Tim Nott, CTO of FactoryFix, leads a fully remote organization of 10+ software engineers split into three feature teams that are building the leading SaaS product for manufacturing recruitment. Together, Tim and Engineering Manager Eduardo Bilk started looking for a tool that would help them align engineering with the business and gain visibility into the process bottlenecks that were getting in the way of their teams.
Tim’s main goal was to find a solution that would help communicate engineering progress and priorities to the non-engineering leadership. He wanted to identify a set of key metrics that would help the engineering organization not only measure but also improve its delivery time.
FactoryFix is known for its culture of high ownership and transparency. As the engineering leader, Tim was looking to bring the same degree of transparency into engineering that the other departments were already able to offer.
Instead of having to wait for a post-mortem to analyze what went wrong, Tim and Eduardo were hoping to become more proactive about catching blockers and communicating about unexpected delays to internal stakeholders.
Improving transparency, predictability, and delivery
Around the time Tim and Eduardo started looking into engineering productivity tools, they were also working on switching from Shortcut to Linear and adopting Shape Up as their software development methodology. They started off by comparing Swarmia, LinearB, and GitClear, but quickly chose Swarmia as the most suitable tool for achieving the outcomes they were after.
Early on in the evaluation process, Tim and Eduardo were impressed by the visibility Swarmia was able to provide to not only the engineering teams but also the rest of the business.
The insights in Swarmia also turned out to be useful in supporting the conversations Tim was having in the leadership team.
Eduardo, on the other hand, quickly got into the habit of using Swarmia’s Daily Digests in Slack to understand work in progress and unblock team members who needed unblocking. The scheduled recaps in Slack help Eduardo stay on top of the work his team is doing.
During the trial period, Eduardo spent some time on comparing LinearB’s and Swarmia’s Slack notifications to one another. He found that LinearB’s notifications felt punitive and complicated, whereas the ones in Swarmia were more straightforward and actionable.
In addition to interacting with Swarmia’s Slack app, Eduardo also likes to look at the Work Log to get a quick visualization of how the work is moving forward.
Immediate ROI with 25% drop in cycle time and replacing daily stand-ups with Swarmia’s Daily Digests
Since FactoryFix’s Swarmia adoption coincided with their implementation of the Shape Up methodology, they’ve been able to prove the new methodology’s impact on the speed of delivery. After the first 90 days of using Swarmia and Shape Up, the FactoryFix engineering teams saw an average of 25% drop in their pull request cycle times and a 9% increase in their review rate.
Additionally, with Swarmia’s Daily Digests in every team’s Slack channel, each engineering team has been able to skip their daily stand-ups and reduce the number of recurring meetings.
During the next 12-24 months, Tim is looking to significantly grow the engineering organization. While he knows that such rapid growth comes with its own challenges, he’s also committed to scaling the engineering organization sustainably by understanding the impact of each new hire.