Tracking Flow Efficiency in Azure DevOps

Recently I've done some work with one of the amazing Agile Coaches we have at Polaris Solutions, Sara Caldwell, to come up with a tool to help her get some more work item state time data out of Azure DevOps.  The result is now, I've published a new Extension to Azure DevOps, focused on giving teams, scrum masters, agile coaches and whomever else might be interested, the ability to get a little more data on how their work items are progressing through their process, by measuring Flow Efficiency.  You can go read lots of things written by people smarter than me about how to apply Flow Efficiency and its benefits, but the short story is that it helps scrum and kanban teams get an idea of how work progresses from start to finish, with a focus on tracking the time things are being worked on vs. the time things are waiting and not actively being worked on.  This metric is an interesting thing to track because when teams are looking at things like Lead Time and how to improve that, focusing on the time work is "waiting" can help measure improvements a team makes.

Azure DevOps doesn't do a good job of reporting out how long work spends in different states or board columns, and that is the key for us to be able to measure Flow Efficiency.  So that's where this extension comes in.  It will look back in to the history of your Work Items and grab some of the data hiding within Azure DevOps and give it back to you.  Users can pick the team they want to work with, and the backlog level (stories, features, epics...) they are interested in.  From there we are able to see what work items have been closed (and are still closed) in a given timeframe, and figure out what board columns those work items have spent time in and how long on average things spend in those columns

Now we have some data about where work items spend time! Next to calculate flow efficiency, the user can categorize the board columns as either "Work" time or "Wait" time.  Once those categorizations are done, we can begin to get a sense of work vs. wait, as well as a Work Efficiency percentage.  Right now you can choose the date range you want to track for, and you can then use that to see improvements over time, the extension does not yet calculate the time slices necessary to trend things itself, so you would have to track that yourself.. but trending these numbers is next on my list of improvements, so if you install this now, you'll see some improvements to this as I get things done.

So that's out there in the Marketplace for you to add to your Azure DevOps instance! Hopefully it helps you and your team get more insights in to how things are working!

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