3 Ways to Detect Bottlenecks in the Development Team

A strong development team is characterized by collaboration and a well-organized workflow. These features are crucial to not only complete important tasks but to also foster a synergistic working environment in which consistent progress is made as a whole team. Development teams rely on this consistency, and when it is interrupted, the disruption should be solved as soon as possible so teams can return to the execution of continuous improvement. These disruptions are called bottlenecks, and Pullpo is a great tool that helps developers identify and resolve these bottlenecks to get back on track!

What are bottlenecks?

In software development, bottlenecks refer to a point of congestion that slows down, or even restricts, the progress of a development team. Bottlenecks can occur at any stage in the development cycle and hinder the success of development teams on both the large and small scale. Large-scale bottlenecks can negatively impact productivity, customer relationship management, and the timely delivery of projects. Small-scale bottlenecks are more localized, meaning they affect specific tasks or developers. Regardless of scale, all bottlenecks should be detected as quickly as possible to minimize negative impacts on the development team.

3 Ways to Detect Bottlenecks

As mentioned above, bottlenecks must be identified and resolved quickly. Below are three ways to detect bottlenecks and how Pullpo aids in this detection and resolvement.

1. Analyze and measure metrics

Metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) used to evaluate the effectiveness of DevOps teams. Metrics are quantifiable, meaning they can be measured as a quantity or number, that indicates what changes must be made within the development team. DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) metrics are popular metrics used by DevOps teams to scale the quality of their performance and make improvements moving forward. There are four DORA metrics:

  1. Deployment frequency (DF) measures the frequency at which new code or code changes are deployed to production. It reflects the development team’s ability to quickly deliver effective services to clientele. Deployment frequency is measured by studying the number of deployments made to production in a specific time period. Teams can choose the time period, such as weekly, monthly, etc., that they would like to measure their deployment frequency and then count the number of deployments made within the time period. To calculate the DF, simply divide the number of deployments by the length of the time period. In general, higher development frequency indicates a stronger development process.
  2. Lead time for changes (LT) is the time it takes for new code or code changes to go from development to production.  It measures the start-to-finish time of a piece of code, encompassing all the activity that occurs between development and production. Teams analyze their lead time for change by averaging the lead time for multiple code changes over a specific time period. To calculate, add all of the lead times and divide by the number of all pull requests. Lower LT indicates a more responsive process.
  3. Mean time to recover (MTTR) is the average time it takes a development team to restore services and recover following an incident or disruption. To calculate, track the time between the incident initiation and the incident resolution. To calculate an average, keep track of multiple MTTRs and simply add them up and divide by the number of incidents. A lower MTTR displays a more effective response to adversity and risk.
  4. Change Failure Rate (CFR) measures the percentage of deployments that fail after being released to production. To calculate the CFR, identify the total number of changes over a time period and the failed changes over that same time. Then, divide the failed changes by the total changes. Lastly, multiply by 100 to determine the percentage. A lower CFR indicates a more reliable developmental process because minimal failure is occurring.

These four DORA metrics are essential to the success of a development team. Metrics help a team identify areas that need improvement, establish benchmarks of success, and reevaluate processes to achieve business goals.

Pullpo Insights measures your team's metrics for you, displaying your results clearly in comparison to goals. Pullpo calculates your metrics so you only need to spend time making adjustments within the development team. It is time efficient and allows development teams to focus on the most important tasks at hand. Below is an example of Pullpo’s calculations of important metrics:

Screenshot of Pullpo metrics.

2. Seek feedback from team members

Communication and feedback between team members is crucial for the success of the development team. Working so closely with systems and processes, individual team members catch bottlenecks quickly. When these bottlenecks are shared with the rest of the team, incidents are resolved quickly. Without a strong communication platform, team members are unable to share their discoveries of bottlenecks, obstructing the success of the team.

Pullpo Insights keeps track of development metrics and defines team objectives for development teams. When there is deviation from team goals, Pullpo recognizes this and automatically asks for feedback when metric objectives are not recognized. Team members are free to share their feedback on bottlenecks with other members, making everyone aware of the presence of a bottleneck. This feedback platform ensures that the bottleneck will not disrupt the workflow again because everyone is now on the same page. Pullpo’s automatic feedback not only helps teams identify bottlenecks, but prevent them from occurring in the future. Below is a screenshot of  Pullpo’s instant feedback:

Pullpo PR Channels also allows for this quick communication. When a team member wants a pull request reviewed by fellow members, Pullpo creates a Slack channel specific to this pull request. In this Slack channel, team members communicate effectively and efficiently, reducing LT and increasing DF. Moreover, Pullpo PR Channels ensure that all team members are aware of changes being made, minimizing confusion. Pullpo PR Channels foster the smooth workflow that is necessary to a development team’s success. Pullpo allows for Bottlenecks to be caught and handled swiftly. Below is an example of a Pullpo Slack Channel:

3. Monitor Workload and Skills Division

As with any worker, development team members can sometimes become overloaded and overwhelmed with work. When a member has too many tasks to complete, it is possible that mistakes will be made with writing code or during code review. This leads to an unintentional bottleneck that could have been avoided. Even better than detecting bottlenecks after they happen is avoiding them altogether. When developers are not overloaded, they can focus specifically and carefully at their tasks, decreasing the likelihood of bottlenecks.

Another simple but effective way of avoiding the presence of bottlenecks is properly assigning work comparative to skill. Members should work on what they feel most knowledgeable about, which will lead them to feel comfortable and overall, decrease the presence of bottlenecks.

Both Pullpo PR Channels and Insights help to monitor workload and skill division, preventing bottlenecks.


The fast detection of bottlenecks in the development team stops problems before they progress further and prevents them from occurring in the future. Pullpo tools help development teams keep consistency, prioritize customers, and communicate easily and comfortably.