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Measuring impact

Microsoft Research’s Nicole Forsgren and GitHub Next’s Eirini Kalliamvakou discuss how to measure developer experience more holistically in the era of AI with SPACE methodology.

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Experience Lab

Teams need to connect and collaborate seamlessly, no matter where they are. In the Developer Experience Lab, a co-Microsoft and GitHub research hub, we aim to better understand developers and how to help them thrive. These insights guide the future of our developer tools and processes—all designed to optimize focus, encourage collaboration, and foster creative thinking to help developers bring their boldest ideas to life.

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The SPACE framework offers a new, holistic way of understanding and assessing the developer experience.


and wellbeing


How fulfilled do developers feel with their work, team, tools, or culture?


How healthy and happy are developers?

Example metrics

  • Employee satisfaction
  • Developer efficacy
  • Engagement
  • Burnout



Evaluate the outcome of a system or process. Performance is difficult to quantify because there are so many variables.

Example metrics

Quality of code:

  • Reliability
  • Absence of bugs
  • Ongoing service health

Impact of code:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer adoption and retention
  • Feature usage
  • Cost reduction



Understand the number of actions or outputs completed in the course of performing work.​

Example metrics

  • Design and coding
  • Continuous integration and deployment
  • Operational activity
  • Intractable activities


and collaboration

Capture how people and teams communicate and work together.

Example metrics

  • Discoverability of documentation and expertise
  • How quickly work is integrated
  • Quality of reviews of work contributed by team members
  • Network metrics that show who is connected to whom and how


Efficiency and flow

Gauge how well developers and teams can make progress on their work or complete it without interruptions or delays.

Example metrics

  • Number of handoffs in a process
  • Number of handoffs across different teams in a process
  • Perceived ability to stay in flow and complete work
  • Interruptions
  • Time measured through a system

If you go and ask a hundred developers, what does productivity mean to you, you're going to get a hundred different answers. Productivity is not just one thing, it's many things. It means different things to different people. And so having this more holistic lens allows us to evaluate how various things impact productivity and wellbeing.

Brian Houck, Principal Productivity Engineer, Microsoft

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We are going through a seismic shift in the way that developers do their job. If you look at things through only one dimension, you're not going to fully understand what's happening.

Brian Houck, Principal Productivity Engineer, Microsoft

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SPACE as a framework is not just a way to measure productivity. It can also be a way to think about how can I design solutions, answers, or interventions to help myself, my team, or my organization be more productive.

Nicole Forsgren, Microsoft Research Partner

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Developers who experience inefficient work processes are 66.8% more likely to be looking for other roles.1

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New hire developers are 40% more likely to say “insufficient software tools” are a top workplace challenge.1

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Developers who experience difficulties collaborating are 13.1% more likely to be looking for other roles.1

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[1] Microsoft and Vista. "The Best of Both Worlds: Unlocking the Potential of Hybrid Work for Software Engineers." 2023.

Navigating the SPACE between
productivity and developer happiness

Nicole Forsgren, Partner at Microsoft Research

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Empower coding from anywhere and help development teams collaborate with production-ready solutions like Microsoft Dev Box and GitHub Codespaces.

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Implement DevOps practices to reduce friction throughout the development process and get code to the cloud faster, safer, and more efficiently.

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