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How Datto reduced delayed releases by 24% and improved predictability in engineering.

The Challenge

For more than a decade, Datto has provided stability for companies of all sizes by securing their essential business data, most notably through their data backup and disaster recovery solutions. They’re relied on by tens of thousands of world’s fastest growing companies, and protect the essential business data generated by customers including Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, and Salesforce.

Because of the nature of Datto’s work, it’s important for their engineering teams to be able to consistently set and meet deadlines. "Management’s goal is to bake predictability into our process," says Benjamin De Point, Senior Director of Software Engineering.

Not long after being promoted to Sr. Director, Benjamin began to notice recurring friction points around delivery. Towards the end of every two-week sprint, there would be a flurry of activity and high stress. "We were experiencing bottlenecks toward the end of every sprint," Benjamin recalls, "but it was unclear to everyone as to why."

Benjamin takes a data-driven approach solving problems, so he believed concrete data could help complete the picture of individual and team performance. But the tooling he used to examine the problem fell short of providing any actionable insights.

“Pluralsight Flow gives us visibility without having to interrupt our engineers. Managers can stay out of the way, while using data to get a complete picture of team health.”

Benjamin De Point, Senior Director of Software Engineering


The Solution

After learning about Pluralsight Flow from a colleague, Benjamin started a free trial. He began by adding the repository where the delivery problems kept occurring. As he reviewed the team’s contributions back through time, from the reports he was immediately able to identify the problem.

"And there it was," he recalls. "Plain as day I could see our delivery bottleneck in the reports. It was particularly apparent in the Commit Workflow and Review Workflow"

The team was working locally, saving up their code without submitting it for a review until the latter part of each sprint. Once submitted, everyone had to wait to for feedback on 3 weeks worth of work. "And honestly, they often needed feedback way earlier on, but by that time the ship had already sailed," he admits.

The key benefits of Pluralsight Flow for Datto

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Increase in coding days per week

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Increase in commits per day

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Increase in impact to codebase

"Flow exposed that problem, and helped me make the case that everyone should submit code in smaller increments, on a more frequent basis, so that engineers can get feedback sooner.”

Benjamin De Point, Senior Director of Software Engineering.

Results and next steps

Leadership now uses Flow to keep a finger on the pulse of their team’s predictability. Datto’s managers can see performance in real time and proactively help their team remove obstacles for delivery.

"Flow helps us identify roadblocks or problems before they get out of hand." Benjamin explains, "We can see what a healthy team looks like, so we can be effective coaches when something slips. And that translates to predictability."

Datto’s engineering managers use the tool to set targets, track progress, and coach engineers toward their goals. They’re able to identify top performers, visualize their work patterns, and share those learnings with the team. Ultimately, it helps managers see how everyone is doing, and better support the individuals in their teams.

“Flow data helps us identify roadblocks or problems before they get out of hand. It’s become integral to our performance conversations.”

Benjamin De Point, Senior Director of Software Engineering.

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