How do I measure invisible work?

HOW TO -️ October 18, 2021

Full disclosure, I’m not a developer or a DevOps professional so some of the terms I use might not be correct. I’m a product marketer who is trying to learn more about a facet of development work.

I’ve read that up to 50% of developers' time is spent on invisible work - those things that aren’t directly traceable back to code commits or other productivity metrics. Interpersonal components like helping teammates or asking for help or discovery components like experimentation or hunting down solutions. I don’t know how accurate these numbers are, so if anyone has different ones with sources, that would be appreciated.

Given the importance of this type of work and how much of it is invisible, what are the strategies or approaches that you use to make this work visible?


The trick is you don't need to measure this directly. Modern approach is based on Theory of Constraints - where you start with bottlenecks and then address those bottlenecks. And usually we use Accelerate metrics to locate bottlenecks in Software organizations. Generally, I'd recommend reading "The Goal" first if you haven't done so already.