Investment areas

Engineering managers frequently want to ensure:

  • Where are time and effort spent? For example, this data helps determine how much effort is spent over time on feature versus non-feature work or functional versus non-functional work.

  • Are we working on the right priorities in the right ratio?

Investment areas allows you to see where the team is investing their efforts over time. Each bar represents 100% of effort for a given time frame or interval broken out by issue type or work category.

Using this data, you can:

  • Evaluate the work completed by your team by issue type or work category.

  • Review how that investment changes over time related to incoming requests.

  • Realign investment priorities.

  • Decide on and monitor areas for process improvements.

  • Decide and discuss with stakeholders investment in quality, internal efficiency to accelerate future feature delivery.

  • Determine team investment in areas such as bug fixes and technical debt.

Requirements

For data to appear in Investment areas, you must have:

In addition, you can enable more features using optional configurations:

UI elements

The Investment areas screen has six UI elements.

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Figure 1. UI elements
Table 1. Investment areas UI elements
Number UI element Use

1

Selects the time intervals, Jira projects, and issue types or work category that will be displayed in the bar graphs.

2

Check box to show only issues that have associated pull requests.

Reduces the displayed data set to show only issues that have pull requests. Requires a GitHub integration.

3

Each bar represents a period of time correlating to the chosen time interval. Each colored segment of a bar graph represents the number of issues that match the chosen filters.

4

Legend

Identifies the color segment of the bar graph with either issue types or work categories.

5

The displayed intervals match the chosen time interval; default value is 7 days. If no data is available, then the bar graph for those time intervals is not displayed.

6

Hovering over a color segment displays a tooltip summarizing the data. Clicking on a color segment displays a list of the issues. Color correspondences are shown in the legend.

Understanding the bar graphs

Successful teams track and prioritize work in the right ratios. How can you correlate and track the work that is being done? These reports can surface areas for improvement or validate that the right tasks are being prioritized.

Most teams use an issue tracker, such as Jira, to track work using tickets or issues. Once connected, these Jira issues are automatically imported into CloudBees Engineering Efficiency. The bands of color, or activity, in the bar graphs (number 3 in Figure 1) correspond to the number of issues associated with each issue type or work category. You can choose issue type or work category using the filters (number 1 in Figure 1) to change the data displayed.

By default and without any additional configuration, the Investment areas screen shows investment by issue type. Subtasks are not included in the calculations.

Hovering over any color band in the bar graph displays a summary of the number of items, the issue type or category associated with the color, and the time interval.

Selecting a color band lets you see a list of the issues associated with that block. Use Ctrl+Click on Windows or CMD+Click on macOS to open the issue list in a new browser window.
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Figure 2. Bar graph displaying issue types with tooltip

These bands show the type of work that the team is doing over time. You can refine the displayed data by only showing issues that are associated with pull requests (number 2 in figure 1).

What percent of time are they spending on each one of these kinds of work and how does that change over time? You can use issue types and work categories on the Investment areas screen to explore this question.

How can you define the different kinds of work? In your issue tracker, you can organize work in multiple ways. Jira has default issue types including stories, tasks, bugs, etc.

The first step is to understand the data that you have by organizing it. Let’s say that for this example stories map to new features while tasks map to internal tasks. You can use the Show by filter to select Issue types to analyze how your team divides work between these work bands. The color bands on the bar graphs correspond to issue types displayed in the legend (number 4 in figure 1).

Is the work trending in the way that you expect? For example, there may be some times when a team is working more on technical debt or support issues versus feature enhancements. If you are supposed to be focused on feature modes but the graphs show that the amount of time on support is up 25% over the last time interval, then you need to determine why this change has occurred. Perhaps the product has an increase in bugs that need to be addressed to reduce support escalations. Perhaps feature work is being blocked and progress has slowed down in it.

You can use these bars to identify trends and then determine whether corrective steps are needed or whether the shift in work band ratios was caused by a temporary forcing function. Using work categories, you can further focus the data that is displayed.

Refer to Work categories for additional information on how you can use work categories to refine and track your work.

You can use time intervals to examine the trends in tighter ranges. This can help view the longer view and drill down into sprint-level time periods like 7 days.

Customizing and exploring product investment areas

You can modify the data that is displayed and how it is filtered:

  • Time intervals, which lets you change the view from a week to three months.

  • Jira projects, which lets you filter data from all or selected projects.

  • Show by, which lets you view by Jira issue type or by work category.

investment areas show by
Figure 3. Data filters

You can select any issue type or work category of the bar graph to view details about the individual issues for further analysis.

Viewing data summary and issues

Each color segment on a bar graph is interactive: you can hover over a color segment for a data summary or select a color segment to drill-in for an issue list.

To view a data summary for a color segment of a bar graph, hover the cursor over a color segment you wish to view. A tooltip with a data summary showing the number of issues and the time interval appears.

To view a list of issues associated with a color segment:

  1. Select a color segment to display a list of associated issues.

  2. (Optional) Sort any of the columns by selecting them to toggle between ascending and descending order.

If an issue list contains more than 100 items, additional results appear on subsequent pages and can be viewed using the page navigation at the bottom of the screen.

Changing the timeframe using time intervals

You can customize the time period each bar represents.

The Time intervals drop-down provides three range options, representing a week, a month, and 3 months (a quarter). The selected time interval changes the period of time represented in each bar graph. The default time interval is 7 days.

The most recent time period is the last bar on the right and uses the current date as the starting point for the selected range.

To change the time intervals on Investment areas:

  1. Select the drop-down under Time intervals.

  2. Select an option: 7 days, 30 days, or 90 days.

The bar graph refreshes so each bar represents one interval for the selected range. The most recent dates are on the far right bar next to the legend.

Associating and filtering by Jira projects

By default, the bar graphs display data from all Jira projects associated with a product. You can choose which Jira projects to include in the bar graph by selecting individual projects from the Jira projects drop-down.

Clicking on a section of the graph will let you explore the specific issues contributing to that portion of the trend.

To filter by Jira projects on Investment areas:

  1. Select the drop-down under Jira projects.

  2. Select the check box next to the Jira projects you wish to display.

The bar graph updates with your selections.

You can associate additional projects from the Manage Jira projects screen.

The Show by drop-down lets you view data by Jira issue type or work category. Options for work categories are available when Show by  Category is selected.

investment areas show by category
Figure 4. Data filters with Category selected

To filter using Show by on Investment areas:

  1. Select the drop-down under Show by.

  2. Select the either Issue type or Category.

  3. Category only: Select specific work categories from the Work categories drop-down.

The bar graph updates with your selections.

Filtering with Show by  Issue type

When Show by  Issue type is selected, the bar graphs are based upon the issue types as defined in Jira for the linked projects. Issue types are directly imported into the System of Record when Jira is configured. Issue types, defined in your Jira Cloud or Server instance, can include story, bug, task, and other user-defined types within projects or across organizations.

investment areas issue types bars
Figure 5. Issue types

Filtering with Show by  Category

When Show by  Category is selected, the bar graphs are based upon the work categories associated with the product. For example, you may have Jira labels that match specific types of work, such as design, documentation, or security. You can associate one or more labels with a work category and associate those categories with one or more products.

investment areas categories
Figure 6. Work categories

Refining views by customizing work categories

While the issue type view is an easy way to begin understanding the investment trends, most organizations benefit from customizing this view by defining work categories that fit the kinds of work your team tracks as issues. For more information, refer to Work categories.

Issues inherit the work category labeling through the epics. This means that if an epic matches a work category, then all issues inside that epic are also automatically included in the category.