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Advocating for engineering with concrete metrics.

The Challenge

When Hunter Powers joined Social Tables as the VP of Engineering, he set his sights on building a high-velocity, high-impact engineering organization, while also actively representing the team at the executive level. But as the company’s user growth exploded and their office space shrank, Social Tables’s engineering managers struggled to keep in touch with all of the people and projects happening in the organization.

This lack of visibility complicated Hunter's ability to demonstrate how hard engineering was working. While other departments in the organization came to meetings with reports outlining their progress, easily making the case for additional resources, Hunter had to rely on his own political savviness when advocating for his team.

365体育足球"I was getting questions like, 'How do we know that this person is actually working?' or 'Couldn’t you be doing 10% more?'" At first, Hunter tried creating a spreadsheet to track things like stories, but the result was almost worse. It provided limited (if not skewed) perspective of the team’s work, and manually exporting data from various sources on a single spreadsheet was time-consuming.

365体育足球That all changed when he found Pluralsight.

“We’re growing fast and it’s impractical to interrupt engineers or manually review all of their work. Pluralsight helps me quickly understand what’s going on and identify the areas that need attention. And it helps us be much more tactical about supporting the engineers."

365体育足球Hunter Powers, VP of Engineering at Social Tables

 

The Solution

365体育足球Getting started with Pluralsight Flow was swift and simple, immediately enabling Social Tables to visualize engineering activity across teams, repos, and codebases. It was immediately clear that they had a high-performing team.

365体育足球"Before Flow, there was less trust that everyone was working hard simply because a lot of work in software engineering is invisible," Hunter explains. "Once we were able to pull up reports and show how hard the team was working, there was a significant increase in trust from people outside of engineering."

The key benefits of Pluralsight Flow for Social Tables

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21%

Increase in coding days per week

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20%

Increase in TinyPulse happiness score among engineers

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27%

Increase in impact to codebase

“Flow gives me a clear path toward increasing the value that the team delivers to customers."

365体育足球Hunter Powers, VP of Engineering at Social Tables

Results and next steps

Since rolling out Flow, Social Tables has seen increases across all four of the fundamental metrics, along with a 20% improvement in Engineering Happiness Score (as tracked by TinyPulse), and a dramatic increase in the amount of features shipped.

"Flow gives me a clear path towards increasing the value that the team delivers to our customers," Hunter says. "And it’s a path that focuses on working smarter. It’s not about asking the team to work more, and to work longer days or on the weekends. It’s about improving our processes, implementing best practices, and helping managers better support the engineers."

In addition to better supporting engineers internally, Hunter has found Flow to be a powerful tool for communicating externally. Having the ability to experiment with various work patterns and track results has even lead to a few new perks for the engineering team. For example, they’ve used Flow to establish a "work from home Wednesday," and also to introduce a "20% time" where the team can work on things outside the product roadmap.

"Marketing recently came to me and said, 'From about six months ago, it feels like you’re shipping four times as much stuff as you were, and we can’t keep up' to which I responded, 'Get ready for more.'"

“Before Flow, there was less trust that everyone was working hard simply because a lot of work in engineering is invisible. Once we were able to pull up reports and show how hard the team was working, there was a significant increase in trust from people outside of engineering.”

Hunter Powers, VP of Engineering at Social Tables

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