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How JPMorgan measures the success of its software engineers

At JPMorgan's 2024 investor day yesterday, tech played a pivotal role, and it wasn't all about generative AI. When discussing its infrastructure modernization, the bank gave a number of metrics it uses to measure productivity and success, as seen in the slide below:

If you want to stand out as a productive engineer at JPMorgan, it seems you'll have to do a few things:

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Be Quick

When working in JPMorgan's product teams, pace is paramount. Implementing new features in a timely manner is a key metric, and JPMorgan staff have been able to reduce delivery times by 20% in the past two years. 

Product also seems like a hot area to work in at JPMorgan right now. In addition to its many fintech initiatives, product staff are getting notable awards; Zoia Kozakov, a product VP, recently made the Forbes 30 under 30 list this year.

Be Agile

Banks aren't all equally dedicated to agile methodology, but JPMorgan looks like it wants to stand out as a positive agile adopter. More than 90% of teams are implementing agile practices, and more than 60% have changed their success metrics to reflect agile methodology.

Speaking yesterday, Mary Callahan Erdoes, J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management CEO said that, at JPMorgan, "it's not about doing agile, it's about being agile." Researching agile principles and making sure you apply them effectively can help you perform well in those new metrics.

Be Safe

Engineering errors can be costly, and JPMorgan is putting time into both fixing them quickly, and avoiding them altogether. It's highlighted a 12% reduction in incidents without impact, and a 99.98% change success rate as key successes in this metric. 

This focus on the safety and security of its codebase is similar to Stripe, a fintech giant with more than 50 million lines of code. It's founders, the Collison brothers, liken code changes to a progressive allergy test, making small and gradual changes to avoid significant errors. Taking a page out of their book could help achieve your productivity goals in JPMorgan.

How effective are these metrics?

There are a lot of bad metrics when working in software engineering, and few agree on what the good ones are, but generally productivity metrics should be outcome focused. Product delivery times and safety of code are two positive examples of this. Being quick and being safe can sometimes be at odds with each other, however, so it's important to find a balance.

Agile metrics are a bit more confusing. JPMorgan doesn't say exactly what its "improved" agile metrics are, and there are a lot of metrics out there. Generally, those metrics are focused on delivering values for the customer, but it's very easy to get agile wrong. Still, it's better than using lines of code.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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