space: developer productivity framework

2021-06-24

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~2 min read

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259 words

I was reading about the SPACE Developer Framework recently in an ACM Queue article by Nicole Forsgren, Margaret-Anne Storey, Chandra Maddila, Thomas Zimmerman, Brian Houck, and Jenna Butler as a follow up to learning about GitHub’s Good Day Project.

As one might expect, SPACE is an acronym. In this case, it refers to:

  • Satisfaction and well-being
  • Performance
  • Activity
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Efficiency and flow

The authors presented how these dimensions could be applied at the individual, team/group, and system level in the following matrix:

I liked learning about SPACE, but I thought this observation was spot on, particularly in an article that seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time decrying the use of a single metric:

This leads to an important point about metrics and their effect on teams and organizations: They signal what is important. One way to see indirectly what is important in an organization is to see what is measured, because that often communicates what is valued and influences the way people behave and react. For example, companies that care about employee health, well-being, and retention will likely include the satisfaction and well-being dimension in their productivity measures. As a corollary, adding to or removing metrics can nudge behavior, because that also communicates what is important.

As an individual contributor, I’m currently interested in how I might incorporate some of these measures into my personal review, but I also am excited to share them with my team to see how we can increase our satisfaction / productivity together.


Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!