How do you measure the performance of software engineering projects? Pinpoint says it has the answer with what it bills as the world’s first advanced analytics platform for software engineering.
“Today the way companies are measuring their engineering efforts is by gut feeling and a lot of wasted time in meetings,” Nolan Wright, chief product officer and cofounder of Pinpoint, told eWEEK.
Wright and his cofounder and CEO Jeff Haynie encountered the problem of measuring performance at their last company, Appcelerator, which had 100 engineers at its peak. “It was hard to always know what was going on; it was like a black box,” Wright said.
Pinpoint is designed to give executives a way to decipher performance and evaluate how teams work and better plan for the future. The target audience includes CTOs, CEOs and CFOs to help them properly align money, teams, and resources, so their company can achieve faster delivery cycles and build better products.
The Pinpoint platform offers a way to instrument the systems where the work is occurring, then it uses data science to interpret current organizational performance, highlight improvement opportunities, and predict outcomes.
Now generally available, Pinpoint works with all major software systems of record, including Jira, GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, SonarQube and others. Austin, Texas-based Pinpoint contends that users don’t have to change any work processes, and there are no manual inputs for the teams involved.
“We don’t want to change anyone’s work habits,” Wright said. Pinpoint simply monitors work being done and turns system activity into actionable insights using advanced analytics and machine learning.
Bringing Discipline to Software Engineering
“Sales teams, marketing and finance are all metrics driven; engineering, ironically, is the least disciplined,” Wright said. “We talked to companies for our market research and what we found at the executive level was that there’s a massive pain point. The signal-to-noise is going in the wrong direction; developers may think they have a handle on things, but it’s hard for management to know what’s really going on, even as they are constantly being asked for more resources.”
Depending on the complexity of the data, Wright said it can take as little as a few hours to a couple of days for the cloud-based Pinpoint to analyze five to 10 years of historical data and offer actionable insights.
In a demonstration for eWEEK, Wright showed how Pinpoint analyzes items such as cycle times and how long it takes to complete tasks, fix bugs and track defect rates.
“The idea is that we look at software as a delivery pipeline and evaluate how good you are at delivering it,” Wright said.
The results can be presented as an executive view, but it’s not limited to the C-suite. Wright said that depending on how a company decides to deploy Pinpoint, software managers and others can also access the system to analyze performance.
“We are also working on offering a quarterly review for executives that would highlight specific items execs are interested in,” Wright said.
He emphasized that while there is a lot of value in this initial version of Pinpoint, there are a lot of features planned for upcoming versions. One the company plans to release soon is a way to evaluate onboarding and tenure. Basically, Pinpoint would be able to see if new employees are getting more productive over time as well as how well more-seasoned employees are performing. Like the rest of Pinpoint, this would be a statistical grouping, not personally identifiable information.
Huge Opportunity Around Benchmarking
Eventually Pinpoint also plans to offer a way for companies to compare how their software engineering teams perform versus others in the same industry.
“We also plan to compare things like the performance of ad hoc versus teams that take a more structured approach,” Wright said. “There is a huge opportunity around benchmarking. People have preconceived notions about performance, but data is very instructional, and it can bust a lot of myths.”
Along with the official release of its platform on Feb. 14, Pinpoint announced it has raised $13.5 million in Series A financing.