Heitor Gouvêa

Research About

Direction is more important than velocity

In the last 12 months (2022 ~ 2023) I was in an engineering team that according to the other teams in the company (an external perception) was that this team was not winning the game due to the low speed in software delivery.

One thing was for sure, we had absolutely no metrics to monitor delivery speed. So it was not possible to affirm or deny this possibility, we started the work based on this hypothesis and started to monitor the amount of cards delivered per sprint, we made adjustments and quickly saw that it was not smart to use this resource as a measure. Then it was time to monitor the sprint points, which quickly proved to be inefficient until we arrived at the famous DORA Metrics.

Using DORA Metrics things started to make more sense, it seemed that we had the necessary and correct information to start winning that game. A lot of effort was applied and we left a starting point where the team was framed as “Low” to then reach the “High” level and that took a long time.

Being at the High level seemed like reason enough to celebrate, but the team’s day-to-day life didn’t seem to do it justice. We were still feeling like we were losing the game and so it felt like we had tackled the wrong root problem.

At that same period, I was reading the book “O Almanaque de Naval Ravikant” and a specific passage fit very well with what I was going through at work:

“The direction we take matters more than how fast we go, especially with leverage. Choosing the direction to take for each decision is much, much more important than the force applied. Just choose the right direction to go and then start walking.”

It’s that kind of obvious thing that needs to be said by someone so that we can then come to the conclusion that it’s something obvious, isn’t it?