News

Why ScatterSpoke Is Making a Big Change

After hearing our customers tell us what they want from ScatterSpoke, we're responding by evolving to provide you with more tools than ever for empowering engineers to do more.

ScatterSpoke Team

October 12, 2022
1 min

The best tools are built to serve a need.

Lucky for us, that was the case with ScatterSpoke. We didn’t set out to create another retro tool just for its own sake, we could clearly see that there were problems existing tools were failing to solve. It was a need we could see and one friends and associates told us about.

So we built ScatterSpoke.

The next iteration came from the same place. We could see that teams using ScatterSpoke were generating huge amounts of useful data that nobody was doing anything with. That’s when we decided to empower teams by using AI to find patterns and trends.

All of this brings us to early 2022.

Things here were humming along nicely when one day a major customer (a household brand) came to us and essentially said:

“We love ScatterSpoke for retros, but we also use quarterly Agile health surveys and have all these engineering metrics from various tools which we use to set and track goals. But frankly, we’d love to do all this in ScatterSpoke instead of 3 different tools so our teams can review everything at the start of each retrospective."

Just like that, there was a new need in front of us we knew ScatterSpoke could address.

We quickly dove headfirst into figuring out how to tag improvement goals in their retros. Action items teams created during their retros work great as one-offs, but tying them to larger-scale improvement goals had the potential to harness those action items and drive them in the right direction.

But to get that right, we had to transition into research mode. We soon came across Nicole Forsgren and Laura Tacho, a team of PhD researchers at Microsoft and GitHub dedicated to understanding what makes developers productive.

Going down that rabbit hole brought us to DORA metrics. These metrics sought to get beyond the old ways companies have tracked developed productivity like lines of code written. Instead, they used metrics like change failure rate and lead time to changes to really tie what developers are doing to actual value.

That said, while we love DORA metrics they are only one piece of the puzzle. More digging brought us to the SPACE framework, a new way of understanding developer productivity via a collaboration between GitHub, Microsoft, and the University of Victoria.

SPACE is a kind of evolution of DORA and the two can be used together, with DORA focusing more on North Star metrics while SPACE is more all-encompassing as it also measures the human side of engineering.

At this point, we finally felt we had what we needed to address that customer’s need. By leveraging the insights of DORA and SPACE metrics via surveys, goal tracking, artificial intelligence-driven analysis, and great data visualization, ScatterSpoke can now bring the power of several tools together into one.

As a result, engineering teams can connect team goals, surfacing trends at the organizational level to discover and act on common themes.

Being able to use their retros to not just discuss how they can be better, but to actually discover trends on the team level which can be transformed into larger organizational goals is a huge upgrade. The results are better for engineers, better for leaders, and better for customers.