Practice Continuous Learning & Improvement with

Trends & Insights

With the relentless growth in the number of developers, code bases, and repositories most organizations declare victory if their build and test metrics stay flat over time since some level of regression is often the norm. It is difficult to get ahead of the problems because most organizations are stuck in reactive modetroubleshooting the most recent critical bug that is blocking development or mitigating the most impactful flaky test or performance regression. Nothing is learned from these incidents and little data is collected that would be helpful in resolving  similar failures down the road because developers are consumed putting out fires.

While Gradle Enterprise provides solutions for these relatively tactical daily failures, it also provides a platform to respond proactively to systemic problems and longer-term performance regressions.  It does this by providing Trends & Insights that make key metrics and KPIs more observable and actionable.

Benefits of Continuous Learning and Improvement

Trends & Insights enable development teams to take a proactive posture by providing performance and reliability baselines and observability of anomalies. Since you can’t improve what you are not measuring, Trends & Insights provide a foundation for building an always-learning and continuous-improvement culture.

Trend & Insights solution components include Build & Test Failure Trends for Local and CI Builds, Build & Test Performance Trends for Local and CI Builds and Data Exports

Key Solution Components

Build & Test Failure Trends for Local and CI Builds

Gradle Enterprise can chart trends of build and test stability broadly (e.g. across your entire organization) or very precisely (e.g. an exact error message for a single project, build agent, and git branch). Should a problem ever reoccur, historical data will quickly show you the timeline and failure patterns to dramatically speed up resolution time.

Gradle Enterprise screenshot showing flaky test and build failure trends.

Build and test reliability trends tell you when things break so you can proactively and quickly fix problems.

Build & Test Performance Trends for Local and CI Builds

The Build & Test Performance Trends dashboard generates and provides intuitive visualizations of several key performance metrics. For the first time you can get quick access to some fundamental data points, such as:

Number of builds executed over a specified time period and aggregated build execution time

Serial execution time (for assessing the strength of your parallelism implementation) 

Savings from the cache and cache overhead

Dependency download time

 Gradle Enterprise screenshot of a performance trend chart which shows improved Gradle build cache effectiveness.

The performance dashboard allows you to identify slow builds then compare them to healthy ones in order to avoid unnecessary developer waiting.

All of this can be filtered for arbitrary subsets of builds. For example, you can filter by specific user, specific projects, CI builds, CI builds from a specific branch, CI builds of a particular type, Local builds with changes not yet committed to version control and many other criteria.

With ready access to these metrics you can easily derive additional metrics and KPIs of interest like the total developer wait time for local or pull request builds to complete and associated aggregate costs. You can also compare metrics between different locations and different hardware configurations. 

In practical terms, it’s easy to quantify the value of wasted R&D investment due to unnecessarily slow builds or the value of shaving one minute off the average build time in terms of engineering years or additional R&D budget. For even a moderate-sized project these numbers are often eye popping. This feature set is further augmented by the performance profiling capabilities provided by the Gradle Enterprise Build Cache and Distributing Testing solution.

You can also see the performance trend for every test class and every test method or test method subset. And you can filter by the same powerful criteria to find, for example, differences between locations or hardware configurations.

Gradle Enterprise screenshots of build count trends and build performance trends.

Modern software teams run millions of builds per month. Small improvements add up to massive productivity gains.

Here is a real world example of the impact of an always learning continuous improvement culture at Elastic. The Gradle Enterprise Build & Test Performance Trends dashboard revealed an anomalous regression in execution time for test classes starting around January 13.  This launched an investigation and the remediation was in place by January 28. You can see that the new baseline not only validated the fix, but demonstrated that the impact of the fix was to improve the performance compared to the original baseline.

Gradle Enterprise screenshot showing an anomalous performance regression and resolution at Elastic.

It is easy to detect and track anomalous performance regressions and visualize their resolution.

Data Exports

Gradle Data Exports features a streaming export API so that metric, KPI and other Gradle Enterprise data can be easily integrated with BI/reporting tools and monitoring systems. For example, some companies use Tableau as their system of record for management reporting and bring in data from Gradle Enterprise and other systems to consolidate reporting. 

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