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Is The Goal of Software Companies to Make Software Engineers Happy?

Developer experience, developer happiness, developer productivity. Three terms that treat symptoms, not causes.


Developer experience – how a developer feels when they get to work, what slows them down, and what needs to get out of the way.

Developer happiness – happy coders are productive coders.

Developer productivity – what does productivity mean anyway? Reduction of technical debt? The number of lines of code? Mistakes made?

We can’t measure developer happiness – we can’t measure developer experience – we can’t effectively measure productivity. We can ask by sending a survey, but the answers we get will be hugely subjective and probably misleading.

However, we can measure how good our software is. The happiness of our software will determine the happiness of our developers. And luckily there are already effective measures for software happiness called DORA.

  • Lead Time
  • Mean Time To Recovery
  • Change Failure Rate
  • Deployment Frequency

All of these metrics need a system in place to measure them effectively.

So if you want to improve developer happiness and productivity, put these measures in place. If you can’t measure, put the systems in place to enable measurement.

Then baseline your software, run your developer happiness survey (if you like) and see what happens to developer happiness when your metrics change.

Software happiness equals developer happiness. Measure software happiness with DORA.