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Seven Metrics every Technical Lead needs to track performance

A technical lead is an experienced software developer with a deep understanding of technology and the capacity to lead a team of software engineers and technicians.

Technical leads should have strong technical skills such as programming, security, computer engineering, software development skills, and leadership skills such as guiding, motivating, and ensuring productivity. In addition to good communication skills, be it written or verbal. Good communication skills provide a proper understanding of responsibilities and set clear instructions and expectations. And last, a technical lead is a multitasker and should have the ability to lead several projects simultaneously, meet deadlines, and improve decision-making and organizational skills.

The technical lead has a challenging position; there are so many responsibilities on the technical and management level. However, focusing on the right objectives and bringing measurable metrics to ensure constant improvements to the process and production environment is the best way to ensure success. 

Below are the seven metrics essential to the success of a technical lead.

Agile Process Metrics

Four Agile process metrics help technical leaders to plan and make informed decisions about process improvement:

  • Lead time: this metric measures how long it takes from an idea to a delivered software

  • Cycle time: this metric measures how long it takes to change the software system and deliver that change into production

  • Team velocity: this metric measures how many sprints of software the team typically completes in an iteration

  • Open/close rates: this metric measures how many production issues are reported and closed within a specific period

Production analytics

Three critical metrics that measure the overall software system’s performance in its current production environment that every tech lead should track are:

  • Meantime between failures (MTBF): this metric measures the time between failures for devices that need to be repaired

  • Meantime to recover/repair (MTTR): this metric measures its time to repair those failed devices

  • Application crash rate: this metric measures how many times an application fails divided by how many times it was used. This metric is related to MTBF and MTTR

Using the proper reporting and charting tools is also part of the success formula for every tech lead. The right tool saves time and reduces the margin of error in reporting, especially when using Jira Software. 

5 comments

Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Mar 11, 2022

Thanks for sharing this article and insights about critical metrics for a Tech Lead, @Andreas Springer _Actonic_ ! Very informative and useful, indeed!

I was wondering what is the difference between "Lead Time" and "Cycle Time" with respect to Agile process for software development. I always find them confusing. Do you have a way to define/describe each of them in a simple way for others to understand (probably, with an example) and remember?

yuliia_b__SaaSJet_ Marketplace Partner Mar 11, 2022

Hi @Taranjeet Singh 

Cycle time is the time from the beginning to the end of a certain action. It is the time during which the issue is marked as "In progress". The statuses used to calculate cycle time depend on the workflow you're using for your project.

Lead time covers a longer period of time: from receiving a request for an action (not when work begins) to the moment this action is completed, including the time in the queue.

[Definitions from the article 3 tools to analyze Cycle and Lead Time in the Jira]

This example has helped me to understand the difference:

Frame 109 (1).png

Like # people like this
Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Mar 14, 2022

Thank you for the clarification, @yuliia_b__SaaSJet_ ! This is simple and helpful!

Like yuliia_b__SaaSJet_ likes this
yuliia_b__SaaSJet_ Marketplace Partner Mar 15, 2022

@Taranjeet Singh Glad to help!

Darryl Lee Atlassian Team Mar 17, 2022

Thanks for sharing this!

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