Unbabel Case Study
Establishing Data-Driven Engineering with Linear
In the six months since Unbabel implemented data-driven engineering practices with LinearB they’ve experienced incredible improvement.
“LinearB helps scaling companies mature their engineering process. They make things predictable, but also best in class.”
The Most Important Questions
“The question had always been, are the engineers working in an efficient way? Do we have a healthy process? We didn’t have a way of saying yes or no.”
As the VP of Engineering, Jonathan Sowler needed to provide answers during leadership meetings. He needed to show their delivery cadence and that his delivery machine was improving. Jonathan wasn’t just missing the dashboards and metrics his peers utilized, but also the confidence of knowing his teams were focused on the right things everyday.
To be a world class organization, Jonathan needed a data-driven approach to his software engineering process. “I wanted the engineers to see how they're working, to learn what good practices are and move in that direction.” After an initial demo of the LinearB product, Jonathan invited his engineer leads for a walk-through.
Implementing a data-driven approach
“It was all very democratic. The LinearB team walked us through the product and answered our questions. Then we went off for a couple days to discuss if this was right for us. Our teams are focused on continuously improving, which to us means transparency. Everyone understood this was a tool that would generate healthy working practices.”
LinearB is the only tool that integrates a team’s project management system and their Git repositories to provide a unique view into how teams work. Unbabel quickly connected LinearB to their Jira instance and GitLab repositories.
“With Jira & GitLab, it has always been difficult to get the big picture. I know the Atlassian guys have been putting in lots of reporting, trying to give you a picture of how a program of work is done. But it has always been very difficult to get an understanding of where bits of work are stuck, where teams aren't working in an effective, efficient manner. LinearB makes visible, what isn’t with any other tool.”
Keeping Our Culture
& Increasing Efficiency
While Jonathan was looking at the big picture, his team leads were rolling out the LinearB Slack integration, WorkerB. WorkerB provides automated team level and personal Slack alerts that decrease project idle time and encourage best practice behaviour.
“WorkerB helps engineers focus on the right things. Software development is a process, you can’t just do the coding. You’ve got to balance coding with reviewing, and WorkerB reminds them to stop working on the new thing and go review some code.”
Jonathan goes on to talk about teamwork, “High performance teams need a psychologically safe environment. They don’t gel if someone is getting a whack on the knuckles every time they forget a Pull Request review. WorkerB helps manage our Pull Request process with simple alerts. It’s just a nice way of doing it.”
Now that Jonathan knows his Cycle Time, Deployment Frequency and Mean Time To Restore, he can build custom dashboards for leadership meetings that give him the confidence to say “My teams are doing well” when asked how his organization is doing. He knows his teams are focused on the right work because can visualize their progress and improvement.