Every company, every team, every process has room for improvement. Of course, if we all agreed on the cause and the solution, that improvement would be immediate. Instead, we’re often piecing together anecdotal evidence and biased opinions, trying to persuade other team members that our way is the right way.
Where theories fall short, data brings certainty. Uplevel saves you time by sourcing, analyzing, and presenting that data.
ALIGNING MANAGERS AND INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
One of the most common—and most personal—contexts for improvement conversations exists between individual contributors (ICs) and their managers. Maybe the IC feels overworked or has frustrations about handling all the bugs. Maybe the manager has concerns about an increase in meetings or prolonged cycle times. Historically, they might arrive at their next 1:1 with a laundry list of specific points, opening the door for a wayward debate about the real issue. This requires a conversation simply to arrive at the same conclusion.
With Uplevel, the data is apparent—and visible to both managers and ICs. Up-to-date charts that track recent metrics and long-term trends empower everyone with the same information. Finally, managers and ICs can start the conversation on the same page. The (sometimes exhaustive) time spent coming to the same understanding can now be spent on what matters: creating a solution.
Agile best practices agree. The project management philosophy has a core value of transparency, in which everyone has access to the same information. That also happens to be one of our core beliefs.
USING UPLEVEL TO KICKSTART EFFECTIVE CONVERSATIONS
Every team is unique, but engineers across the board run into common situations. Here are some examples of tricky situations and how the right data can start the conversation from a shared expectation, rather than gut feelings.
“I’m burned out.”
This often puts ICs in the position of proving that they have too much work. Uplevel gives clarity into a team’s work distribution and organizes active Jira and Git work in Project Explorer. To look beyond the workload and directly gauge burnout risk, consider the Uplevel metric of Always On.
→Always On: This Uplevel feature considers messaging, code repos, and meetings that occur beyond an 8-hour workday. The calculation adjusts to your custom working patterns every day—so even if you took a 2-hour lunch, you can still show that you worked 4 hours before and after, and still had additional work. It also looks at weekends, holidays, and your OOO days.
“I always have to work on bugs.”
Without visibility into all the work done by a team, it can be difficult to show how it breaks down by individual. Project Explorer finds this answer in a few clicks. The work activity dashboard can be filtered to show who is working on a certain project, or which projects are being worked on by a certain person.
→Project Explorer: This powerhouse pulls from all Jira and Git activity to show a running list of current workload. Users can filter by Person to show their tagged tickets, which are labeled with icons that denote the type of work. For this specific use case, an IC could filter by Bugs and see their distribution.
“Pull requests are spending too long in the dev phase.”
Managers and devs notice when PR cycle times are too long, but to consider each phase separately, this is a core metric best shown visually. A tool like Uplevel can analyze the typical time spent in each part of the cycle, which we break into four stages: Dev, Waiting for Review, Review, and Release.
→PR Cycle Time: This bar breaks the PR cycle into four phases and shows the median number of hours spent in each phase. At first glance, managers can identify the longest phase or compare the different phases to see if one is an outlier.
“I want to work more on [x].”
During 1:1s and career development conversations, ICs have the opportunity to state their long-term goals. If someone feels stagnant in their current role or aims to deepen an area of expertise, they’ll want a high-level view of the kind of work that typically claims their time.
→1:1 Report: Every team member gets a customized 1:1 Report with data from the past two weeks. Managers and ICs can arrive at the same meeting, whether it’s a check-in or a formal review, with the same big picture. You’ll see recent Epics, Jira ticket types, and PR activity that were assigned to the IC.
When we talk to Uplevel users, we often hear “I don’t know how I would’ve had this conversation without Uplevel.” We believe that we can make work lives easier by connecting both managers and their ICs with the same data. By aligning each side of the discussion with a shared understanding, they can relieve the pressure of sourcing truths, instead arriving prepared to take the next step.
To support your recurring meetings:
→ Empower 1:1s with the personalized 1:1 Report, updated every week to support effective check-ins and performance reviews.
→ Empower sprint retrospectives with Sprint Retro Insights, which gather work metrics, team feedback, and trend data to serve as a launchpad for process improvements.