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Jellyfish Life Cycle Explorer | A New Way for Engineering Teams to Analyze Their SDLC

Aston Whiteling | January 30, 2023

Engineering Operations

Lifecycle Explorer

The modern software development life cycle is demanding, non-linear, and increasingly complex. A lot of work goes into shipping value to customers; actually writing code is only one piece of the puzzle. Engineering teams must define and refine the requirements of the code, write and test it, collaborate, review and improve it, before finally deploying it. Only then can it be delivered as value to customers.


Each of these pieces represents a necessary step of the software development life cycle, and it’s critical to keep all of them, including the overall speed of development, balanced for the team to operate efficiently. Deliver too fast, and you will likely decrease quality, falter on hygiene or compliance, or worst of all build the wrong thing. Deliver too slowly, and iterating will be difficult, developers and business stakeholders will be frustrated, and customers won’t see the value.


Tackling Non-Linear Development 

The Software Development Life Cycle isn’t a linear process, and analyzing it as such leaves key insights on the table.  In the realm of modern development there are gaps, overlaps and bottlenecks which reflect points of friction at each stage of development. 


Say for example, there’s a lot of overlap between refinement and work; what could this represent? Perhaps an ever-changing set of requirements for engineers, leading to thrash and an overall degradation of team health. What about a big gap between the two? That could reflect a lot of issues sitting in the backlog – perhaps it’s time to either hire more engineers to address your desired scope, or improve your process around delivery expectations. 


What if work is stretching too long – is the work too complex or are folks just spinning their wheels? Inversely, if work is executing too quickly, are things being rushed? Is tech debt piling up, creating a bottleneck in the long run?


And what about review; a lot of it could mean that your feedback process needs to be streamlined or that the work being submitted is controversial. Too little might mean things are being rubber stamped and buggy code is being delivered to customers. Understanding these indicators is crucial in order to inform decisions around tooling, process, workflow and team health.


Balance, not Speed, is the most important component of maintaining healthy engineering teams. 


If you want  to take a simplistic approach to the software development life cycle, then let it be this: happy engineers deliver quality software at scale. Crafting the right balance between speed and care is what defines an industry-leading delivery process and this philosophy is what’s informed our approach with Jellyfish’s latest feature release,  Life Cycle Explorer. 


Introducing Jellyfish Life Cycle Explorer

Software development teams and their leaders need an  easy way to easily visualize, break down, and understand their development life cycles. Jellyfish Life Cycle Explorer  provides teams the ability to dive deeper, to expose and investigate the root cause of slowdowns, bottlenecks, and process breakdowns. Jellyfish tracks issues through Jira workflows, categorizing the work effort as either refinement, work, review or deployment. It calculates the amount of time issues spent in each workflow stage, maps this process visually, and highlights performance improvements, trends, and over time.  


Utilizing Life Cycle Explorer, Engineering Managers can:


  • Identify gaps when issues are sitting idle, as well as overlaps that indicate parallel processes


  • Take into account the full issue Life Cycle, from issue creation to production deployment 


  • Drill into individual issues to understand the specifics behind outliers


  • View trend data to understand how your SDLC is changing over time


“Cycle Time has been a critical metric for improvement across our engineering organization. With Life Cycle Explorer we have a new level of control over our Development Life Cycle, empowering our teams to break down and optimize each stage of the delivery process.” said Gary Damm, VPE at One Concern


Instead of fixating on  ‘speed’ as an output,  Jellyfish Life Cycle Explorer focuses on outcomes. We don’t just want to help answer “How can I decrease my cycle time?”  Rather, we want to provide the necessary metric-depth that  empowers decision making and helps answer more substantive questions like “What choices  do I need to make around my team processes that will keep the engineers happy whilst optimizing  for efficiency?”


If you’d like to learn more about Life Cycle Explorer, check out our short video demo. We’ve also got a number of resources coming out soon – including an eBook focused on how to use a Life Cycle Explorer – so stay tuned! 


Aston Whiteling