The Challenge

Following the merger of Grand Rounds Health and Doctor On Demand, Included Health was undergoing a transformation on multiple fronts, transitioning from a monolithic architecture to a microservices framework while adopting the DevOps model. However, efforts to merge teams, tools, and development processes were hindered by a lack of comprehensive data that would allow them to visualize their work, pinpoint bottlenecks, and effectively target areas for improvement.

The Solution

Choosing to work with Planview and leverage Planview Viz was a strategic decision for Included Health, motivated by their pursuit of achieving end-to-end visibility into their software delivery process. By harnessing the power of Planview Viz and its comprehensive metrics dashboard, Included Health was able to effectively measure and visualize value streams across all levels of the organization, enabling informed decision-making, greater transparency and communication between the Engineering team and the broader business, and a culture of continuous improvement.

“We started using the Flow Metric data with a few teams to measure and visualize value streams, allowing them to make decisions that resulted in small improvements. As they started seeing results, word spread, and we expanded to more teams throughout the organization. This led to really useful conversations on how to be more deliberate with our work.”

- Thanos Diacakis, Senior Staff Software Engineer

About Included Health

Based in San Francisco, CA, Included Health is on a mission to deliver better health outcomes and raise the standard of healthcare by partnering with health plans and employers to provide millions of people with a healthcare experience that is more personalized, equitable, affordable and cohesive. Whether a member needs care and support online, in or out of the home, Included Health is there to address every day and urgent needs including primary, specialty, and behavioral healthcare. It’s all included, under one inclusive platform.

Challenge: Leveraging data for better resource prioritization

After undergoing an acquisition and merger, Included Health found themselves needing a more data-driven approach to assess how they could improve the velocity of software delivery and improve their ability to identify and address bottlenecks efficiently. Additionally, they needed to understand how to best target improvement efforts.

According to Thanos Diacakis, Senior Staff Software Engineer at Included Health, “Everyone wants to be more data driven, but it was hard to know what was happening across the engineering organization without clear visualizations. And without any hard data, it was challenging to advocate for change and know where to push for improvements.”

The Included Health Engineering team’s ultimate goal was to increase flow velocity, reduce flow time, and demonstrate that an improvement in these metrics correlated with desired business outcomes.

Solution: Insight into Flow Metrics drive tech debt resolution and prioritization

Planview Viz became the preferred choice for Included Health to visualize and measure their work against business objectives. With the user-friendly dashboard interface that displays real-time Flow Metrics, the organization was able to gain a comprehensive view of the end-to-end delivery process.

Initially implemented with a few teams, the solution yielded data showing they had a high amount of work in progress and defect work, which enabled them to schedule time to catch up, clean up and make meaningful enhancements. This garnered support and led to the expansion of Planview Viz across the entire organization. With ongoing leadership endorsement, engineering managers embraced a data-driven approach to continuous improvement. This approach generated widespread enthusiasm among teams, with early adopters already experiencing positive results.

Access to Flow Metrics has been vital in tackling technical debt accumulation and aligning work priorities. By visualizing work distribution and understanding its impact on time to market and capacity for innovation, engineering teams can effectively communicate with leadership, fostering a shared understanding of the importance of addressing legacy platforms and resultant quality issues. These data-driven insights enable informed investments that align with business objectives, including improved velocity, addressing technical debt, and delivering features.

Results: Achieving maximum velocity by redistributing work priorities for optimal performance

While still in the adoption phase, Planview Viz has empowered Included Health to visualize and measure their entire software development lifecycle, enabling them to address technical debt, quality issues, and work in progress. Equipped with this valuable data, leaders have been able to make informed decisions, intentionally investing capacity and budget in clean-up, catch-up, and modernization to safeguard the platform's long-term health.

The newfound ability to see and measure the previously unquantifiable black box of Engineering has generated excitement among the leadership team, while the commitment to addressing technical debt has positively influenced job satisfaction and retention.

“Leveraging Flow Metrics has provided us with numerous opportunities for learning and course correction, resulting in improved product outcomes and better market fit. With Planview Viz, we obtain the metrics that truly matter, allowing us to shift the conversation with the business and effectively communicate with the leadership team. We can now showcase specific issue types, highlighting areas of potential and opportunities for improvement.”

- Thanos Diacakis, Senior Staff Software Engineer at Included Health

Continuing to expand value with Planview Viz

Included Health has only begun to tap into the vast capabilities of Planview Viz and looks forward to a comprehensive rollout of the solution across the organization.

“The next phase is for us to start showing some velocity increases across the board as some of the experiments we run succeed. If just one team increases velocity by 30%, that’s a huge win and a valuable metric we can use as we continue to grow.”

- Thanos Diacakis, Senior Staff Software Engineer at Included Health

More Case Studies

  • From Waste to Warp Speed: How a Leading Logistics Company Used VSM to Deliver a 29% Increase in Value

    View case study
  • Parchment

    Parchment – Rethinking Metrics: A Journey from Legacy Measures to Team Success

    View case study