Illuminate Education Case Study
Correlating Git & Project Data Leads to Continuous Success
A CTO’s Perspective on Success
When Kent Tangen took over as CTO of Illuminate Education in 2019 he took on the challenge of modernizing his engineering organization. “We started by defining what success meant for us at Illuminate engineering. We landed on the idea of constant improvement, so we knew our engineering data would be the foundation of this success. LinearB provides us with the data that keeps us focused on successful improvement.”
Now that the team decided data-driven engineering was the foundation, it was time for Kent to figure out how his resources were being invested. “At the Executive level, we spend a lot of time talking about where we are investing. How much are we investing in growth vs maintenance? I was really looking for a unifying dashboard that I could look at and understand what’s happening within the engineering organization. All of that in service of understanding how we are making investments.”
“LinearB gives you new ways of defining success. It opens up new levers that you have as CTO to influence the efficiencies.”
Correlating Git & Project
Data Gives a New Perspective
LinearB is the first system I’ve used that marries project and git data together. It gives us a holistic view into our sprints and how we are thinking about them. Are we building new things or fixing bugs, is this rework?” By correlating data from your source control and project management systems, LinearB shows engineering leaders a more accurate picture of what is happening in their organization. Kent continues, “I realized that it was powerful to not only look at what’s happening in your organization on a project basis, but also to see what’s actually happening in the source code repositories”
The effects of correlating data between differential systems proliferates far beyond executive leadership. It was only after dev teams adopted LinearB’s Slack integration, WorkerB, that the full extent of the data correlation started to come to light.
WorkerB is a highly configurable workflow optimization tool that affects the speed of value delivery at the team level. This developer-first tool provides personal notification and team alerts that decrease project idle time and promote modern best practices. In one Illuminate example, WorkerB reminded developers about long PR review times, while correlating the PR to the relevant project issue. Understanding which project issue was being affected by the long review time allowed engineers to prioritize their time more efficiently, improving the cycle time of key projects.
By providing developers with the information needed to understand which project issues were being affected by their PRs, they were able to align themselves to business priorities and improve their sprint efficiency without management involvement.
“LinearB gives my teams a perspective they wouldn’t normally have otherwise and that gets them thinking critically about the improvements they can make.”
Staying Focused On Improvement
“After adopting LinearB, conversations started happening that weren’t before.”
Perhaps the best thing about introducing data to engineering teams are the unexpected effects. “My team leaders started coming to me and saying things like, our pull request reviews are taking too long, how can we reduce that? They were self-organizing, focused on improving themselves.”
By putting data into the hands of engineers, LinearB’s developer-first platform triggers new ways of thinking about improvement. “My teams are telling me where they think they could be doing a better job, and then actually doing something about it. LinearB elevates the data in a way that allows for these conversations to happen.”
“I love that our quality is improving every sprint without manager involvement.”