Pillars of Engineering Management: How Foundational Engineering Practices Drive Business Success

The engineering industry is constantly evolving. Staying ahead of the curve requires a deep understanding of emerging trends and technologies. In the recently launched The 2023 State of Engineering Management Report, Jellyfish uncovered several key findings in regards to where engineering teams are investing their time, what challenges teams are facing on an operational level, and notable differences between underperforming and overachieving teams. The report underscores the importance of efficiency, engineering leadership, business alignment, and data-driven decision-making. Here’s our take on the results.

Efficiency, a key theme of the report, characterizes a business’s ability to optimize processes and reduce waste. In a manner unseen before, businesses are working to streamline workflows and minimize the number of steps required to complete a task to achieve faster turnaround times, reduce costs, and improve overall productivity. Businesses must embrace efficiency to deliver products and services to market more quickly, to create a major competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business environment.

Pillar 1: Prioritization and Delivery Management

The Trend

Engineering leadership is another key area of focus highlighted in the report. Effective leadership can drive innovation, inspire collaboration, and help teams to achieve their full potential. By providing clear direction, setting goals, and empowering teams, engineering leaders can create a culture of excellence that drives business outcomes.

The Problem

Engineering leaders commonly question the value they are driving from investments or aren’t satisfied with their delivery organization. Leaders must be proactive about aligning work around value and business outcomes. In some cases, this may require implementing a new operating model or reorganization of the teams to plan, prioritize and implement work.


45% of Engineering leadership cited that their biggest challenge is making sure everyone is focused on the highest priority work


Key Strategies to Employ

Templates_Medium_black_coralWhile visibility has improved in recent years, it continues to be a key challenge for engineering leaders. There is still much work to be done to ensure leadership is continually aware of certain types of work that are taking time away from established priorities. Here are 3 rules for every engineering leader to increase transparency and build trust and confidence in their teams:

  1. Set clear priorities and goals: Make sure that your team knows what they are working towards and what success looks like.
  2. Foster collaboration and traceability: Consider uniting, consolidating or integrating your tech stack for the traceability to identify problem areas.
  3. Empower team with learning: Forget failing fast, learn fast instead, and encourage teams to do the same by continually leveraging performance metrics and providing learning and enablement opportunities where necessary. Teams can benchmark themselves against performance metrics, and the introduction of performance metrics, when done correctly, can be a helpful way to identify areas of opportunity and growth. Teams mustn’t fixate on one metric, instead employing a balanced approach to metrics, where metrics play checks and balances against each other (ex: speed vs quality).

Pillar 2: Business Alignment

The Trend

Business alignment is another critical component of engineering success. Aligning engineering goals with broader business objectives can help ensure that all efforts are focused on achieving key outcomes. This alignment can help businesses to optimize investments, allocate resources effectively, and ultimately drive better business results.

The Problem

We commonly see that business and engineering teams are out of sync and teams across the board are riddled with issues related to governance and/or gaps in maturity of practice. Misalignment among teams and departments often results in misunderstanding of work, conflicting goals, lack of productivity, and wasted time and effort. If you can achieve better alignment, you can tune business impact, increase operational efficiency, and drive the right outcomes faster.

Key Strategies to Employ

Software development is complex, but it’s important to build towards a holistic view of how engineering drives value. Build toward a solution that increases operational efficiency, team effectiveness, alignment, and transparency of work. Aligning the business around value helps teams collaborate more effectively and change to the needs of the business.

Pillar 3: Data-driven Decision Making

The Trend

Data-driven decision-making is essential to both engineering leadership and business alignment. It is truly the glue that binds them for business impact. By collecting and analyzing data, businesses can gain deep insights into customer behavior, market trends, and detailed business performance. These insights can be used to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and drive better business outcomes.

The Problem

It’s hard to fix what you can’t see, so that leaves organizations hyper-focused on trying to move faster, plan faster, develop faster, release faster and at scale. But, as you move faster, people, process, and technology break down. We see incomplete or missing estimates, missing context, and teams working on things not deemed a priority. This kind of breakdown points directly to data hygiene and governance issues.


Data-driven teams who leveraged Engineering Management Platforms (EMPs) saw significant improvements across the board, including a 15% increase in throughput, 17% decrease in cycle time, and a 9% increase in collaboration.


Key Strategies to Employ

For better or worse, every organization has a process and technology flow that brings them from an idea to customer value. This is called a value stream. When it is optimized through process refinement, integration, and waste reduction, value flows faster. A key component in doing so is applying data to the value stream. Cprime’s analytics and data management services allow businesses to collect, analyze, and use data to make informed decisions. By leveraging data to drive decision-making, businesses can identify areas for improvement and ultimately achieve better outcomes.

Engineering Leadership in 2023

Ultimately, the key findings from the report all point towards a singular goal: driving better business outcomes through effective engineering management practices. As businesses continue to navigate an ever-evolving landscape of technology modernization and digital transformation, the need for reliable solutions integrators has become increasingly important. A solutions integrator like Cprime can help streamline operations, optimize processes, and achieve more lofty business goals.

About Jellyfish

Jellyfish is the leading Engineering Management Platform that enables engineering teams to align their work with strategic business objectives. By analyzing engineering signals and contextual business data, Jellyfish provides complete visibility into engineering organizations, the work they do, and how they operate. Companies like Mastercard, Priceline, Zoominfo, and Pagerduty use Jellyfish to maximize the business impact of engineering.

For more information about us, visit jellyfish.co

Jellyfish 2023 State of Engineering Management Report

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Monte Montoya, Vice President, Product & Corporate Growth
Monte Montoya, Vice President, Product & Corporate Growth