Frequently Asked Questions – Plandek Get started

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked
questions

Am I too early in my Agile journey to make use of Plandek?

Plandek is ideal for organisations at any stage of maturity, but especially those just starting out. Having a baseline is critical for any team looking to demonstrate progress.

The more important question is how to use Plandek. Teams at an early phase of agile adoption will focus on a simple set of metrics to highlight and track improvements over time (e.g. Cycle Time). As they advance, insights will reach deeper into specific behaviours and across different phases of your delivery lifecycle to enrich your understanding of how you deliver and where further opportunities lie to improve.

We have a complex systems architecture and different workflows – will Plandek work?

Plandek has been architected specifically to address scale and complexity. You can connect all of your on-prem and/or cloud instances of tools, as well as a combination of those tools (e.g. Plandek can concurrently pull data from multiple on-prem and cloud instances of Jira, Azure, Bitbucket, Github, and many more).

Once ingested, data is standardised in Plandek so that regardless of the source, the data is in order to handle a diverse set of workflows, statuses, issue types, and so on, and can be normalised so that you can look across a broad ecosystem of diverse configurations but the data displays in a simple, user-friendly way.

Do you offer help to select metrics and drive improvement over time?

Yes - we provide our Plandek Enterprise customers with all the help that they need! Our Customer Success Team can provide our proprietary Insight-driven Agile Delivery© (IDAD) framework to help you select a hierarchy of meaningful metrics and to embed their use throughout your delivery capability - in order to drive real performance improvement over time.

Our Customer Success Team can provide our proprietary Insight-driven Agile Delivery© (IDAD) framework to help you select a hierarchy of meaningful metrics and to embed their use throughout your delivery capability - in order to drive real performance improvement over time.

What data does Plandek store?

Data security is critical for all our clients and we have architected Plandek from the ground up to be secure:

- Plandek’s key data sources are: workflow management tools (e.g. Jira); code repos. (e.g. Git); and CI/CD tools (e.g. Jenkins)

- Plandek only stores metadata about the development process and avoids storage of data which may hold sensitive IP (as such Plandek does NOT store data such as ticket descriptions, source code, commit messages, attachments or comments). Examples of metadata stored include transitions of issues, the time of commits and pull requests

- All access to your toolsets are performed over encrypted connections. Plandek uses read-only accounts and will never change data in the source systems.

- All access credentials which are held are encrypted with Google Key Management Service, giving us the ability to monitor decryptions, revoke and rotate keys regularly.

You can learn more about our commitment to your data security here: https://plandek.com/privacy-policy/

Are metrics meaningful when aggregated across teams?

Plandek enables you to select metrics that are very powerful when aggregated across your delivery organisation. We refer to these as ‘North Star’ metrics that can be adopted by technology leadership as the key measures around which they would like the entire delivery organisation to align. Examples might include Lead Time to Value, Deployment Frequency, Flow Efficiency etc.

Plandek also enables you to track a set of determinant metrics at team level, that drive improvement in your selected ‘North Star’ metrics, so that you improve rapidly over time.

Will the metrics be ‘gamed’ by teams and therefore create unintended outcomes?

In most cases, Plandek prevents ‘gamification’ by surfacing a dashboard of inter-related metrics that quickly show if gamification is taking place. In addition, Plandek’s ‘balanced scorecard’ approach ensures that an improvement in one metric does not adversely affect another (e.g. an increase in velocity resulting in a decrease in quality).

However, we find that in some cases gamification indeed encourages the right behaviours from teams and individuals (e.g. commit frequency). With these metrics in particular, gaming the metrics ultimately drives the desired effect.

It is important to add that Plandek is an analytics tool for use within technology by Team Leads and Managers who remain close to their teams. Analytics are a complement to, and not a substitute for, effective human relationship management.

Our use of Jira is inconsistent, so how will we get meaningful data from it?

We have not come across a client yet that would call their use of Jira ‘perfect’.

All organisations have teams and individuals who may not use Jira in the way it is intended. Nevertheless, Plandek can still surface critical insights, as well as show immediately where any poor Jira use may reside – therefore enabling you to establish a positive loop of improved Jira use, better analytics and improved performance.

Relating to the question above, should we focus on improving our Jira usage before starting with Plandek?

Plandek can help you improve the consistency of your Jira use, as well as engineering process quality more generally, but you certainly don’t have to only focus on improving your use from the start. Some metrics may not provide as deep of insights until use improves, but many of our new clients find that the problem is not as prolific as they first feared. For example, with Cycle Time, you will still be able to calculate start of development to “done” to see the total time, but perhaps the granularity of the stages between start and end will be more limited until the teams improve use and perhaps add new statuses worth measuring.

Plandek has a “Speeding Tickets” metric which enables you to see where Jira statuses are not being updated in real time. This is a great example of a metric which helps you understand and improve the team’s ticket management.

Does Plandek offer value if we don’t want to look at metrics at the individual engineer level?

Plandek has filters to enable you to look at metrics at whatever level suits – individual, squad, team, product, Release Train etc.

Indeed, Plandek is focused on improving the end-to-end efficiency of your delivery process – and less focused on analysing individual performance. We know empirically that the biggest improvements in velocity, quality and predictability arise from better management across your teams and delivery process - rather than through scrutiny of individuals.