Presentation: Development Metrics You Should Use but Don't

Track: High Velocity Dev Teams

Location: Majestic Complex, 6th fl

Duration: 1:40pm - 2:30pm

Day of week: Monday

Level: Intermediate

Persona: Architect, CTO/CIO/Leadership

What You’ll Learn

  • Hear more about the reasoning behind using value driven metrics, such as those around time and process.
  • Understand how to shape your organization around metrics that have meaningful value and less on those driving competition.
  • Learn techniques to focus your teams on data rather than gut feel.


Have you ever had a gut feeling a project is about to go off course but no way to validate (or invalidate) that feeling? Has your team ever been burned by an inaccurate estimate or unreasonable expectation? Have you ever wished you could peer a bit into the future?

Navigating the uncertainty of knowledge work is often difficult and uncomfortable. During this session, you’ll learn new ways to visualize your team’s reliability and variability of delivery using the data you already collect. Instead of relying entirely on your gut or laboring over estimates, you’ll learn to predict outcomes and describe their likelihood. While this session won’t teach you to eliminate uncertainty or allow you to see the future, it will provide you with tools to explore and chart a reasonable course through the inherent ambiguity of knowledge work.


QCon: What's the motivation for your talk?

Cat: My talk is about using more meaningful metrics to inform decision making. It’s about metrics, rather than starting useless competition within your organization.

QCon: Can you give me an example of a more meaningful metric?

Cat: The metrics that we'll discuss are counts of things or time per thing. So I’m not talking about weird abstractions like story points or anything like that. Everything is really value driven. So we will discuss a lot of time and process, a lot of throughput, and things like that. It's about quality metrics value metrics. Of course, these metrics are more customized per the organization and their goals.

This talk is really for decision makers at any level of the organization, but certainly people who are responsible for making decisions about how to implement things.

QCon: What do you want someone to leave your talk with?

Cat: I want them to walk away asking themselves how they can put metrics in context. I'd like to see them use data to shape the decisions that they're making dynamically.

Speaker: Cat Swetel

Agile Methods Coach & Advocate for Woman in Tech

Cat Swetel specializes in using Lean techniques to increase the agility and adaptability of large and long-historied technology organizations. Specifically, she has worked with several Fortune 100 companies in highly regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare. Cat has been invited to speak internationally about her pragmatic approach to enabling technology leaders to make better, more timely, data-informed decisions.

Find Cat Swetel at


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