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The Holy Grail of software development has long been about how to correctly measure productivity. If teams could just predict exactly when a project is at the 50% mark or when it will finish, imagine the cost savings and benefits that would accrue. You could eliminate scope creep, cost overruns, and frustrations. Predictable software development would finally become a reality, right?
The reality is far from it. Research shows that 52% of projects experience scope creep and some suggest that up to 70% of all software projects fail. Little needs to be said for the millions of dollars wasted through delays, setbacks, and poor planning from failed or ill-designed projects.
But what if there was a way to avoid this conundrum? What if there was a way to measure engineering productivity when building software applications while promoting engineer engagement and roadmapping future project needs? What if we could bring together Agile methods and analytics – two things that software developers know a lot about – to achieve predictable results and recommendations on how to best improve your project?
In this article, we unpack our answer to the predictability vs. productivity debate by introducing CodeVoyance: our brand-new reporting platform designed to help customers and teams gain an inside look at how their project is doing.
CodeVoyance is an analytics reporting product and service built upon our established, sound Agile processes and ecosystem that enables our teams to gather the right data to help drive even greater results for our customers. CodeVoyance relies on the firm belief that it is impossible to gather correct project metrics without well-established processes.
The core service elements of CodeVoyance involve focused training and consulting by subject matter experts in order to provide specialized project feedback. This can include selling an engineer’s time to undertake a gap analysis to make enhancement recommendations. Or, it could be a series of high-level consulting engagements on Agile setup and team efficiency to help a team improve performance.
But there is also a product component behind CodeVoyance. Integrant has built a data reporting tool that is based upon a series of integrated tools running in the target environment. The reports are intended to provide new insights on software projects that helps improve productivity and efficiency while reducing the possibility of scope creep and other project disasters.
These points are all summarized in Integrant’s CodeVoyance mission statement as follows:
CodeVoyance safeguards the success of software development projects by empowering stakeholders, software engineering leaders, and teams and individuals with analytics. These analytics provide a clear picture of project status, proactively uncovers roadblocks, and enables data-driven decisions to constantly monitor and improve the health of software projects.
In essence, the twin pillars of CodeVoyance are good data and good processes. These go hand-in-hand: good data is necessary for reports to work and good process is necessary for good data. This all amounts to a virtuous cycle of good software development and a culture of continuous improvement. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; there were plenty of obstacles and challenges we faced in order to arrive at CodeVoyance.
The technology, resourcing, and initiative behind CodeVoyance has grown out of thousands of hours of close observation, engagement, and feedback from working with hundreds of clients over 28 years. Below are some of the major ones.
Customers come to software development teams with a particular business challenge they need to solve. The organization has a finite amount of money and time to invest in an application that can address that challenge. They have expectations about deadlines and deliverables. Any reliable and responsible software development team wishes to overdeliver results on time and in scope. But the reality is that there are many unknowns.
The customer’s requirements may not be entirely clear, or will change altogether, and the engineering team will need time to absorb those shifts. We may lose an engineer and it will take time to ramp up a new one. This is why it’s critically important to always provide the customer with accurate reporting on our project status, along with any obstacles. Doing so will empower them to plan ahead and prepare for any risks or obstacles that may occur.
In a perfect world, everyone works efficiently and is meeting or exceeding expectations continually to get a project done early and under budget. This is a myth. The reality is that projects are challenging, often take more time than anticipated, and engineers of different backgrounds and experience levels will struggle to grasp for solutions of varying kinds.
A developer may need additional support or training in the domain, process, or technologies. But this requires a game plan to help that individual or team face these obstacles when they arise. Proper reporting and critical data gathering can help address these gaps and find solutions right out of the gate.
You’ve probably heard the expression: communication is everything. This holds true for relationships or the next sales deal or even small talk at the park. Communications is especially critical for nailing software projects and managing requirements and expectations. Solving challenges for customer/stakeholders, engineering leaders, and individual engineers all requires plenty of communication.
Without a clear picture of the project status and impediments, it’s impossible to manage expectations with the customer – and they in turn can’t do the same for their internal and external stakeholders/employees. Gathering the right data enables proper communications and builds transparency into your workflows – in ways that increase the likelihood of project success before things even kick off.
One of the major causes of project failures is lack of visibility and transparency between clients and stakeholders. Without adequate data, there is no way to ascertain the gaps or where additional support might be required. Data helps equip managers and software engineering leads with the tools and resources to prepare their teams for success.
Data also helps increase individual accountability and gives everyone a chance to see how they compare with other team members and to understand what are the requirements for moving to the next level. This all rolls up to the client relationship as well. More concrete data can help improve performance evaluations and provide benchmarks for continuous improvement while reducing the risk of misunderstandings and unmet expectations.
The inability to predicts costs and outcomes is a surefire way to doom a project before it starts. Neither having data in place nor understanding the results of your work can be both stressful and demoralizing. But when a team works together towards targeted goals supported by data, then this creates an environment of group synergy in which everyone can view their statistics and milestones and celebrate progress together.
Building software is the key to survival in the digital era – even during a global pandemic. Organizations have had to adjust quickly to the new normal of working across multiple time zones and with distributed teams. Software development is already complicated enough; when engineers are in the same room it can be challenging to see and understand the metrics of a project.
The necessity of remote work has made it all the more critical to understand projects inside and out. Status reports, visibility, and strong communications are more important than ever to ensure successful projects and happy customers.
The mission behind CodeVoyance is to develop a project-based reporting tool that uses data and metrics to close the uncertainty gap and provide better estimates on how long and how much it costs to bring an application to market. The goal is to ensure that CodeVoyance will be useful to the broad range of customer and personas that we’ve worked with over the years.
Technical Account Manager
CodeVoyance can be super useful for account managers who need to provide customers and top leadership with high transparency on project performance. This level of reporting can ensure on-time deliverables, help anticipate client needs, answer product queries in a timely fashion, and assist with product training.
This system is ideal for scrum masters who need to carefully track all team and sprint progressions. But it can also help to drill into individual members’ performance and variances from specific goals. This can provide a framework for identifying gaps as early as possible.
VPs of Sales
These are members of the client’s leadership team who are responsible for the budget. They will be very interested in tracking the numbers and understanding holistically how the project is progressing, if all agreements are being met, and if there are any roadblocks to getting the product delivered on time.
Engineering Project Managers
CodeVoyance can enable PMs to more efficiently monitor their team member efforts, change of estimates and missed log work, code coverage, and quality of work updates. It can also help to track and visualize sprint progressions and variances from achieving specific business goals.
Head of Scrum/Agile Development
These are individuals who oversee individual scrum masters and have a direct interest in the project performance along with any variances, gaps, or bottlenecks.
Individual Software Engineers
The system enables individual engineers to keep organized and to see the bigger picture. Being able to visualize progress at any given time can help everyone stay accountable and on track with sprints and team goals.
CodeVoyance enables effective monitoring and control of agile software projects. It provides transparency across the board on team efficiency and utilization so that the effort and value delivered to the customer are immediately evident. The system can easily discover missing project data and remove the overhead of tracking those elements manually. The result is more accurate project KPIs, better decision-making, lower project costs – all leading ultimately to much happier customers.
Here are some of the concrete ways in which CodeVoyance provides solid value add for engineers, scrum masters, project leads, and customers.
Every software project is a story that can be narrated with data. The more data that is leveraged, the better predictability that emerges. CodeVoyance utilizes a broad range of data points to paint an accurate picture of productivity for each and every sprint that occurs across a project. Here is a snapshot of the many reports the system generates that help to boost productivity, increase predictability, and reduce the risk of cost overruns and dissatisfied customers.
One way to get a global overview of anomalies in the sprint progressions is the “process defects report.” Here, you can see at a glance such things as “Tasks Without Actual Hours” or “Tasks Without Activity.” Knowing these in advance can help teams to address specific gaps or roadblocks that might impact the accuracy of completed work or project estimates.
CodeVoyance provides all key stakeholders the ability to more effectively manage projects. Through transparent reporting, team leads can know who is working on what project at any given time, if they’re logging their hours, and if they’re meeting payable hours. This is an important snapshot from a project management, resourcing, and productivity perspective.
Another important measure of productivity and accountability is the ability to measure the difference between team payable hours versus estimated efforts. It’s important to know, for example times when the team exceeded their expected capacity – which indicates the likelihood that the worked extra hours.
One of the major takeaways from the CodeVoyance reporting is the ability to use data to ensure projects are continually on track. The ability to “know your numbers” means that at any given time there is complete transparency to see what’s happening on any given sprint/project. This empowers project managers to be proactive and to avoid sudden surprises or crises through lack of foresight or planning.
The ability to use data to determine what’s working or not working on a project is invaluable. Similar to machine learning, CodeVoyance helps teams use the right data to make decisions and changes to processes and goals. The ability to track so many different metrics directly increases the ability to be more productive and efficient and to more accurately predict specific business outcomes.
Leveraging large amounts of data through CodeVoyance opens up the possibility for increased automation. This, in turn, can open up new processes and higher levels of engagement between different teams and departments. The ability to reduce the margin of error on a weekly basis also leads to more efficient planning, scalability, and architecture improvements.
At Integrant, we’ve been working for years on how to improve the software development lifecycle with better metrics and KPIs. We believe our new data reporting platform CodeVoyance answers that call. Our innovative platform offers a breakthrough level of visibility, predictability, and accountability that helps teams make better data-driven decisions that result in faster production and better efficiency at lower costs and less risk. We believe the results will be more peace of mind, increased ownership and project control, and happier customers.
Are you looking for someone to bring your next software idea to market? Or perhaps a partner to guide your journey to digital transformation? We can certainly help! Integrant brings together years of deep industry expertise to ensure your project is delivered beyond your expectations. We’re obsessed with making our customers happy; in fact, if you choose to work with us, we’ll stop at nothing to overdeliver on value.
Give us a call today to schedule a demo of our exciting new CodeVoyance platform and to explore some recent case studies. Learn how we can partner together on your next project. Subscribe below or contact us to see the impact we can make for you and your business. We can’t wait to get started
12/12/2023 6:31:52 AM
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Integrant’s Vision is to transform the software development lifecycle through predictable results.