Table of Content
- 1. Customer's satisfaction
- 2. Measured by the honesty
- 3. Code based or process based metric can be gamed
- 4. Skills can be learned, Attitude is inherent
- 5. Ask feedback from customers
- 6. Multiple important factors
- 7. Do’s and Don’ts
- 8. Qualitative signs of a great developer
Most organizations evaluate their developer’s performance based on three metrics. i.e., speed, quality, and teamwork. Especially when you work in an Agile-SCRUM environment, these aspects are collectively noticed to get an exact overview of a developer. Aspects like business acumen, quality of writing code, ability in test-driven development, applying logic with well-structured code, testing skills, etc. reveal a lot about the developer.
To drive better results, performance evaluation is crucial for any business. This simply helps to build up the team, keep developers focused on strategies, leverage technical knowledge, and influence project decisions.
In this blog, we will explore the most crucial factors to effectively judge the performance of a software developer and figure out the ways for improvement.
“The only way to measure performance of a software developer is to is your customer's satisfaction and if they keep coming back to you and referring new clients. So revenue is the No 1 metric. If you develop software that you can't sell because of poor development, you and your software developers have failed. Suppose you invest thousands of dollars in marketing your software and acquiring customers. Then it does not deliver what was advertised. You lose money, reputation, and customers. Businesses exist to serve their customers and generate profit. Even if you have an all-star team of developers with PhDs, if your customers keep leaving you because they are not happy, you will soon close the shop.
Software developers live in a binary result-oriented realm. They either deliver or not. They either deliver on time or too late. If it takes your developers six months to build a prototype, while your competitors can finish the same thing in one week - you failed.”
- Michael Yurushkin, Founder & CTO of BroutonLab
Measured by the honesty
“A web developer's performance should be measured by the honesty of the developer to get the work completed as initially promised. It is critical that a consumer fully discuss the details of a project including design, functionality, communication, deadlines and other commitments in as much detail as possible. An honest developer will deliver on all the promises that are made to a consumer at the onset of a project.”
- David Reischer, CEO of LegalAdvice.com
Code based or process based metric can be gamed
“The challenge with determining performance is that there are no objective metrics that can accurately measure a developer's performance. Any code based or process based metric can be gamed (and I've had developers attempt to game it in front of me).
There is also the fact that a lot of the value a developer provides is outside of code. I was once on a project where the developers were stressing about one feature that was going to take an extra 3 weeks. I spent 5 minutes talking to the product manager about the user value of the feature and we ended up cutting it. No amount of technical ability can compete with good teamwork.”
- Beekey Cheung, Founder of Dynomantle Technologies LLC
Skills can be learned, Attitude is inherent
“Yes, employers judge performance by knowledge of languages and frameworks, data structures and algorithms, databases and deployment…
But smart employers also know that the best developers are those who are able to work a problem, ask questions, admit when they don't know the answer, and have the motivation and determination to figure it out. This all comes down to attitude.
Skills can be learned. Attitude is inherent. Developers with a positive attitude will ultimately perform well, and be more enjoyable to work with.”
- Kim Desmond, Cofounder of CodingNomads
Ask feedback from customers
“One way you can measure your web developer’s performance is by asking for feedback from your customers. This method not only lets you know what areas of your website need further optimizing but also gives you more insight into your customer’s behavior and what possible strategies you can further apply to your business to improve your overall service.”
- Simon Elkjær, Chief Marketing Officer at AvXperten
Multiple important factors
You can judge a developer by providing features and production changes that fully match the person's expectations giving the assignment. Is he able to deploy his work without any bug or hitch?
How fast does he carry out tasks? Does he solve tasks very fast? Or he lags in getting things done.
The quality of his code can judge a developer's performance? Does his code contain very few bugs? What about his code style? Does he write codes in a way that can be understood with proper commenting?
A good developer communicates early and often and understands what needs to be communicated to the team. He is also good at using internal communication channels, making it easy to figure out where he is on his tasks.
A good developer should be able to do routine code reviews to help solve problems when necessary. You can judge a developer based on his ability to review his codes. Does he still understand the principles he wrote after some time?
A good developer puts in the extra hours to complete a feature or handle a crashed server when needed. He should also proactively solve problems that are relevant without being told to do so. Overall, he must demonstrate a sense of responsibility for the product, the company, the users, and the team.
A good developer should have a knack for suggesting relevant technical additions to the current tech stack. He should know when to chip in and help figure out how best to implement a technical reserve.”
- Abby Hao, Head of Marketing Wellpcb PTY LTD
“There are a few metrics I believe you can use to measure the performance of your developer. I think you've got to use a little common sense to decide what of these metrics would be best used in your business and the expectations you have on your developer in order to decide their productivity for your company.
Without further ado: Product features. Basically, a developer is creating/building features that are requested to them by their clients. Measure their productivity by the number of features they present in any given timeframe.
Velocity - measures the amount of work your team is able to complete during any given 'sprint' of time. Good to see how people can do this under time constraints and pressure.
Bugs - important to note that your developer can produce a lot, and fast, but it can be bug ridden. Measure how severe a bug is and how many there are to determine their performance level as well.”
- Andrew Taylor, Director of Net Lawman
“When evaluating the performance of a web developer, it is important to keep in mind that your aim is to help them succeed.
Do’s and Don’ts
Here are a couple of do’s and don’ts when evaluating someone's performance.
- Don’t base your evaluation solely on the number of hours worked or the number of finished issues without looking at the context or other responsibilities. Do not base it on your feelings only, and please do not do it only once a year.
- Do use a blended approach of metrics and qualitative feedback to fairly evaluate a web developer’s performance. For measurable metrics, you could use some of the following to give you a hint that you need to look more closely into someone’s performance:
- Number of pull requests compared to the average per developer is low
- Number of big pull requests (>1,000 lines) compared to the average per developer is low
- Number of comments per pull request compared to the average per developer is low
- Time from a pull request is opened until it is merged is too long
- Number of weekly coding days is low
- Number of reported bugs on features they have been working on is high
- Developer is consistently over the estimate
But these metrics oftentimes lack context. For any developer it is also important that they show accountability, know how to scope their work, and are available to help others as well as developing a code of high quality.
Qualitative signs of a great developer
To keep track of that you should check how responsive they are. How quickly do they respond to requests or questions? Do they raise their hand in a timely manner when they run into blockers? Also try to gauge whether they are thinking of quality while coding. Check if they request QA and whether they keep performance and quality in mind while coding and have appropriate tests in their pull requests.
Reviewing code is a vital part of any developer’s day-to-day work. Check how quickly they complete code reviews. Look into what type of errors they discover: is it architecture vs. clean code? Senior developers will find more errors and junior developers should receive training so they can reach the same level. Those who are good at giving great code reviews are more valuable as developers.
Aware of new trends and best practices
Using scrum practices can help teams support each other and give employees a chance not only to raise their hand when they need help, but also to offer assistance to other team members. A good developer will follow these practices, for example having 1:1’s on a regular basis, at least once every two weeks, to review what went well in the past sprint and talk about what can be improved. This gives the employee the opportunity to grow; monitor whether they take advantage of that.
Daily stand-ups can be used to identify if someone needs help. A good developer uses that opportunity to raise their hand. A simple status check is to see if someone is working on the same issue 3 days in a row without raising a flag. That it is not a good sign. A good developer also spreads their knowledge, helps others develop their skills and present new things they have discovered or learned.
Evaluating performance is about helping developers to succeed
At the end of the day, keep in mind that evaluating performance is about helping the developer succeed in their job. Remember you will need more than just one metric to accurately measure performance. And ask others that work with the person to provide their feedback as well. Peer review can provide very valuable insights into someone’s performance.”
- Jakob Jónasson, Director of Engineering at Tempo Software
“In order to properly assess a developer by his or her performance, you have to answer a few questions:
- Is the project complete? If not, why?
- Did the project yield what was expected? If not, what was the result?
- Is the code stable and secure?
- Is the end product, if complete, user-friendly?
- How was their communication throughout the project?
These are all factors that should be considered when determining developer performance. Notice that time is not a factor here, nor is budget. Time and budget estimates at the beginning of a project are just that: estimates. So if the project took longer and/or cost more than initially planned, it should have no bearing on job performance.”
- Pieter VanIperen, Managing Partner at PWV Consultants
To sum up, it is quite difficult to conclude one metric to measure the performance of a web developer. However, every company expects its developers should quickly analyze project and make prudent decisions for faster productivity. In this blog, we have gone through various metrics that help organizations to effectively judge the performance of their software developers and improve them in the right way.