What is GitPrime?
Any software developer or engineer who has spent time on a development project or mobile application is almost guaranteed to be familiar with GitHub. Not to be confused with Git (a local version control system used to track source code history), GitHub is perhaps the world's most popular Git repository hosting service. GitHub enables developers and engineers the ability to track and share Git version control projects beyond a computer or server.
While exceptionally popular and effective, especially with open-source projects, GitHub does not excel at analytics, reporting, or overall project progress. That's where solutions and services such as GitPrime fill the gap.
GitPrime was founded in 2014 and is one of the more popular and widely used engineer intelligence tools, although it faces strong competition in its sector. This article will look at what GitPrime is, along with some pros and cons. It is important to note that GitPrime is now known as Pluralsight Flow. Pluralsight bought GitPrime in 2019. For the context of this article, we will remain focused on GitPrime as the main topic.
What is GitPrime?
GitPrime is a cloud-based productivity and analytics solution that analyzes data from multiple Git-based repositories. These repositories include the well-known GitHub along with other popular choices such as GitLab or BitBucket. The data and analytics that GitPrime compiles offer software development companies of any size insights into their software projects. These insights include progress, productivity, and workflows using metrics, graphs, or key performance indicators (KPI).
GitPrime shines at viewing a project's commits, activity, pull requests, and merge requests through a dashboard interface. This tool helps software engineers optimize and streamline efforts, specifically across a large or complex software development project. GitPrime accomplishes this by focusing on five developer metrics.
Lead Time - The lead time is the period between when a project begins to when it's completed or delivered to the customer. Historical lead time data help predict a given team's performance development time and expected project duration.
Churn - Within the code base, churn is the amount of modification done to the lines of code for a project. Tracking churn within the codebase helps managers ensure code quality.
Impact - Almost a direct correlation to churn, impact measures the effect that changes to the codebase have on a software development project. Impact helps measure the developers who make the code changes and their individual workload.
Active Days - Simply put, an active day is a day that a developer or engineer contributed to the development project. A contribution could include writing or reviewing lines of code, problem-solving, or bug fixes. Tracking active days also shows the impact that non-active days have on a project, including meetings and planning, which come at the cost of productivity.
Efficiency - Something of a subset of active days, efficiency tracks the productiveness of a code contribution. Efficiency focuses on quality vs. quantity as well as the longevity of added code.
From an analytical and management perspective, GitPrime falls under the category of Engineer Intelligence. This ideal follows the principles of Business Intelligence, only, in this case, the focus is on performance and return on investment for software engineering. Engineer intelligence tools provide reports and metrics for software engineers and managers.
Cloud-based solutions, such as GitPrime, highlight areas that include development trends, developer performance, milestones, goals, and potential roadblocks or bottlenecks. For many companies, software engineering is an expensive department or investment. GitPrime offers transparency into performance and efficiencies for engineering and processes or the lack thereof.
Pros of Using GitPrime
As a management and analytics tool for software engineers, one of the positive aspects of the solution is the ability to get a team quickly up and running. GitPrime is compatible with many Git-based repositories. Account set-up and data import from Git-based repositories are relatively simple and straightforward.
Once a team has access to GitPrime, it proves to be an excellent collaboration tool. The collaboration proves especially effective with large or entirely virtual teams. GitPrime measures work completed, which helps software engineers measure contributor impact to the project. Two main data points are commits per day and how long the review period takes for pull requests. The performance visualization from the dashboard adds transparency and insight at any stage of the development lifecycle.
Cons of Using GitPrime
GitPrime does a great job of providing software engineers a top-down view of an entire software development project. It has excellent goal-setting features, including individual contributor performance across several metrics, including code and review. Both team-based and individual data allow software engineers to validate performance using substantive measures.
Because of the top-down nature and contributor-focused analytical data, GitPrime tends to be more valuable to software engineers than active developers on a given project. At times, there's been lukewarm buy-in from developers to learn the tool in addition to their development responsibilities.
Software engineers or managers run the risk of relying too heavily on the metrics and data provided by GitPrime. The raw data may not tell the whole story and create potentially unnecessary alarms within the team when productivity in a project drops (paid time off, for example). However, to get the most out of GitPrime, managers are almost required to be engaged due to the lack of external notifications or alerts.
GitPrime offers a robust suite of reports and analytical measures. However, the ability to customize or create custom reports is one area that's lacking. Depending on the software scope or size, this could render GitPrime unsuitable for some projects.
Perhaps most notable is the cost-prohibitive nature of the monthly service fee to use GitPrime. The price is a big ask for smaller developers or companies and is potentially too steep depending on budgetary constraints. There are no pricing levels or ala carte options, nor does the pricing reflect or scale with project size and scope. Despite the many analytical benefits GitPrime provides, not all software projects can afford the engineering intelligence tool.
GitPrime (now Pluralsight Flow) offers software engineers and managers the metrics, performance, and analysis needed to gain insight into the overall progress of a development project. Additionally, GitPrime provides the overarching view of an engineering team, allowing more prominent companies that spend well into the millions the kind of oversight that was until recently not available. Developer metrics or engineer intelligence is a relatively new offshoot of the well-established business intelligence sector.
Optimizing and streamlining performance and developer contribution is enormous for development staff or projects large and small. That is the benefit provided by GitPrime. If your software development project uses Git-based version control and collaboration tools - and it's hard to envision a project that doesn't - the analytics and insight provided by GitPrime is nearly a necessity.
There are certainly a few drawbacks to GitPrime, with the primary one being the somewhat rigid pricing structure offered, no matter the size of the business or project. Tight budgets or small development teams may not be able to afford GitPrime, or they might not get the return on their investment.
Using GitPrime with a Git-based repository provides far more benefits, especially for managers, than not using an engineering intelligence solution. GitHub goes together with GitPrime. It's never too late to learn GitHub, and CBT Nuggets has the training material to help. Our course, Learn GitHub, is perfect for those just getting started or seasoned developers looking to brush up on their GitHub knowledge.
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