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How to Improve the Way You Communicate the Impact of Engineering Projects

February 22nd, 2023
Software Engineering Intelligence
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Learn how to set realistic expectations and manage your delivery accordingly.

Great software engineering is one of the most powerful forces driving today’s businesses to ever-greater heights. The more innovative and efficient your software engineering team is, the greater its strategic value.

However, innovation and efficiency are notoriously hard to quantify in software engineering contexts. Engineering leaders often have a hard time communicating the impact of the ambitious projects they undertake.

This is especially true when it comes to communicating the potential impact of projects that haven’t started yet, or describing the status of projects currently underway. Yet effective communication is vital for ensuring those projects continue to receive the attention and resources they need.

Software engineering leaders and their teams need a new way to communicate the value of their work to executives and stakeholders. Improving the visibility and alignment of engineering initiatives will help ensure those projects stay on track and achieve the organization’s larger strategic goals.

Planning software engineering projects comes with challenges

The traditional approach to project planning doesn’t always work well with software engineering. That’s because the process of developing new software is fundamentally different from other business processes.

Some of the challenges that engineering leaders face include:

Many of these problems stem from the way modern businesses are structured. Software engineers are usually full-time hourly employees. Measuring their productivity in terms of lines of code, hours worked, or tickets resolved doesn’t actually align their interests with the organization’s.

The performance of the engineering team is a much better metric. Software engineering leaders need to distinguish between efficient, successful projects and ones that don’t meet the organization’s goals.

Accurate planning demands a new approach

Measuring software engineering performance in terms of goals and accomplishments opens up a new way to plan and design engineering projects. This makes it possible to communicate the impact of those projects in valuable, informative ways.

Choosing the right performance metrics makes a huge difference here. Simply reporting the number of hours an engineer worked on a project or the amount of code written doesn’t say anything useful about the value of the work.

Instead, engineering leaders can focus on DevOps team performance metrics like DORA. These four metrics provide a clean, measurable way to understand the quality and velocity of development work:

These metrics combine well with solutions for measuring developer satisfaction, performance, activity, communication, and efficiency through the SPACE Framework. Engineering leaders who collect data on these are better equipped to communicate the impact of successful projects clearly.

Find out how these engineering metrics work in action

Starting the planning phase of a new engineering project requires directly addressing the expectations stakeholders have of the project. Communicating these expectations in terms of hours worked, lines of code written, or other traditional metrics won’t provide meaningful results. 

However, DORA metrics complemented by the SPACE Framework provide a meaningful foundation for communicating the impact of engineering. They make deploying project infrastructure and adjusting to new requirements much easier, and eliminate the need to project cost requirements based on inaccurate forecasts or gut instinct. This makes adding new commitments to your project and deploying them to production much easier.

Effective planning and communication is at your fingertips

Minimize the risks associated with planning software engineering projects by taking a proactive stance towards project specifications, documentation, and communication. Avoid scope creep and delivery delays while keeping costs low and informing stakeholders every step of the way.

Make Waydev part of your project planning cycle and start communicating the impact of engineering projects using a standardized set of meaningful performance metrics and automated data collection to drive software engineering performance.

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