There are many ways in which a sprint can go sideways or get derailed entirely—but engineering managers often learn about these problems too late. They talk to engineers, check-in on JIRA tickets, look through GitHub, but all of these activities are spread across different tools and timelines.
One of the first and most essential uses of Velocity is to cut through the noise and help managers identify issues that may warrant their time. Velocity’s JIRA integration enables leadership to learn about impediments to sprints sooner and help their team take corrective action early.
Using Velocity’s JIRA functionality, engineering leaders can find quick answers to questions like:
Is our current sprint on track? What work is stuck or at risk?
Are there any engineers dealing with scope creep?
How much unplanned work is in the pipeline right now?
Are issues distributed fairly across the team?
Velocity currently offers the following JIRA features:
Velocity’s newest report, Workstreams, displays Git and Jira data in concert, to help engineering managers and tech leads walk into stand-ups with a richer understanding of the health and progress of their current sprint.
The sprint header on the top right gives users an immediate view of the date range of the sprint and days remaining, so they can get a sense of how much time their team has left and whether or not they need to prioritize or cut scope.
Filter by People, Issue Type (task, story, bug), Status (to do, done, acceptance), and Epic using the dropdown menus below the sprint header. This enables engineering managers to quickly review who is working on what and where certain tracks of work sit within the pipeline.
Below, the report is organized into the following 7 columns:
Issue title: The title of the issue, as labeled in Jira. Clicking into any issue title will bring up a drill-down of all associated PRs (and links to the respective PRs in GitHub), so managers can dig deeper into specific units of work.
People: A facepile of all the team members working on a given issue.
Effort: This column ranks the Effort of any given issue on a scale of 1 to 5. Effort is a proprietary metric that factors in variables like the location of the edits, the type of code being written (e.g., new code vs. updating existing code), and the specific nature of the change (e.g., formatting changes are simpler than logical changes). An engineering manager can use this data to get a sense of the magnitude/importance of any unit of work.
PRs: Displays how many open and merged branches are associated with each issue. Git Branches (Active, Merged, Released).
Activity: A chronological view of all commits in a given sprint, with the size of the bubble relative to Effort. Hovering over the bubbles will display the specific PRs, as well as how many lines of code were added or removed.
Status: The status of the issue and the time it’s spent in that state.
Risk: All potentially risky work is flagged in the Risk column, with a red alert symbol. Hovering over the exclamation symbol will display which PR is associated with the risk and why. Managers can use these alerts to spot potential blockers and help their team take corrective action early.
Traceability Metric in Foundations Report
Traceability measures the portion of code changes that are tracked by a JIRA issue. You can track this metric in Velocity’s Foundation report.
In an ideal world, all coding work goes toward completing an initiative that is clearly defined and tracked in JIRA. A high Traceability score indicates good collaboration between Product and Engineering, and that the team is working toward agreed-upon goals.
Scope Untraceable Work in the Activity Report
The Activity tab in Velocity’s 360 reports displays all activity types that a contributor performs. For commit activities, we give users the ability to visualize whether these commits are tied to a JIRA issue with our highlight functionality.
This feature gives users insight into what actual coding work (on the commit level) is going toward an established initiative, and what work may be ad-hoc or not adequately accounted for in the project management process.
Visualize Issue Comment Event Type in the Activity Report
As part of the slate of activities we display on the Activity Logs, we have added the Issue Comment, which appears whenever a contributor makes a comment on any Jira issue. The size of the shape is reflective of the size of the comment.
This feature enables managers to visualize the distribution of activity spent in the project management tool in relation to coding and reviewing activity. It allows managers to get a sense of how a contributor or team is dividing their time, the magnitude of those activities, and whether or not they match expectations.
Active Issues in Developer360 Sidebar
Our sidebar in the Developer360 is a live feed of everything on a contributor's plate and what they've done recently. It now includes any active (in progress) issue to which a contributor is assigned. Click an issue to go directly to Jira.
We've included Active Issues to help managers paint the full picture of their workload and responsibilities. Here, managers can spot multitasking, help with distributing workload, and get a sense for what a contributor is working on is what’s expected of them.
Analytics Report Filtering and Grouping Options
We've given users ways to slice and dice their Analytics reports using Jira parameters. Filter Analytics report by Jira parameters (Project, Issue assignee). Group by options on the Metrics report (Project, Board, Issue, Issue Reporter, Issue Assignee, Issue Status, Issue Type, Epic, Epic Status, Epic Reporter, Epic Assignee, Sprint, Sprint Status).
This update allows users to more deeply and specifically dive into their data on axes of their choice, with a focus on Jira.
Just like we have drill-downs for PRs, we now have drill-downs for issue-related activity. Users can drill down into issue metrics, like Traceability, or they can see lists of issues that fit certain criteria, like a set of active issues for a given contributor.
This allows users to dig further and see details around the units of work that contributed to a given average.
Velocity’s Retrospective report, found in the Team360 tab, pulls data from Jira to give managers a sense for how their team is performing relative to their project management goals over a given time frame.
Users can use the dropdown menus at the top of the report to filter by Jira project and to select the time frame they’re interested in investigating.
The top module enables users to visualize key issue metrics (on the top row) in concert with PR metrics (on the bottom row).
The second module includes the following two card views:
Issues completed by type, so managers can get a sense for what percentage of each issue type (e.g. story, bug) is taking up their team’s time. For example, 39% of issues are bugs.
Coding by change type, so managers can determine what kind of work this team is doing(e.g. building new features, refactoring). For example, 8% of coding work is Rework.
The bottom of the page lists a team’s most active issues within the selected time frame, along with relevant details, including:
Title of the Issue with a link to it in Jira
Issue Health, an alerting system for risky Issues, based on your definition of risk(configured in Settings > Health Check > Issue Health).
Activity, a synthetic metric that summarizes how much engineering time and attention has been spent on a particular Issue. A higher Activity Issue is higher risk, and thus an opportunity for further investigation.
Assignee of the Issue
Clicking into an issue will bring up a drill-down of all the Pull Requests associated with that issue key, along with each PR’s Health, Activity, and Age.
Jira Metrics Included in Daily Stand-up E-mail
Velocity’s stand-up report includes a breakdown of Traceability and Active Issues per contributor, so that managers can get a sense of how much unplanned work and active issues their engineers are taking on.
The Workload Report, found in Velocity’s Team360, pulls data from Jira to give managers a clear picture of all the development projects engineers are working on at a given point in time.
When you click into the report, you’ll find two modules:
The top module features a bar graph visualization of all active and inactive issues per contributor, so managers can see how work is distributed across their team.
The bottom module provides a more granular view of the specific units of work (tasks, bugs, epics, etc.) on each contributors’ plate.
Add Project Management Tracking and Projects in Settings
We've added settings for users to configure their project management trackers in Velocity and add projects from Jira.
To connect your Jira instance, head into Settings > Organize > Projects and click Add Project.
Velocity currently offers the following JIRA metrics:
The time from when an issue is first moved to a JIRA status of “In Progress,” “Started” or “In Development” to when it is resolved.
The number of issues that went from a JIRA status of “In Progress”, “Started” or “In Development” to a status of “Done,” “Fixed” or “Resolved.”
The total number of Issues that went to a resolved state.
The total count of Issues Opened over a given period of time.
The time from when an issue is created to when it is resolved.
The percentage of completed issues that backtracked to a previous state (for example, from “In Review” back to “In Progress”) at least once.
The portion of code changes that are tracked by an issue.