Creating a survey

Improve developer experience by collecting insights directly from your engineers at scale. Identify patterns and turn them into actions.

Only Swarmia users with the Admin role can create and manage surveys.

To start creating an engineering survey, navigate to the Surveys page from the sidebar and click Create survey.

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Your progress is automatically saved as a draft so you can exit the view and resume later.

Give the survey a name, which will also be visible to the respondents.

Questions

Select the questions to include in the survey. Choose from Swarmia's 32 questions, carefully crafted in collaboration with experts in psychometrics. They are all framed as statements, and the respondents answer them on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. You'll see the estimated time to complete based on your selections.

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In addition to the questions you select, the survey will also include an option for the respondents to add open comments at the end.

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Teams and schedule

On the next tab, select the teams for which the survey will be available.

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You can't update the audience after launching the survey. Changes to your team structure or memberships won't be reflected in the survey. For example, if you add someone to one of the selected teams when the survey is live, that user won't be included in the survey.

Choose an end date for the survey. When it's reached, the survey will close for responses, and the results will become available to admins.

The start date can't be changed. The survey will go live immediately when you launch it.

Preview

Click Preview to see how the respondents will see the survey.preview-survey-button

A popup opens, showing the preview with your latest selections. (You can respond as if you belong to any team, but your submission won't be recorded.)

Launching the survey

Click Launch survey when you're ready to go live. The survey is open for responses immediately.

To distribute the survey, click Copy link to get a link you can send to your teams.

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Users in the audience will also see a notification banner on their Swarmia home page:

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Introducing the survey to your team

Communication with your team is important to ensure you get a good response rate and valid results that reliably represent the audience. When introducing the survey to your team, we advise mentioning at least the following:

  • Why you're running the survey
  • When and how to respond
  • How the responses will be used

Here's a template you can use as a baseline:

👋 Hi team,

We’re launching a survey to understand how to improve our developer experience and become a more effective engineering organization. This is your chance to voice concerns and suggest improvements.

I’m asking you to take [estimated time to complete] for this. It’s very important that everyone responds so we can get a full picture of how we’re doing.

The survey runs on the Swarmia platform. Your ratings will be confidentially linked to your team only. You can also write comments under your name.

The form is already open, and you’ll have until [end date & time] to respond. After that, we’ll share the results with you. Based on them, we’ll define actions to take together.

Respond here 👉 [response link]

Thanks! 🙏

👉 We recommend keeping an eye on the participation numbers and reminding people to respond if necessary.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I run developer surveys?

You need data to make the most informed decisions for improving your engineering effectiveness. To get the full picture, you can't rely only on system metrics from sources like version control systems or issue trackers. Surveys help you form a comprehensive understanding of how your developers perceive their work. They also allow engineers to voice their frustrations, suggest improvements, and feel heard.

How are developer surveys different from employee engagement surveys?

Employee engagement surveys are a generic way to measure job satisfaction and identify areas for improvement, usually at the company level. Swarmia's developer surveys are purpose-built for engineers with questions about topics like code reviews, automated tests, and technical debt.

Instead of just informing the human resources department and executives, they're a resource for the engineering organization and teams to address hands-on problems autonomously. The engineers can describe challenges in technical terms and get understood.

We recommend running developer surveys alongside any engagement surveys in your company. If you're concerned about overlap between the two, you can disable some or all the questions under Direction, Collaboration and Culture.

Can I define custom questions?

Custom questions are not available yet. However, we recognize that every organization is different, so we’ll introduce custom questions soon.

How are people notified about the survey?

Respondents can access the survey via a link you send them. They will also see a banner on their Swarmia home page. Automatic Slack reminders are coming soon.