My favorite gadget

Being in the technology field, I get the play with lots of different and interesting tech.  Sometimes it’s big enterprise-class hardware, sometimes it’s a small niche software package.  My favorite piece of technology that I personally own though is my Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS watch.  Garmin produces excellent watches that are intended for sports like running and cycling. 

What I like most about my Garmin is the real-time data feedback about what I’m doing at that specific moment.  Before I got my Garmin (Father’s Day gift last year), about as best I could get was a mile split my my stop watch and markers on whatever course I was running on.   Now, I glance down and I can see how fast (or slow) I’m running, how far I’ve gone, and for how long (among about 100 other possible metrics). 

Once I’m done with my workout, I can look and see more detailed information about my workout.  Here’s an example:

I can see trend data for the workout – for example, my pace over the course of the run:


FYI: that little spike at the end is me stopping to tie one of my shoes that had come undone.  I only stopped for a quick moment, but it was enough to pick it up!

Over time, I can also look at information of what I’m doing at a given week, or a given month, or across specific dates.

What this amounts to is that I have real-time data feedback (on the watch as I run), incremental feedback upon completion of an specific iteration (a workout), and trend and summary information over time. 

Sounds like a pretty common pattern, doesn’t it?  The very same pattern we see with successful software development teams.  They get real-time data feedback through continuous integration builds and burndown charts.  Incremental/iterative data points come through high-quality tested builds of the software, and long term trend information can be found in product backlog burndown and team velocity charts.  Data available at these three points gives teams what they need to understand what is happening both short and long term, and make decisions and adjustments as they go to get the most out of the team. 

What kind of real-time, incremental, and long-term trend information do you have to support your software development teams?

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