Episode 40

A Call for Qualitative Developer-First Metrics with Terrence Chen


30 July 2021

42 mins 15 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


Georg Link | Nicole Huesman


Terrence Chen



Show Notes

Today, we are excited to have as our guest, Terrence Chen, Software Developer for over 15 years, and the sole creator of GitSense, which focuses on providing software development metrics that both leaders and developers can get behind. Terrence tells us all about GitSense and what led to the creation of it. We learn about Developers First Metrics and the three principles it’s based on, and we find out more about The Hierarchy of Data Needs pyramid as Terrence goes through his funding journey. Download this episode now to find out much more, and don’t forget to subscribe for free to this podcast and share this podcast with your friends and colleagues.

[00:02:08] Terrence shares his background and what led to the creation of GitSense.

[00:03:04] We learn what motivates Terrence to get up in the morning, how he thinks about metrics, and he tells us about Developers First Metrics and explains the three principles.

[00:08:09] Georg asks Terrence to talk more about the How and Why of the three principles, and the importance of context matters.

[00:14:50] Nicole asks Terrence how we measure the quality of contributions, even outside of code, since there are so many different skillsets and contributions coming in so many different forms.

[00:18:31] Georg asks Terrence if he has built other things in GitSense that he is super proud of that we can learn from, and hopefully get to see if other tools are being adopted as well. We learn more about a pyramid that became famous in the data science world called, The Hierarchy of Data Needs.

[00:24:48] Terrence explains more about the pyramid and the ability to clean and pre-process the data.

[00:26:20] Nicole asks Terrence to talk more about how he addresses not using data nefariously and ensuring that it is used for good and not guarding against not using it.

[00:35:27] Georg shares some thoughts on Terrence’s comments he made about creating a connections graph that shows open source contributions.

[00:37:14] Find out where you can connect with Terrence online.

Adds (Picks) of the week

  • [00:37:56] Georg’s pick is the app for learning languages, Duolingo.
  • [00:38:45] Nicole’s pick is watching the movie, _A League of Their Own, _with her son.
  • [00:39:30] Terrence’s pick is to talk, learn new things, and to share what he’s learned.


[00:04:16] “Which is why I’m very much focused on what I call a Developer First Metrics.

Honestly, it’s based on three principles and I would love CHAOSS and others to adopt it. Developers First Metrics is pretty much can I answer quickly how and why? So, if you’re going to use metrics make sure you can explain how and why. The second aspect of developer metrics is, make sure it’s useful. Can a developer use developer metrics on a day-to-day basis, because it’s one thing to use it as organization, and it’s another thing to use it to judge developers, and it’s another thing to have a tool that actually, this is what I can use on a day-to-day basis as a developer. That’s the second principle. And the third principle honestly is transparency, like how easily can I verify that these numbers are correct.”


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