4 mins

Forget the build; it’s time to buy. Avoid these common errors to help you find the right developer metrics tool and boost your engineering team’s performance.

You know that your engineering team is providing value, but proving that value to stakeholders feels more challenging than ever. Spreadsheets and JIRA reports used to be enough to measure team performance – after all, they worked for your manager. But today, teams have more work to do and fewer resources, making developer burnout increasingly common

Leaders are struggling to quantify performance and value, wasting hours collating data into reports every week. Teams need a new way to assess developer performance and experience, and they’re turning to developer metrics platforms to accomplish that.

With so many options on the market, finding the right one can feel overwhelming. We’ve got you covered! Here are five mistakes to avoid when making your choice.

1. Ignoring integrations

A developer metrics tool is only helpful if it has data from multiple sources. While some teams only aggregate data from project tracking tools like JIRA and GitHub, others need richer data to get a complete picture of developer performance. 

Native integrations – particularly with the most critical tools in your tech stack – are essential to keep data up to date. However, teams often overlook HR systems, CI/CD tools, calendars, and more when reviewing a solution’s native integration list.

Developing custom integrations often complicates implementation, costing teams more time and money. Before committing to a tool, clarify what support – if any – the company’s implementation team offers and the extra costs associated with that support. 

While some developer metrics platforms offer API access to capture data from other tools, APIs present their own challenges. Rate limit inconsistencies can make data outdated and unreliable, and data refresh delays on top of those inconsistencies can make the data even less accurate. Make sure your team has the bandwidth and ability to manage the APIs and troubleshoot if they aren’t ingesting data correctly.

2. Overlooking stakeholders outside the engineering team

No engineering team is an island; engineering leaders constantly run reports and present dashboards to the C-suite, product teams, clients, finance, and other critical stakeholders. These reports and dashboards are only helpful if they’re easy for people outside the engineering team to read and understand.

Many software development analytics tools come with features aligned with other stakeholders' priorities. For one team, viewing resource investment in a project can help the C-suite see return on investment at a glance. For another team, project roadmaps can facilitate stronger alignment with the product team and eliminate unnecessary progress meetings.

Before choosing a tool, engineering leaders should consider the stakeholder questions that come up most frequently. Look for features that make providing data-driven answers and actionable insights faster and easier.

3. Thinking too tactically

There’s no denying that developer metric tools can save developer teams a lot of time and energy. Most of these solutions market their abilities to reduce bottlenecks, enhance productivity, automate processes, and measure team performance. However, the tactical benefits are only part of what these tools can offer.

Shopping for a software development analytics tool is an opportunity for engineering leaders to enhance their strategic capabilities. Look beyond the tactical capabilities and consider features that align developer efforts with business goals.

For instance, having built-in reports that benchmark team performance and align engineering key performance indicators (KPIs) with company objectives and key results (OKRs) empowers engineering leaders to take on a more strategic role. Easy-to-read dashboards with actionable insights can help developers be more proactive, collaborative, and strategic, too.

4. Focusing exclusively on developer performance and not developer experience

Developer metrics tools offer everything engineering leaders need to measure developer performance. But for most teams, focusing on performance alone isn’t the right approach to motivate their team.

The increasingly popular SPACE framework calls upon engineering leaders to look beyond performance and assess productivity by measuring satisfaction and well-being, activity, communication and collaboration, and efficiency and flow. Many tools have built-in team health features to help foster a stronger developer experience and measure these five elements of team health.

Investing in any software solution involves thinking ahead and considering future business goals. As the demand for developers continues to increase, team health and satisfaction will likely become a more pressing priority.

5. Assuming you won’t need support

No two software development teams are exactly alike. Even with solid out-of-the-box capabilities, most teams will need to customize at least some aspects of their developer metrics platform. Having support ready and on-call can make a huge difference in your implementation success and usage rate.

Engineering leaders often expect implementation and customization to be self-service, but some tools are less flexible than others. Many teams aren’t aware of what they’ll need to customize until the implementation process. Access to a chat feature or dedicated support agent helps teams resolve issues much quicker than those with a general support hotline or a ticketing system.

Even if a team never uses support, having access to it can bring peace of mind as teams work through configuration and customization challenges.

Need more help choosing the right developer metrics solution?

Now that you know what to avoid, check out our Software Development Analytics Tools Buyer’s Guide for everything you need to know to make the best choice for your engineering team.