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Microsoft Research’s Nicole Forsgren and GitHub Next’s Eirini Kalliamvakou discuss how to measure developer experience more holistically in the era of AI with SPACE methodology.
Teams need to connect and collaborate seamlessly, no matter where they are. In the Developer Experience Lab, a co-Microsoft and GitHub research hub, we aim to better understand developers and how to help them thrive. These insights guide the future of our developer tools and processes—all designed to optimize focus, encourage collaboration, and foster creative thinking to help developers bring their boldest ideas to life.Explore Developer Experience Lab
The SPACE framework offers a new, holistic way of understanding and assessing the developer experience.
How fulfilled do developers feel with their work, team, tools, or culture?
How healthy and happy are developers?
- Employee satisfaction
- Developer efficacy
Evaluate the outcome of a system or process. Performance is difficult to quantify because there are so many variables.
Quality of code:
- Absence of bugs
- Ongoing service health
Impact of code:
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer adoption and retention
- Feature usage
- Cost reduction
Understand the number of actions or outputs completed in the course of performing work.
- Design and coding
- Continuous integration and deployment
- Operational activity
- Intractable activities
Capture how people and teams communicate and work together.
- Discoverability of documentation and expertise
- How quickly work is integrated
- Quality of reviews of work contributed by team members
- Network metrics that show who is connected to whom and how
Efficiency and flow
Gauge how well developers and teams can make progress on their work or complete it without interruptions or delays.
- Number of handoffs in a process
- Number of handoffs across different teams in a process
- Perceived ability to stay in flow and complete work
- Time measured through a system
If you go and ask a hundred developers, what does productivity mean to you, you're going to get a hundred different answers. Productivity is not just one thing, it's many things. It means different things to different people. And so having this more holistic lens allows us to evaluate how various things impact productivity and wellbeing.
We are going through a seismic shift in the way that developers do their job. If you look at things through only one dimension, you're not going to fully understand what's happening.
SPACE as a framework is not just a way to measure productivity. It can also be a way to think about how can I design solutions, answers, or interventions to help myself, my team, or my organization be more productive.
Developers who experience inefficient work processes are 66.8% more likely to be looking for other roles.1
New hire developers are 40% more likely to say “insufficient software tools” are a top workplace challenge.1
 Microsoft and Vista. "The Best of Both Worlds: Unlocking the Potential of Hybrid Work for Software Engineers." 2023.
Navigating the SPACE between
productivity and developer happiness
Nicole Forsgren, Partner at Microsoft ResearchRead the blog
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