it works efficiently. You do that by evaluating DX through a list of metrics. In this article, we discussed some KPIs you must measure and the strategies you can implement to give developers an experience they’ll love.

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