How Engineering Success and the Right Metrics Helped Preply Decrease Lead Time From 40 to 15 Hours

The Background

Year Founded
2012
Industry
Online Education
Engineers
100+
Funding
More than $100M in funding

Highlights

  • Reduced Lead Time from 40 to 15 hours in two months.
  • Started to ship faster without sacrificing quality.
  • Improved communication within the team.
  • Created better understanding from developers of their business impact
  • Reduced friction between EngOrg and Management.

About Preply

Preply is a global language learning marketplace, connecting 50,000+ tutors with millions of learners from all over the world. Since the company launched in 2012, students have signed up for more than 15 million lessons. The engineering organization has grown from a team of 20 to more than 100 throughout its journey, and the company has received over $100M in funding.

The Challenge

The start-up mindset is a crucial part of Preply's culture. This means delivering new features as fast as possible for the engineering organization.

It was in 2021 when Preply's engineering leaders learned about the benefits of measuring DORA metrics to improve their performance. The first step was to understand where they stood.

"By the beginning of 2022, we were measuring three DORA metrics, but Lead Time was not one of them. It turns out it was crucial for us to understand where we were on this metric, so we made it our main goal to start measuring, understanding, and eventually improving it." Igor Kasianov - Head of Platform

Enters Athenian!

Preply chose Athenian as their partner because of the platform's rich interface, the number and quality of metrics provided, and the help provided by Engineering Success with implementing, understanding, and improving those metrics.

And soon they saw that their Lead Time was 40 hours.

"Engineering Success guided us by asking the right questions and pointing us in the right direction to improve the team's performance and the communication between the EngOrg and management." Igor Kasianov - Head of Platform

The Solution

With the support from Engineering Success and the focus on the right metric, the organization set the goal of reducing its Lead Time to 24 hours in three months without sacrificing the quality of the work.

At Athenian it's possible to see the data for each stage of the Delivery Pipeline and filter by teams, repositories, timeline, and more. Because of this break down, Preply could check which teams were impacting the overall Lead Time the most and which stage was being more affected.

More than that, the organization realized that the teams were working in silos, which could be why Lead Time was so high. 

After the analysis, they decided to implement two main process changes:

  • Share knowledge within the teams: team leads encouraged engineers to start sharing notes on how they were dealing with issues and solving problems. The goal was to create awareness about the end goal (reduce Lead Time) and empower them to think of what they could do to help improve it. With Athenian's "Share View" feature, developers could easily share their dashboards to drive better conversations.
  • Share progress with the whole organization: the EngOrg started sharing progress on their initiatives with the entire company. The goal was to gain more support and explain where and how they were spending their efforts. And with Athenian, they could report on these changes with substantiated data.
"The conversations were about finding the blockers for engineers and eliminating them, which helped developers understand that it was not about sacrificing quality over speed and that we could push for faster shipping." Igor Kasianov - Head of Platform

With Athenian, Preply created an action plan thanks to the platform's visibility. The access to the metrics enabled the organization to focus on what mattered to achieve its goals. Developers started to understand they could improve Lead Time with no fear of harming code quality.

The Impact

Preply's results were impressive: they managed to blow up their goal and reduce Lead Time to 15 hours in only two months.

"Having an experienced team at Athenian to help us through this journey was crucial to make the improvements we made."  Igor Kasianov - Head of Platform

The impact was seen all across the company:

  • The EngOrg can now release more features in less time without sacrificing quality.
  • Developers understand what they must do to improve and its impact on the overall business.
  • Communication with management is now much more efficient.