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Level Up - Issue #131


Level Up

February 13 · Issue #131 · View online

Level Up delivers a curated newsletter for leaders in tech. A project by Ideal for busy people such as Tech Leads, Engineering Managers, VPs of Engineering, CTOs and more.

What do I measure?
I heard this question multiple times that week and I know it’s a common question many leaders have. Unfortunately, this is the wrong question to start with. A lot of leaders feel pressured to measure *something*. After all, your peers in marketing might be able to talk about “click-throughs”, your BizDev team “($/£/€/… of contracts closed) and technology teams feel more… ambiguous.
In our book, ”Building Evolutionary Architectures“, we encourage people to consider using fitness functions (more objective criteria about what a "good” architecture looks like). Although some fitness functions might end up as a metric (e.g. cyclomatic complexity, degree of coupling, etc) there are many that are less objective (e.g. user experience) or the cost to gather data is not worth it. Although we outline types of fitness functions, we can’t prescribe *which* fitness functions you should because the hard part, which is true for many aspects of leadership, is deciding what is most important right now. What is important to your team now may not be important to your team in 6 months time. What is important to your team may not be important to a different team in your same organisation. This question requires you pay attention, build situational awareness and decide in your context, what is most important to you right now.
Although there may be some aspects you always care about (e.g. team engagement, recruiting metrics, software delivery), you should always be able to connect a metric back to its purpose. Remember that many are often a proxy and not a substitute for what is important to you. If you want to read more about using metrics well, read “An Appropriate Use of Metrics”, an article I wrote many years ago that I think still holds true.
Your challenge for this week is to look at metrics around you. Are they useful? Do you understand their purpose and are they are driving behaviour change? If not, maybe it’s time to drop them.
Enjoy this week’s newsletter and be sure to pass it on to a friend or colleague.
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Are you asking the wrong question when it comes to measurement?
Are you asking the wrong question when it comes to measurement?
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Organisation & Processes
The myth of meritocracy, according to Michael Sandel
How to spot a fake interview candidate — before they become a hire
The Biggest Mistake I See Engineers Make
Tweets of the Week
I’ve seen this unfortunately too many times 👇😱
“If your engineers aren’t challenged with a business problem, the. They’ll challenge themselves with technology problems.”

Think about that for a minute.
A great twitter thread with some fun visuals about team dynamics 👇
Benji Weber
Here's a team. Someone leaves.

We hire a replacement.

We get lucky and manage to find someone more skilled.

Looks like we're better off? [1/10]
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany