Software Brings Transparency to Dev Environment

A day in the life of a developer is just a few clicks away with a software analysis solution that displays what, when and how long they’re working on projects. But reps say this is more than Big Brother knocking on developers’ doors.

6th Sense Analytics offers software that provides enterprises with what’s really going down during the dev lifecycle, tracking how much time developers devote to projects, providing time estimates for future projects and alerting managers to those projects falling behind. The analysis also gives developers insight as to how they’re spending their day, which tools they are using most often and the periods (or “flow” time) in which they are most productive.

“We’re not looking over your shoulder,” says Greg Burnell, CEO, 6th Sense. “We’re empowering information you should already have access to.”

Stand-in Monday morning meetings, time sheets, project sheets and status reports typically gave IT managers insight to the happenings of their dev environments but manual tracking can be cumbersome. And, according to Burnell, Excel used to be the primary metrics solution before such software existed. Automation saves time for managers and lets IT professionals view rich dev data results on the browser, through AJAX technology. He says 74 percent of software projects fail but, with increased visibility, they don’t have to.

“One of the challenges we’ve found is there’s just not enough technology that brings accurate visibility to the application development process,” Burnell said. “IT has done a great job of introducing automation to every other aspect of business except itself.”

Burnell says the software has the ability to give developers insight as to which processes are working and which aren’t. Analytics can benchmark them against other developers and improve dialogue with upper management. While the solution makes it easier for managers to keep a watchful eye, Burnell says the accountability makes users better developers.

The solution uses a sensor that plugs into Eclipse, Visual Studio, JBuilder and other IDEs. The sensors solicit data from the dev environment and the activity is sent to the hosted solution, before ultimately appearing on the users’ browsers. The software does little to disrupt the dev process and minimal training is required for developers to use the back-end analytics to evaluate individual performance.

“We don’t import process–we reveal process,” Burnell said. “We’re trying to take the burden off the developer and pump all this data back to them in an automated fashion,” Burnell said.

The software also has a dev community site, 6Forge, where users can host sensors and share code snippets. 6th Sense sells its metric software for $960 per year, but the Morrisville, N.C.-based company also offers a free open source download for developers interested in individual assessments.

About the Author

Jason Turcotte is an assistant editor at Application Development Trends. He can be reached at [email protected].