Holding regular ceremonies is vital for the success of any engineering team. Sprint planning sessions, code reviews, one-on-ones and daily stand-up meetings all play a role in fostering communication and accountability.
That said, these ceremonies have certain drawbacks. For one, running through individual status updates often takes up far more time than necessary. Moreover, a key aspect of all of these ceremonies is team members sharing their input on what worked and didn’t work with a given process or project. But when these thoughts are based on individual opinions, they may not accurately reflect the reality of how a project went.
Ultimately, both of these disadvantages boil down to having insufficient data at the team’s disposal. That’s where Pluralsight Flow comes in. With its enormous variety of metrics and reporting options, Flow ensures that clear, comprehensive data underlies all points of discussion. This gives engineering teams time back to focus on ceremonies’ more substantial benefits, without relying on subjective analyses.
Make the most of stand-up meetings with Flow’s Project Timeline Report
At any given time, engineers operate in one of two modes: production (actively working on a project) and coordination (determining how to divide work among team members). As a general rule, engineering teams require more coordination than teams in other departments, such as marketing or sales. The reason is simple: In most cases, engineers work within a single code base, which means there’s a significant chance of work being duplicated.
Daily stand-up meetings are a crucial way for teams to mitigate this inefficiency. Proper stand-up meetings should answer three questions in a short time (ideally no more than 15 minutes):
What was accomplished yesterday?
What needs to be done today?
What obstacles stand in the way of today’s goals?
The most common error that teams make during stand-ups is spending too much time on the first question, turning the meetings into glorified status updates. While it’s certainly useful for team members to be aware of current status, this information alone doesn’t drive forward motion. Instead, stand-ups should focus on the tasks that lie ahead — otherwise, teams risk stagnating their workflow.
Flow’s Project Timeline Report provides clean, accessible data on recent trends in every team member’s work — including commit volume, code churn and a breakdown of different types of tasks. This data radically streamlines the status update portion of stand-ups, leaving most of the meeting time for discussing goals for the day and potential roadblocks in accomplishing them. The Project Timeline Report is also a great way to supplement longer-term discussions such as sprint planning meetings. In either case, the end result is a more agile and forward-thinking engineering team.
Breaking up knowledge silos during code reviews
Statistics show that team members form stronger bonds when they work on projects together — and a team with strong bonds is far more likely to reliably deliver high-quality products than a team in which everyone operates in a vacuum. When code reviews are done right, they can be fruitful opportunities for identifying collaboration and knowledge-sharing opportunities, even across teams. That’s where Flow’s Review Collaboration Report comes in.
The report helps break up knowledge silos during code reviews by providing a visualization of the collaborative process including a breakdown of submissions and reviews for pull requests. This affords leaders a clear window into how their teams are collaborating, helps junior engineers learn from senior engineers during review, and presents team members with new learning and upskilling opportunities going forward. Review Collaboration helps managers identify engineers who are taking the time to review others’ work, which encourages mentorship and teamwork. All it takes is one insight from the Review Collaboration Report for an engineer to discover untapped potential in a skill they never would have used otherwise.
Using data to streamline one-on-one check-ins
One-on-one meetings carry their own set of challenges. Above all else, they should be mutually enriching experiences for both leaders and team members. They should not be spent seeking out quantifiable ways to measure progress. But without comprehensive data readily available, this is often exactly what ends up happening.
Flow’s Check-in report provides easily-digestible performance metrics across multiple dimensions, including a code commit breakdown and a customized widget that identifies areas of improvement. The report offers views into performance over any time range up to 90 days in length, making it well-suited to streamline a variety of performance-related conversations. All of this frees up time for managers and employees to focus on what matters most: connecting on a meaningful level.
Flow reports create more productive engineering ceremonies
Flow’s rich reporting capabilities can supplement all types of engineering ceremonies. Whether your team is aiming to streamline stand-ups, derive more value from code reviews, optimize one-on-ones or all of the above, take your ceremonies to the next level with Flow.
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