10 Key Takeaways from the 2024 State of Engineering Management Report
June 18, 2024

Andrew Lau
Jellyfish

Earlier this year, Jellyfish conducted a study examining the evolution of how engineering teams organize, measure, and staff their work — and the impact of generative AI coding tools. The company surveyed more than 600 full-time professionals in engineering, including individual contributors, managers, and executives.

The 2024 State of Engineering Management Report reveals stark differences in the experiences of front-line engineers and their leaders, as well as varying predictions for how AI will shape engineering organizations.

Here are 10 key takeaways from the report:

1. Engineers are now strategic partners

According to the research, engineers — long expected to take orders and build products without shaping the business as a whole — are now strategic partners. Overall, 90% of respondents said their engineering team helps inform business strategy, 94% said engineering helps the business grow, and 95% said engineering helps the business work more efficiently. Engineers are driving new opportunities for expansion and efficiency across the board.

2. 65% of all respondents experienced burnout in the past year

The problem was particularly acute for short-staffed engineers and leaders overseeing large organizations. Of respondents at companies with more than 500 people in their engineering organization, 85% of managers and 92% of executives reported experiencing burnout. A similar number (85%) of engineers who are part of a team of less than 10 engineers said the same.

3. 60% of engineering managers and executives report a shortage of qualified candidates in the market for engineering roles

Organizations looking to add headcount may find fewer candidates than expected — even after widespread layoffs in tech.

4. 61% of engineering organizations have embraced AI

94% of AI users said that the integration of AI positively influenced their team's productivity, 81% said AI increases the quality of code, and 84% said using AI frees up time to focus on high-value activities.

5. There's a disconnect between leadership and front-line workers on AI

76% of executives believe their team has embraced AI, while only 52% of engineers say the same. It's no wonder they aren't on the same page — there's no good way to measure and manage AI adoption in engineering today, never mind impact.

6. Not everyone is onboard with AI

Of the non-AI users, 48% said their team had not adopted the technology due to concerns about security, 34% said the reason was a lack of expertise, and 24% said budget constraints had prevented them from using AI. Notably, 19% of executives who had not embraced the technology cited their belief that AI was a gimmick; just 3% of engineers and managers shared that opinion.

7. Engineers value quality metrics more than any other

Six in 10 respondents (62%) named quality metrics — such as measuring defects — essential in evaluating their team's effectiveness. Quality metrics was the top choice across every role, engineering team size, and annual recurring revenue segment.

8. Enterprises lack visibility into projects

It's common sense that leaders need to keep track of what their teams are working on; however, 31% of respondents said their team lacks sufficient visibility into project status. The problem is especially pertinent for executives, for whom the figure rises to 36%. In organizations with more than 500 engineers, a stunning 57% of execs report a lack of visibility into project status.

9. Efficiency and productivity are slipping for engineering teams, according to engineers, managers, and executives

37% of respondents believe three key areas of performance — efficiency, predictability and productivity — have all decreased on their team in the past year. Three in 10 respondents (31%) felt that accountability has decreased.

10. Engineers are still optimistic about the future

Despite these views on productivity, respondents are optimistic as they look towards 2024 and beyond. More than half (56%) expect the headcount in their department to increase over the next 12 months, and a full 78% expect their company's revenue to increase over the same period.

Andrew Lau is CEO and Co-Founder of Jellyfish
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