White Papers

Whitepaper: Delivery Manager Blind Spots

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

This is part of a series of abridged white papers intended as quick reference sources for busy managers interested in the subject matter and faced with limited time to absorb lengthy research documentation.

It is based on research undertaken by Plandek drawn from anonymised data observed across a range of clients – from small start ups to large corporates with large scale, distributed Agile teams.

Purpose of this Paper

The analysis presented below is focused on the development process and is particularly relevant for Scrum Agile environments.  It reflects our analysis of a wide range of successful and (less successful) Agile projects where we have reviewed whether the metrics that actually drive productivity within teams are easily visible to Delivery Managers in real time.  

We have used Plandek to identify the determinant variables within development teams, which correlate most closely with project success or failure.  We have grouped these variables into “the Big Six” levers that we can conclusively say drive project productivity and timing. These are the metrics that are vital for Delivery Managers to be able to track within and across teams in real time.

However, the research shows just how difficult it is for Delivery Managers to see these metrics (accurately) in real time.  We observe how this lack of visibility becomes more acute as Agile environments scale with multiple scrum teams, locations, system instances, locations and employee types (permanent and contractors).

The Plandek platform is a solution to this problem.  It is used to track these metrics accurately in real time across all teams – and set actionable goals to actively manage them throughout the duration of an Agile project or phase.

Nature of the Analysis

The proprietary analysis is based on experience of working with clients and analysing anonymised data from strongly performing and poorly performing Agile software development projects observed between January 2017 and September 2018.

The Plandek dashboard surfaces over 120 metrics at project, team and individual level across the complete history of a project.  As per Figure 1 overleaf, Plandek collects data from four key sources:

  1. The complete history of tickets residing within workflow management tools (Jira)
  2. Meta-data from code repositories to review how code has been committed
  3. Code quality tools
  4. Time trackers to show resource time (and cost) allocation

Plandek is therefore focused specifically on the activity of development teams and related QA functions. Plandek does not currently analyse data from DevOps activity where completed code is integrated and deployed to a live environment.  As a result, the scope of this Whitepaper, is the software development stage of the process only, excluding pre-development and post-development (integration and deployment).

The data collected within the Plandek tool are analysed to look for the underlying drivers of productivity and predictors of future problems (early warning signs).  Problem projects are defined as projects with rapidly declining velocity, late delivery and unplanned overspend.

All the metrics discussed are easily viewable within the Plandek analytics platform. Plandek currently integrates with the Atlassian stack – the analysis is therefore focused around companies using Jira as their principle workflow management tool.

Read the complete whitepaper here

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