Jellyfish Survey Finds Engineering Leaders Embrace Data-driven Decisions

Jellyfish, a pioneer of Engineering Management Platforms (EMPs), released its third annual State of Engineering Management report. To compile the findings, Jellyfish analyzed 23,000 engineers’ work while surveying hundreds of engineering leaders. The insights highlight the challenges engineering teams face and how management responds.

Software increasingly leads business strategy, and engineering teams are a critical and resource-intensive part of most corporations. Their work is responsible for driving innovation, revenues and customer loyalty. In the report, Jellyfish evaluates where engineering teams use their time and resources, how they operate and perform, and how leaders invest for growth in 2022.

Jellyfish’s research found engineering teams shifted focus on infrastructure work and teams are gearing for growth, including headcount, customers, and scalability, by doing the work that is needed to support that.

In 2021 the average engineering team allocated 35 percent of its time to growth and innovation and 19 percent on infrastructure work, up nearly 6 percent from 2020 (14 percent), while support work was down nearly 5 percent from 29 percent last year to 24 percent. In 2021, teams spent 22 percent of their time on average on unplanned work. Engineers who are motivated and understand the importance of their work are more productive, as teams who devote 50 percent or more resources to growth and innovation work deliver software at least 3x faster than those who commit 25 percent or less.

Additional findings identified in the 2022 State of Engineering Management include:

  • Engineering teams improve operational efficiency and virtual collaboration – Cycle times were down 12 percent YoY — to 13 days from 14 days — and average issues resolved per engineer are up 5 percent YoY to 1.7 issues per week. As a result of the need to embrace remote work, engineering teams are using software to increase collaboration. Pull request (PR) comments per engineer are up 23 percent YoY, and PR reviews per engineer are up 30 percent on average to 1.7 from 1.3 reviews weekly. 44 percent of engineering leaders surveyed saw increases in productivity due to remote work and 42 percent saw increases in their team’s ability to ship code due to remote work.
  • Increasing visibility and reducing unplanned work continues to be a priority – Teams spent 22 percent of their time on unplanned work in 2021, a YOY increase of 3 percent. When engineering leaders had to identify the most significant challenges in 2022, 45 percent of respondents said making sure everyone is focused on the highest priority work was a critical element for success.
  • Organizations that leverage EMPs focus more on growth and innovation and are more productive – Engineering organizations that use EMPs allocate 29 percent more time to growth and innovation and spend 48 percent less time on unplanned work. Engineering organizations using EMPs spend 45 percent of their work on growth and innovation vs. organizations that do not use EMPs (35 percent). Engineering organizations using EMPs spend 11 percent of their work on unplanned activities vs. organizations that do not use EMPs (22 percent)
  • Engineering teams are poised for hiring and growth in 2022 – More than 79 percent of engineering leaders expect to grow the size of their teams in 2022, and respondents say employee onboarding ramp time, virtual onboarding and hiring are among the most significant challenges they face.

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