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The SPACE Framework for Developer Productivity

What is the SPACE Framework?

The Space Framework is a comprehensive approach to software engineering that aims to improve developer productivity and overall team performance. With its acronym representing five essential elements – Satisfaction & Wellbeing, Performance, Activity, Communication & Collaboration, and Efficiency & Flow – the Space Framework provides a holistic strategy for optimizing the way engineering teams work together.

There is no single “correct” list of productivity metrics that work across all companies. Every company has its unique values, challenges, and approach to managing its engineering teams. That’s why it was a breath of fresh air when GitHub, The University of Victoria, and Microsoft Research released the result of their collaborative efforts and announced the SPACE Framework. If you haven’t checked out the original publication, take some time to do so; it’s a must-read for engineering leaders. 

Below, we’ll break down each section of the SPACE framework:

The 5 Dimensions of the Space Framework

Satisfaction And Well-being

At its core, the “S” in SPACE emphasizes the importance of satisfaction and wellbeing in the workplace. This crucial aspect acknowledges that developers’ happiness and welfare directly impact their productivity levels and overall job performance. By focusing on employees’ morale and mental health, organizations can foster a positive working environment, ultimately leading to higher quality software development output.


The “P” component of SPACE represents performance. A key goal for any software engineering team is to consistently produce high-quality work within specified timeframes. By setting clear expectations regarding performance metrics and KPIs – companies can create a culture of excellence where everyone strives to deliver their best work.

The Performance dimension is the one that considers if work is driving desired business outcomes. Additionally, what your team is working on influences the metrics of the other dimensions in a similar way that Satisfaction influences other dimensions. Depending on what your team is working on, the individual, team, and system metrics across all five dimensions will vary week over week, month over month, or quarter over quarter. 


With “A” standing for activity, this element highlights the value of tracking various tasks undertaken by developers throughout each project phase. By monitoring daily activities like coding, testing, or resolving issues – managers gain valuable insights into team member workload distributions as well as areas requiring improvement or support.

Activity plays a crucial role in determining how tasks are carried out within a particular project. In essence, it pertains to all actions performed by team members involved in software development – from planning and design to implementation and testing. By closely monitoring these activities, engineers can identify potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies that may hinder progress or result in suboptimal outcomes.

Analyzing activities within the context of a project allows developers to ensure that resources are allocated optimally and that established timelines are adhered to. Moreover, recognizing dependencies between different tasks and understanding their impact on overall project performance is vital for maintaining smooth workflows and avoiding costly delays. This heightened awareness enables teams to effectively distribute responsibilities among themselves while keeping a pulse on progress across all facets of development.

Tracking activities sheds light on any discrepancies between projected estimations and actual efforts expended during development. Such insights can prove instrumental in refining future planning endeavors and bolstering productivity. 

Communication And Collaboration

Communication and collaboration are represented by the letter “C” in SPACE. These factors are critical in ensuring streamlined workflows across different departments within an organization. With efficient communication channels and collaborative practices in place – such as using shared documents or implementing agile methodologies – teams can quickly address obstacles or bottlenecks while maintaining transparency among stakeholders.

Communication and Collaboration lie at the heart of successful teams working together to create innovative solutions for users. Effective communication ensures transparency between team members while collaboration encourages sharing ideas, learning from each other’s expertise, overcoming challenges collectively, and ultimately delivering high-quality products.

Efficiency And Flow

Finally, “E” underscores efficiency and flow as integral components of successful software engineering endeavors. Incorporating lean principles helps eliminate waste from processes while promoting continuous integration (CI) further enhances workflow efficiency. Moreover, establishing a state of flow where developers can deeply focus on their tasks without interruptions or distractions contributes to higher productivity levels.

Efficiency and Flow deals with streamlining processes within the software development lifecycle to maximize productivity while minimizing waste. By fostering an environment where resources are used judiciously and tasks are completed promptly, developers can achieve superior results at faster rates – ultimately leading to improved overall project outcomes. 

Benefits of The SPACE Framework

A deeper understanding of these benefits can help organizations maximize the potential offered by SPACE framework engineering in achieving their strategic goals. Business alignment is an essential component for any organization aiming for growth and success. The benefits of the SPACE framework directly contribute to this critical aspect by providing a clear structure that facilitates the identification and prioritization of key objectives. 

This framework enables businesses to align their resources, processes, and strategic goals more effectively, which ultimately leads to increased efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, it fosters a culture of collaboration within teams as each member becomes aware of their role in contributing to the overall success of the organization. 

People management plays an important role in ensuring the efficacy of any project or endeavor. The benefits of a SPACE framework extend to this domain by promoting open communication among team members and fostering a sense of shared responsibility towards common goals.

This approach empowers employees to be more proactive in identifying potential issues or bottlenecks early on in the process, thereby reducing risks associated with delays or failures. 

Moreover, effective people management strategies within a robust SPACE framework create an environment conducive to continuous learning and development. This encourages employees to invest time and effort in honing their skills and knowledge base, which often results in higher performance levels across the board. 

Engineering execution is another critical area where the benefits of a SPACE framework become evident. By breaking down complex tasks into smaller components that can be addressed individually, this methodology streamlines processes involved in design, construction, testing, deployment, maintenance, and upgrades. 

As part of this systematic approach to engineering projects, organizations employing a SPACE framework are able to establish clear milestones along with realistic deadlines for each stage. This helps ensure timely completion while minimizing risk factors associated with cost overruns or technical difficulties that may arise due to unforeseen circumstances. 

The bottom line, we highly recommend engineering leaders begin slowly adopting the SPACE framework within their teams while also strongly considering prioritizing Performance to ensure engineering alignment to your business. But getting started and forming your metrics strategy even with this new guidance is a daunting task.

Read our blog post to learn more about why the SPACE framework is important, how to get started with the space framework, or request a demo to learn how Jellyfish can help provide a metrics baseline for organizations getting started in SPACE.