How data empowers developers

Developers and other individual contributors carry significant weight in engineering organizations, but often feel like they lack a seat at the table. Gaining access to the right data can change that.
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As a software engineer, you’re at the heart of the evolution of your company’s product. Jira tickets fly in daily and you (ideally) spend hours every day in Deep Work. You also have ideas. So many ideas. No matter how motivated you may be, you’re likely slowed down by roadblocks, and might feel under-resourced to inspire real change in your org.

Every company has opportunities for improvement, but every company has a different support system for developers to make their voices heard.

A tool like Uplevel can give structure to your feedback and experience. When you’re facing inconveniences, you can provide data to show their impact. If this sprint feels way heavier than the past, pull up a trend chart to show a comparative look at the past three months.

Those are just some of the many ways you can become empowered by Uplevel.

COMMON USER SCENARIOS

“I have too much work.”

This is a common concern and a hard one to communicate. When talking to your manager about a heavy workload, it’s helpful to drill down into what exactly makes it “too much.” Both quantity and quality matter in workload.

When facing an issue of quantity, you might look at context switching. Research varies, but estimates state that you lose anywhere from 20 minutes to 20% of your effort to context switching when you multitask—and that time adds up quickly if you’re assigned to a variety of unrelated tasks.
If the issue is quality (such as too many large and complex tasks at once), look at your Deep Work metrics. Your Deep Work metrics consider the amount of uninterrupted hours you have during the week to get complex work done. If you’re balancing several epics, yet have low Deep Work time, it’s understandable that the workload feels unmanageable. Maintaining a “Normal” level of Deep Work helps developers find consistency in their weekly productive time. For more motivation, it’s worth noting that higher Deep Work time is associated with lower burnout risk.

“I want to build [x] skills so I can grow my career.”

If you’ve been in your position for a while, you might be ready to expand into a new skill set. To make the case for a shift in workload, pull up your customized 1:1 Report. You’ll see your work allocation from the past three months, divided by epic, work type, or pull request. This clear visualization shows where you’ve been spending time and energy, so you can discuss where things might change.

“This sprint was messy.”

As each sprint comes to an end, you may have residual feelings and frustrations. Even a well-planned sprint can spiral once unplanned work and fire drills come into play. When the sprint retro comes around, however, you might struggle to identify the specific aspects that made it difficult. (Sleep debt is real.)

Sprint Retro Insights hosts a plethora of sprint metrics to better reflect on process and outcomes. You’ll see the percentage of goals that the team completed, next to an Uplevel-calculated Sprint Health Score that combines Project Health and People Health during the sprint.

Additionally, this space captures your real-time feedback for use in the retro. Throughout the sprint, add comments about specific tasks or urgent additions. Plus, we added emoji reactions, because sometimes a party popper says it all. (“The new process is working, y’all. 🎉”)

“My boss is micromanaging me.”

As developers, we often made our way into this field because we’re driven and love to problem-solve. Our work is often objective: done or not done? That’s what makes micromanagement feel particularly unnecessary for this role. Of course, that doesn’t prevent it from happening.

A tool like Uplevel can empower developers by supporting ideas with hard data. Helicopter management usually stems from a concern about low productivity, but Uplevel shows the effort you’ve committed to your job. If the idea of a “record” sparks any uneasy thoughts about tracking your performance, know that we purposely do not measure lines of code or stack-rank in anyway. Instead, the metrics on our platform focus on celebrating your accomplishments and protecting developer well-being. We don’t believe in nitpicking. From context switching to throughput to meeting health to sprint health, our engineer-created platform is entirely dedicated to helping you meet your product goals without burning out.

“Work-life balance feels fictional.”

When the pandemic sent us home in early 2020, we soon launched three new features to support remote work. Given the blurred lines between work and home—which meant the line between dining table and couch, for many of us—we were beginning to feel like we were “always on,” so one of the features was called just that. In search of work-life balance, “Always On” measures indicators of overtime, in hopes of maintaining a consistent “Low” score. (We don’t glorify long hours.) This is a key metric to share with your manager when you’re in need of a break.

Since many of us prefer alternate work schedules to the 9-to-5 routine, the tool intelligently analyzes active hours to determine standard working hours, and only counts the rest, whether at 10pm, 9am, or Sunday afternoon. While some weeks will inevitably have higher Always On scores, we recommend using those times as learning experiences—and following them with a mental health day.

USER TESTIMONIALS

Developers use Uplevel to better understand their work and their teams. After a short onboarding process, they typically feel better resourced with data to improve their process and daily work life. Here’s what we’ve heard.

“Always On helps me to monitor my hours and burnout risk with my manager.”

– Developer, Avalara

“The 1:1 reports are one of the top things that I like. It helps me plan my tasks better, for both current and upcoming sprints.”

Developer, Avalara

“Uplevel is not a tattletale tool, but is integral to my team for process improvement.”

Developer, Avalara

“Deep Work and the integration that [Uplevel] has across tools to understand which engineers are getting distracted by requests is by far the most valuable component.”

Developer, Remitly

“The Sprint Retro comments are great because they allow us to call out our team to provide more detail, more resources, and a test environment so that we can have a discussion around the process improvement itself.”

Developer, Avalara

Learn how Uplevel can spark more effective conversations with your manager. Ready to experience it yourself? Request a demo.

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