Do you know what your devs are working on? Without visibility into the allocation of their efforts, it’s difficult to know if they’re focused on the right things. That doesn’t mean tracking their time to the day or hour, but it’s important to make sure their efforts align with business priorities.
Prioritization planning is more than just a strategic concern — it’s cultural. It can impact how your teams work, what they work on, their sense of purpose, and how they feel about their contributions to the organization.
Data-driven allocation insights provide a comprehensive view of what your teams are working on, mapped out into specific investment buckets. These insights can help you create a culture of effectiveness for your engineering teams. It’s all about empowering them to make the right decisions and giving them the tools to hold themselves accountable.
Using allocation insights to empower your teams
You may have prioritized a new product or feature at the executive level, but are your teams allocating people, effort, and investments to those projects?
While keep the lights on (KTLO) activities and bug fixes are important to your engineering organization, you probably don’t want those tasks taking up all your teams’ time. They need enough capacity to also work on complicated feature builds and other high-impact priorities.
Allocation insights help create a culture of empowerment for your teams. The goal is to have your devs focused on the right type, amount, and quality of work. Data-driven prioritization planning can help you accomplish that goal, not only driving the product forward but also providing devs with time for meaningful work that won’t burn them out.
This starts at the top with leadership setting the right business goals for the organization. So when your engineers and managers are engaged in bottom-up planning for the next quarter or sprint, they’ll feel empowered to make the right decisions and decide which efforts support those business priorities. They’ll feel less overloaded or restricted by the work they’re doing, and leadership can rest easy knowing that priorities are aligned.
Helping your teams hold themselves accountable
You and your devs want the same thing: to delight your customers with amazing features. Unfortunately, your teams don’t always get the chance to work on such high-impact projects — even when you’d like them to. Flexe CTO David Glick summed it up well in our Expert Series:
“There’s one thing we know: a leading indicator of on-time delivery of projects is whether people are actually working on them … We had five engineers assigned to a project, but it turned out that zero were working on it (for various reasons). It looked like that project would be progressing, but it wasn’t.”
This disconnect between what leadership thinks their devs are working on versus what they’re actually working on can really hurt the day-to-day efforts of your teams. But with greater visibility into dev capacity and the allocation of their efforts across the organization, leaders can better sequence out the work being done with the resources available, improving planning and throughput. This helps create a culture of accountability where everyone knows what they should be doing, and they have the time and resources to do it.
Ultimately, you want them to work on the right things to support the business strategy and to take responsibility for their work. As a leader, the last thing you want is to hover over your teams, making sure they know which projects to prioritize. Allocation insights are a tool to help keep everyone — devs, managers, and execs — informed, honest, and accountable for the work being done across the engineering organization.
These insights aren’t meant to be viewed only by leadership and delegated down as tasks to the devs. They are meant to create visibility, which means they should be shared with everyone — not just the select few. Doing so enables your people to hold themselves accountable for making the right decisions, prioritizations, and tradeoffs.
As an engineering leader, you must also hold yourself accountable. One way to do this is taking more ownership of how you report on your teams’ work. Do you send out surveys or spreadsheets to collect the information? Or have a manager or an IC do it for you? If so, you’re putting the onus on your teams to accurately report on their efforts, which can slow them down and make them feel accountable to you rather than themselves.
Manual reporting is prone to mistakes and recency bias. And when teams rely on guesses and intuition to fill in memory gaps, it can diminish accountability. It also hurts your wallet. Let’s say each developer spends 15 minutes per quarter reporting on their efforts. In an organization of 1,000 people, that manual process could cost you over $80K each year. This can be especially concerning during times of economic uncertainty.
Instead, you and your teams should rely on data to get things done in a way that doesn’t waste precious time or dollars. Allocation insights can provide important visibility into your efforts, creating a culture of empowerment and accountability across your entire engineering organization.
Learn more about allocation and our full suite of executive insights, and schedule a demo today.
Uplevel is an engineering intelligence platform to help tech leaders meet commitments, deliver value, and maximize team health.