The Polaris Advisor Program

Software Product Development Flow
Data & Actionable Insights
A diagram showing the  Company, Organization, Value Stream and Teams based scaling model

High Impact Technical Advisory

Full Service Advisory

Polaris Advisor is our full service advisory offering to help software companies implement a Continuous Improvement program with Ergonometrics™ and Continuous Measurement, powered by Polaris. 

It is the next stage in the evolution of the advisory programs we have been offering since 2011. 
Polaris helps us move from a pure advisory model to a hybrid engagement model with the self-service platform doing much of the heavy lifting of data and analytics and allowing us to focus the advisory work on showing you how to use the data it provides to improve the your processes, and run the program on your own.

The Polaris Advisor program starts with a concierge on-boarding that includes an initial assessment of your current product development process, and recommendations on where you need to focus your continuous improvement, a concrete iterative program to achieve targets, training for internal resources to build and run the program on their own, and ongoing monitoring, advice and engagement from us as needed to adapt the program over time.

Enterprise Programs

For larger companies with multiple value streams and organizations, Exathink can help you put together a strategic enterprise level continuous improvement program with custom analyses and reports to solve specific organizational or process pain points that may not directly be captured in the standard Polaris application

Polaris Advisor is an advisory program that helps you use real time data from your product development toolchains to make precise improvements to software product development flow.

You will benefit

If you have a team of 30 or more engineers, or are operating multiple teams of  8-10 engineers each.

If you are partially or fully remote (who isn't these days?)

If you outsource work to development partners and want more visibility and control over delivery practices.

If you are at any stage of the DevOps journey where you are still operating with a mix of manual and automated processes, have functional silos and handoffs, and would like to figure out how to systematically eliminate them to move towards continuous delivery.

Why do I need this?

If you don't have clear visibility into your development value streams, and the data that can actually identify what you need to change in order to get better, it is hard to improve anything.

We believe our unique approach to measurement is intuitive and effective for both engineers and managers, but it  requires a clear understanding of the principles of product development flow and how to use data to systematically eliminate waste and non-value added delays in your product development process.

Not all teams are well versed in this, and our advisory program helps you establish the right foundations for measurement.

Off the shelf engineering management platforms take a "one size fits all" approach to this and you can get simple, but wrong answers to what your true barriers to delivery are.

If your process consists of a mix of automated and manual steps, functional silos and multiple handoffs on the path to production,  the simplistic analytics from these tools will often have you focusing on the wrong sort of optimizations.

Optimizing the wrong thing is often worse than doing nothing at all.

The data needed to run the program can be instrumented from your delivery toolchain. But it is often not a trivial matter to extract actionable insights, since the data is often noisy and needs to be modeled and analyzed taking into account the specific context of your delivery process.

Polaris Advisor is a turnkey solution that blends advisory services, operational support and a highly configurable measurement and analytics platform to solve this problem for you.

We help you implement and run the right continuous improvement process for your company.

What is the Polaris Platform?

The Polaris Platform is an exceptionally easy, flexible and streamlined SaaS platform that takes care of the heavy lifting needed to produce the data and analytics needed to support such a program. Companies typically decide to build this infrastructure in an ad hoc fashion with custom integrations, spreadsheets and reports. There is a real cost to building and maintaining these over time. It takes away precious engineering resources, and it usually does not scale beyond a certain point.

30 minute setup

Polaris connects to most common work tracking and DevOps platforms, can complete an initial import of historical data in 30 minutes or less (even for large multi-project/repository setups). We can then help you model your processes with simple intuitive drag and drop interfaces in a few minutes and you can update the model, any time you update your process with a few clicks.

Passive Observation

Once connected, real-time measurement kicks in and Polaris passively observes your team as it works. From this point on, everyone on the team from executives to engineers to your Polaris Advisors, will have access to the same data updated in real time from granular observations of work as it moves through the product development pipeline.

Analytic dashboards, with full drill down capabilities to take you from an organization level metric down to the line of code, lets you truly understand the root causes of delays in your process.

Real time tools that lets teams monitor delays for each work in progress item as it moves from requirements through coding, testing and release, lets them find and eliminate non-value added delays as they happen.

It is truly a set-it-and-forget it platform once bootstrapped, and it will let you focus on managing the process rather than keeping spreadsheets from different sources in sync or trolling through obscure, outdated reports for insights.

What does the Advisor Program do?

The Advisor program will show you how to interpret and use the signals generated by Polaris  in the context of your company, to make your processes fast and predictable.  If you have not done this type of exercise before,  there is an art and a science to it, and we can help you bootstrap this at your company. 

We work with your executive leadership team as well as the product delivery engineering teams on the ground to understand the unique needs and dynamics of your company and culture, the specific areas where you want to focus on for continuous improvement and create the conditions for maximum success of your programs.

What does a typical engagement look like?

An initial engagement will run for  60-90 days. We typically pick one or two key areas to focus on initially: usually it is improving flow by reducing work in progress, increasing traceability of work and making latency in the entire process visible.

Our program has a very unique approach to effect these changes. We will have a good working baseline after 2-4 weeks of real time observations together with historical data.  It might take 45-60 days to scope and define a concrete action plan for near term improvement, though often things will move much faster. 

Once you see initial results, we help you build a longer term continuous improvement roadmap, focusing on key KPIs like Response Time, Quality, Alignment and Team Health and can either help train your internal team to operate the program, provide ongoing advice in partnership with you, or both.

We also offer an ongoing performance monitoring and independent assessment via the Quarterly Performance Review track in the program.

Polaris Advisor

Our goal is to become your trusted partner in helping you improve product development flow with actionable data and insights.