Using data to prepare for engineering stakeholder meetings

Impress your project stakeholders with clear answers to common questions using Uplevel’s Project Explorer.

Everyone has a role in making a project successful. Although all roles are critical, not all engage with the project on the same daily cadence as the developers and project managers keeping progress moving. Enter: stakeholders.

Project stakeholders have a vested interest in the outcome of the work. They might sit on the executive leadership team or represent another department in your company, or they might be external clients or agencies—simultaneously close to the project yet outside of its daily progress. That makes meeting with stakeholders a challenging balance of giving timely updates and protecting space for the working team to continue.

The best way to prepare for a meeting with stakeholders is to have the right information. Certain stakeholders might not need the full picture, but a tailored insight into a specific team or task. The more you can focus on what’s directly important, rather than getting distracted by the complexities of any project, the better everyone will feel about the status. The key word is relevant.

Be prepared with an agenda and specify the purpose of having this stakeholder meeting. Did you complete a major phase of the project? Did you run into an obstacle? Is there turnover in a key role? Entering the meeting with shared expectations allows for smoother conversations—and the data carries the rest.

How can you gather the right data for your stakeholder meeting? Head to the Uplevel Project Explorer.

This powerful feature pulls Jira and PR activity into one dashboard of ticket status and workloads. Find out how to use Project Explorer to answer some of the most common stakeholder questions.

“Are we going to finish everything in this sprint? What’s left to do?”

With thoughtful sprint planning, teams can achieve all their goals by the sprint end. In reality, everything from last-minute additions to complex pull requests can derail the intended timeline. Find the status of all tickets assigned to the current sprint by using Project Explorer.

Filter by “Sprint” and check “Sprint work” to view the active work that matters most right now.

“How much of our current work is bugs?”

Your team is often balancing a full workload. It’s helpful to know how much of that work is occupied by new features and how much is claimed by bugs. Project Explorer makes it simple to understand this breakdown and communicate to your CTO what percentage of this sprint work is devoted to bugs. Filter by “Work type” and select “Bugs.” Checking “In Progress” will narrow further to all active bug work.

For deeper detail, look to the list of open tickets and find the Bug icons (a red square with a white circle, as shown in the legend). With all of them upfront, you’ll answer questions like: Is someone getting stuck with all the additional bugs assigned? Were any bugs added mid-sprint? How much? Who took them on?

“How is [x] doing? What are they working on?”

Sometimes, stakeholders want to understand how each dev is involved in certain work. You might need data to support not assigning a person to a task, or you might want to highlight an imbalance in allocation in order to improve the process. Simply filter by “Person” to zoom into an individual team member. You’ll see their recent achievements and open work. Did they take on more bugs than other team members? More PRs? You might celebrate accomplishments—or offer a break to prevent burnout.

“How far did we stray from the sprint plan?”

To look at ticket changes, filter by Epic, then head to Sprint Callouts and select “Added Mid-Sprint” to view supplemental work added after the sprint start date. In some cases, that could indicate typical bugs that get added during the sprint. In other cases, it shows a process in need of refining for agile best practices. To understand long-running tickets, filter by “Carry-over.” You’ll see work that has spanned multiple sprints, revealing PRs that need attention. Engineering teams should aim to reduce both types of tickets. This simple visibility can be very helpful to prepare for data-enhanced sprint retros.

Guiding effective stakeholder meetings is like enabling better 1:1s. You consider two sets of priorities and acquire the right information to satisfy both sets. With truly contextualized data, you can raise the right questions and guide the most impactful conversations.