My career in IT has spanned several roles from software testing to business analysis and managing teams. As a Test Manager and also a Delivery Manager I have experienced so many different variations of “reporting” for Senior Managers, at all levels from reporting for a large Monthly Ops pack to team level reporting. Whatever the level of reporting, the same issues arise, including the main one: the information requested is not available at the click of a button.
The problem: a cliff-edge of motivation to report
So immediately when delivery managers are faced with a complex situation like this, motivation to get these reports ready quickly falls off a cliff because they might need to take screenshots, export data, add it to a spreadsheet… the list is endless. A lot of the time the request to report is too generic and doesn’t take into account how a team might work (e.g. a support based team working on fixing bugs being asked to generate the same report as a product based feature team working on well defined requirements with an agreed estimate) so again the interest in this request just wanes.
Reporting commentary: a laborious task
Then there is the commentary; and whilst I am a firm believer of providing context to the reporting, this can also be a laborious task. But, if the data was easy to get hold of, clear and self explanatory (to some extent), then that small amount of time needed to put some context around the data is immediately valuable to whoever is creating the report.
The two things together paint a rich picture of the facts and we all know that any report or metric is only as good as the information that is put into the tool or application, but that’s the problem delivery managers have always struggled to solve…how can you get access to the actual data rather than trying to recreate it in another way, shape or form?
A clear path to easy reporting
Once users sign up for Plandek, we often get feedback that the first noticeable thing is how useful the integration capability is. If, for example, you were to report on velocity, burn downs, sprint target completion every day, you would be able to link the velocity changes to the time it takes my engineers to review a PR. This can then spark up a conversation with an Engineering Manager to see if there needs to be a review of the PR review process because perhaps velocity is slowly decreasing. Or users can see what the actual lead time of a feature is by incorporating the deployment data with Jira (or Azure) data.
Another huge benefit is being able to tailor the view of data depending on the audience. Rather than exporting data out of a tool into a spreadsheet or a powerpoint slide, users can create a dedicated view for that stakeholder that means something to them. It’s even possible to give them access to Plandek so they can have a look whenever they want and they don’t have to wait for delivery managers to be available to meet with them, or reply to an email request.
An example: ticket flow
I’m a big fan of Scrum and one of my favourite metrics is ticket (or story point) flow. I use this for the current sprint but also as a discussion topic for retros by looking at the sprint that has just finished, as I can see if there are bottlenecks in the process as it provides a daily breakdown of the flow. I can then use that as a conversation topic to see if the team can create actions to improve the flow of stories which will then lead to an increase in cycle time and ultimately customer lead time to value.