Many organizations just want developers to be super productive. They measure how much code gets written daily. How many features shipped this sprint.
But more productivity doesn’t always create real value for the business. Developers could build quickly but make the wrong things.
The better goal is to focus developers on creating real value. This means building things that help the business succeed.
Let’s say a fintech company pressures developers to release features fast. But in their haste, they neglect to build proper financial data protections. The result is a major breach damaging customer trust and requiring costly recovery efforts. More productivity but negative value.
Or a social media platform pushes engagement and growth ahead of all else. Developers optimize algorithms to enhance user engagement and retention without considering real-world harms like misinformation spread. A toxic product drives business metrics but erodes societal value.
Some more examples:
Building features customers actually want. Not what seems interesting.
Making the app more secure. Not just fast new code.
Refactoring old messy code. Not ignoring tech debt.
Reducing cloud costs. Not overengineering.
The point is outcomes matter more than output. Support developers in creating great user experiences. Building resilient systems. Eliminating distractions.
Truly engage developers in creating value that serves all stakeholders — customers, employees, community, and shareholders. Enable them to build secure systems, transparent AI, privacy protections, and ethical data practices. Make space for quality and social responsibility, not just pace and output.
The most empowering leadership understands what motivates developers at their core. Give them the autonomy to create products that reflect their values. Don’t just demand results — inspire meaningful impact.
When developers feel connected to ethical purpose, they will naturally contribute far more value than any metric can reflect.
Measuring productivity numbers misses the bigger picture. True value comes from empowering teams to use their skills on what makes the business better.