Pinpoint Engineering

The TL;DR from my session on AI and EngOps at AIDe...

This morning I had the opportunity to chat with software engineers and data scientists at the AI Dev World Conference on a topic I just happen to be v...

Say vs. Do: how work really moves from start to finish

If you're like us, you've got a reasonably well-documented expectation for how your engineering should get done. Setting aside the particular methods of a team (agile, kanban, etc.), your work ideally moves from idea to deployment in as straight a line as possible.

That's the textbook answer, anyway. But out in the wilds of development, how is your work actually moving?

Using ourselves as customer zero, we set about finding out. Pinpoint's Issue Workflow view analyzes the raw activity data of actual work as it occurs (derived from Jira, in our case), and converts that raw activity into an interactive, diagnostic graph.

Looking first at our epics, here's what Issue Workflow showed us:

Initial epic workflow (the 'before' picture)

epic workflow sankey

Data mavens and graph hounds will recognize this as a Sankey diagram. The vertical blue bars represent the different work statuses that our Epics moved through. The volume of work moving through a particular flow is reflected by the width of the gray (or red) band. Red bands indicate where work went backward, reverting to an earlier status.

Seeing our own epic workflow illuminated this way, our feeling was: That's too much. Too many exception flows, too much reversion. For an organization our size (i.e. not Google), it shouldn't be so difficult. Armed with the knowledge of the on-the-ground reality, we could see where and how to eliminate waste from the process.

Four months later, here were the results:

Revised epic workflow (the 'after' picture)

revised sankey - epic eorkflow

Swift, consistent, simple.

Admittedly, the complexity we were solving for is a far cry from what a larger organization faces. How far? Consider the following example, anonymized but based on real data, drawn from an organization of several hundred developers across multiple locations:

Team Workflow - Sankey

Hairy, yes. But no cause for panic. The first step in solving a problem is knowing there's a problem…

Related Post:

Developer Spotlight: Andrew Kunzel, Director of Backend Engineering

Meet Andrew. He’s our Director of Backend Engineering and is a member of Team Bolt ⚡️ who is currently working on buildi...

Developer Spotlight: Michael Goode, Platform Operations Engineer

Meet Mike. He’s a Platform Operations Engineer here a Pinpoint and member of Team Bolt ⚡️ . who is currently working on ...

Developer Spotlight: Matthew Congrove, Head of UI/UX Design

As we ideate around the idea of a Developer Profile, we wanted to learn more about our team and about who they are as a ...

Subscribe to the Pinpoint Engineering Blog

cat developer