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The Rabbit HoleThe Rabbit Hole

201. Metrics as Incentives

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Many managers assess developer performance as if they were runners, where how many lines of code you write determines how good you are. Instead, developers are like baseball players, where a suite of metrics is needed to measure performance. In today’s episode, we unpack how metrics are used to judge coding performance and how metric incentives can create less than desirable coding behaviors. After chatting about how vaccine eligibility metrics can incentivize binge eating, we chat about the ins-and-outs of using test coverage to measure project health. We then discuss how managers are weighing their team’s efforts in the age of remote work. While reflecting on when it can be useful to look at how many lines of code someone has written, we explore how incentivizing individual performance can damage a team project. Later, we share some of our successes with AB testing. Using metrics as incentives can lead to both positive and negative unintended consequences. Join us to hear about how these knock-on effects can impact your work. 

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