How Amenitiz Quantified the Impact of Its Engineering Organization and Empowered Devs to be Autonomous

The Background

Year Founded
2017
Industry
SaaS
Engineers
25+
Funding
More than $34M in funding

Highlights

  • Quantified the impact of decisions
  • Reduced Cycle Time and Merge Time
  • Increased Release Frequency to 11x a day
  • Empowered engineers to be autonomous and drive changes

About Amenitiz

Amenitiz is a Property Management System company in the hospitality industry. Its platform was built for vacation property owners to manage every aspect of their property efficiently and effectively with one complete tool. Its Engineering Organization has 25 developers, and the company has raised more than $34M in funding.

The Challenge

Back in 2021, Amenitiz was going through a change in its engineering organization. Engineers were taking a lot of time to deploy to production. Failing tests were blocking everyone consistently. And they couldn't understand why they had so many flaky tests.

The VP of Engineering, Fredéric Cerdan, decided to try something new and added a QA Engineer to one of his three teams. The objective was to improve end-to-end testing and, consequently, the Time to Deploy. 

And it worked. They delivered a 1-year roadmap in 6 months. 

But when asked by the board to explain why it worked and how they did it, they were stuck. The impact was clear. But they couldn't tie its success to the decisions. There was no data to compare how it was before to how it became after.

"We did a lot of changes and ended up with great results. But we didn't know how to explain why it worked. How could we justify doing it again and applying it to other teams? We needed to quantify the impact." Fredéric Cerdan, VP of Engineering

Enters Athenian!

Amenitiz chose Athenian because of how fast and easy it was to plug it into the organization. Through a single link, they integrated their Github and Jira accounts, and within a few minutes, they had access to the data. They could instantly see the metrics on the dashboard and use the filters to share their views with everyone.

Ultimately, they understood the tool brought visibility into their past and current situation to be able to trigger the proper discussions to improve.

The Solution

After introducing Athenian, the EngOrg could see the impact in numbers. They were able to compare how the team with the QA Engineer performed before and after the hiring and put it side by side with other teams' performance.

This team didn't depend on a different team to run end-to-end tests. They were running tests by themselves, which positively affected Cycle Time, down by 13%, Time to Merge, by 14%, and the number of times they were deploying which increased from 6 to 11 times a day. 

Before, this data was not visible, even though something had clearly improved. The EngOrg finally had the visibility they lacked and could justify replicating the approach with other teams. Every squad would have a QA Engineer.

The Impact

Amenitiz' EngOrg changed once again. They established a new squad composition thanks to the visibility provided by Athenian. And the company continued to improve its delivery with a better process.

A more significant change occurred in the mindset of engineers. After understanding and quantifying their work's impact on the whole organization, team leads and developers started driving more conversations about how to improve autonomously. 

Developers saw, for example, that the Time to Review was high. It triggered the question of why that was the case. At first, they challenged the PR sizes. But soon they realized that the issue was in the number of reviewers. There was only 5 people doing reviews. If one of them was on vacation, for example, it reduced the bandwidth for reviews, increasing the Time to Review.

"The more we discussed, the more we realized that the solution was completely different from our first thought. Our bottleneck was not the size of PRs, but the number of reviewers. Now we're working on this bottleneck to improve our Time to Review." Fredéric Cerdan, VP of Engineering

The culture and mindset shifted from a technical-oriented to an engineering-team mindset. From an individual-writing-code-capability to team-oriented. The teams started to think more about processes and organization: how people act as a team, why a team is performing better than the other, and what they can they do to improve teams.