Dec 07 12 min read

Velocity vs. GitPrime: How to Choose an Engineering Intelligence Tool

Velocity vs. GitPrime: How to Choose an Engineering Intelligence Tool

Natalie
Breuer

Velocity or GitPrime? Read a head-to-head analysis to decide which is best for your team.

In competitive markets, the viability of a business depends on engineering performance. In their 2020 study of 400+ enterprises across 12 industries, McKinsey concluded that engineering departments performing in the top quartile of the Developer Velocity Index (DVI) “outperform others in the market by four to five times.”

Historically, however, engineering has been a black box. The average company invests millions of dollars a year into the department, but most have no way of assessing the returns.

This is why many market-leading organizations, like Kickstarter, Gusto and VMWare, are starting to adopt Engineering Intelligence to get visibility into their software development workflows. Doing so has enabled them to effectively improve performance, boost Time to Market, and out-innovate competitors.

The two most popular engineering analytics platforms, Velocity and GitPrime (recently acquired by Pluralsight Flow), both offer transparency into engineering performance and process efficiency but differ in their approaches.

To help you make a decision about which approach to engineering metrics works best for your team, we put together a thorough head-to-head comparison of Velocity and GitPrime. Read the post through, or click on a link to skip to the section that’s most important to you.

Setting Up
Coaching
Tracking Progress
Goal Setting
Scope of Visibility
Surfacing Issues
Customization
Cost

Setting Up

Tl;dr: The setup process can be just as fast for both, GitPrime and Velocity, so you can be up and running as soon as your data imports.

First, you’ll want to know the time and effort it takes to get set up, so you can have an accurate expectation of how soon you’ll be up and running. Both analytics tools recognize the friction involved with process changes, so they’ve done their best to streamline this experience.

Velocity

Start setting up Velocity by first signing in with your GitHub or Bitbucket account. Once you’re in, you’ll be prompted to add your repositories, so you can start seeing your engineering data in the app.

GitPrime vs Velocity Repositories

GitPrime

GitPrime has a similar setup process. You start by creating a new GitPrime account and then setting up integrations with whichever Git or product management tools you might be using.

GitPrime vs Velocity Integrations

GitPrime supports more version control systems than Velocity, and each has a slightly different workflow. You can import repos accessible over HTTPS or SSH from any server, or use OAuth to connect to your GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket organization.

From there, you’ll also have to organize your data. You won’t be able to assign repos to applications, but you organize them by tag. Contributors can similarly be hidden from reports, merged or assigned to teams.

Coaching

Tl;dr: Velocity has a more robust set of coaching features than GitPrime. Whereas GitPrime offers a few metrics per developer, Velocity offers a 360 degree view that covers the day-to-day, week-to-week improvement, and long-term development.

A top priority that we often hear from organizations looking to invest in engineering analytics is the need to improve team and individual performance.

Velocity’s 360 reports combine all coaching features in one comprehensive report that provides a complete picture of developers’ and teams’ work habits. GitPrime reduces developer performance to a few key metrics, and offers more prescriptive guidelines.

Velocity

Velocity’s Developer360 report gives managers instant visibility into your developer’s active work, improvements along key metrics, and skills.

The report includes four tabs:

  • Snapshot shows what a developer is working on right now and the impact of that work. A manager can leverage this data to spot bottlenecks before they have significant, negative downstream effects.
  • Activity provides a visual summary of what an engineer has been working on over the past month. Many managers scan this report to see how an individual’s workload has changed over time and to ensure that work distribution matches their expectations.
  • Foundations depict how a member of your team is trending according to every critical Velocity metric. Incorporate this data into 1:1s and/or performance conversations to check your biases, come to a shared understanding of where strengths and weaknesses lie, and set quantitative, actionable goals.
  • Skills displays what coding languages a developer has been working with. This data can be helpful to glance over before a coaching session, so you can get a sense for an engineer’s language gaps and work with them to improve their expertise.
Velocity Developer360 screenshot

Velocity’s Developer360 report focuses on objective metrics and does not presume what they may indicate. We recommend Velocity for teams who are looking to avoid reductive metrics.

GitPrime

GitPrime has two main reports for coaching developers:

  • The Player Card, which is limited to performance along three key categories: the core metrics included in the Code, Review, and Submit Fundamentals. At a glance, a manager can see a contributor’s percentile performance, a work log of what an engineer has been working on, as well as how collaborative engineers are in the review process. This report can be used to inform 1:1s or quarterly reviews.
GitPrime Player Card screenshot
  • Snapshot, a report which plots contributors on a quadrant, based on their average throughput and churn. This report shows how the contributor compares to other engineers org-wide and offers feedback suggestions, based on where the engineer falls on the graph.

GitPrime’s coaching reports are a fit for leaders who desire suggestions towards specific action based on how a given contributor is performing relative to their peers. For those who prefer GitPrime’s more prescriptive approach to coaching, however, we recommend keeping in mind that metrics don’t always paint a full picture.

For example, if you look at PR Throughput on this graph, you’ll see how many changes a given developer has shipped in contrast to his or her team members. But a data point on the top right of the graph doesn’t include the context that many of the deploys were relatively small in impact.

Tracking Progress

Tl;dr: Both tools provide at-a-glance dashboards that let you see trends over weeks, months or quarters. Velocity provides more PR-related metrics and has a real-time view into how you’re doing this sprint. These metrics allow you to evaluate progress across projects, sprints, and cohorts, making it possible to implement high-level process changes that can fundamentally improve the way your team works. GitPrime has more contributor-based metrics, which make it more difficult to help your entire team improve together.

The same insights that previously required hours of digging through repos and countless 1:1s are available at-a-glance in both analytics tools. But each application tracks “progress” slightly differently. Where Velocity makes it easy to track process-level metrics like Push Volume and compare progress across teams and time periods, GitPrime prioritizes reports that track metrics by individual contributor.

Velocity

Velocity has two main features that allow for progress tracking:

  • Overview: This is the home dashboard, and it offers a summary of the progress your team has made over time, based on metrics like Impact, PRs Merged, or Push Volume. By pulling these together in one place, the Overview provides an at-a-glance look at the way your team’s progress is trending across a variety of metrics, so you can dig deeper into the ones that are most aligned with your goals.
GitPrime vs Velocity Agile Metrics Overview
  • Analytics: Every team works differently, which is why the Analytics feature is designed to give you the data you need most. Managers can create customized reports, slicing and dicing 50+ metrics available within the app to understand how various development behaviors have changed over time on an org, team, or individual level.
deploy volume trend line

Velocity makes it easier to do things like identify and learn from your highest-performing teams, or track the success of particular initiatives. For example, you might track new developers’ Deploy Volume to evaluate how they’re progressing with onboarding based on how much of their work is making it into the codebase. And if our standard reports don’t include the insights you need, you can use our customizable Analytics report to dig even deeper into your data.

Velocity’s progress tracking reports are most suitable for managers who interpret metrics as insights about the work, not the person.

GitPrime

GitPrime has its own report for progress tracking:

  • Project Timeline: This dashboard is similar to Velocity’s Overview dashboard, reporting work progress over time in terms of Impact, Commit Volume, Impact, and Velocity. The subtle difference is that instead of including a PR-related metrics, like Velocity’s PRs Merged, they look at Velocity, which they measure by number of valuable commits per person.
GitPrime vs Velocity Project Timeline

GitPrime’s Project Timeline report best complements a management style that prioritizes tracking contributor performance over PR- and process-related metrics.

Goal Setting

Tl;dr: Both applications include robust goal-setting features. The approaches differ in the types of goal-setting capabilities provided.

The goal of adopting an Engineering Intelligence tool is to use the greater visibility found in metrics to drive positive change in your organization.

Both Velocity and GitPrime include target-setting reports, but whereas Velocity tracks progress in terms of success rates, GitPrime tracks averages in their goal-setting system.

Since high-performance in engineering is critical to business success, you can use Velocity’s Targets feature to measure, improve, and communicate progress using objective metrics that support departmental initiatives. This report serves as concrete data to inform any OKR or KPI-related conversation, while the ability to drill-down into outliers enables team members to diagnose why targets aren’t met.

Velocity

Within Velocity’s Targets feature, executives, leaders, and front-line managers can build a dashboard of reports that visualize progress toward goals in terms of success rates or averages.

  • Targets: Velocity has a first-class, highly structured goal-setting system that goes beyond simple averages, with percentile-based OKR-style goals. To meet this type of goal, a target percent of data points must be above or below an agreed-upon benchmark. For example: Keep 95% of Pull Requests under 250 lines of code.
Velocity Targets Report

When setting a goal, many leaders find that tracking averages over time doesn’t properly represent the progress that’s being made toward that goal.

If you’re tracking PR size, for example, a single, long-running PR might obscure the dozens of PRs that moved quickly through the pipeline. If you’re tracking Review Speed, a single neglected review inaccurately suggests inefficiencies in the review process.

Thus, Velocity’s Targets report is tailored to engineering leaders who acknowledge anomalies and believe that it’s acceptable for a few data points to be outside an expected target.

GitPrime

Instead of success rates, GitPrime tracks averages in their goal-setting systems.

  • Fundamentals: The core of GitPrime’s product are four fundamental metrics that they assert are signals of productivity: Active Days, Commits per Day, Impact and Efficiency. They offer dashboards that show the 30-day average, industry benchmarks, and custom targets you can set.
GitPrime vs Velocity Active Days

GitPrime’s Fundamentals report is most compatible with managers who prefer the more common approach of tracking averages. However, it is important to note that if you have an outlier in your data — maybe one particularly complicated PR required a lot of back and forth in Code Review — that outlier will throw off your average. This can make it difficult to see the overall trend, and inaccurately suggest inefficiencies.

Scope of Visibility

Tl;dr: If you want to evaluate your process from end-to-end, you’re better off going with Velocity, which was built specifically for CD. Conversely, GitPrime was built for coding efficiency with an emphasis on Code Review and doesn’t include data from before a PR is opened and when it is merged.

While most of the industry is actively adopting Continuous Delivery, few have set up any way to measure their progress.

To optimize or adopt CD processes, organizations need a complete, end-to-end picture of their engineering processes. Concrete metrics, such as those found within Velocity and GitPrime, are a prerequisite for ensuring success in this transition.

Velocity

Velocity is the only application in its category to shine a light on the entire software development process. Key metrics you need when measuring CD include: Cycle Time, Deploy Volume, Time to Open, Time to Review, and Time to Merge, the majority of which are not available in GitPrime.

Velocity CD metrics

Our objective is to eventually incorporate data from every important tool that an engineer touches.

Teams looking to optimize each part of their software delivery pipeline, not just Code Review, are better off going with Velocity.

GitPrime

GitPrime was originally built to improve coding efficiency and has since built Code Review features as an add-on. This leaves important parts of the software delivery processes obscure–such as what happens before a PR is opened or after it is merged.

GitPrime Review Workflow Screenshot

Teams focused exclusively on optimizing their Code Review processes will benefit more from the granularity found in GitPrime’s Review Workflow report.

Surfacing Issues

Tl;dr: Velocity, with PR-related metrics at the core of the product, does a better job drawing attention (inside and outside of the app) to actual artifacts of work that could be stuck or problematic. GitPrime, with mostly people-focused metrics, draws attention to contributors who could be stuck or problematic.

Engineering is expected to continuously deliver business value to your organization, but a single bottleneck can hold up the entire team during any given sprint. The larger your team gets, the harder it becomes for you to discern what work is stuck in the pipeline and why.

Velocity and GitPrime take different approaches to identifying outliers or irregular work patterns.

Velocity

Velocity employs a variety of visualizations to help you find the root cause of any issue that might slow down your team:

  • Activity: This report displays the number and size of commits, merge commits, and PRs on a developer-by-developer or team-by-team basis over time. Scanning this page will enable you to see whether what developers are working on meets your expectations.
Velocity Activity tab screenshot
  • Pull Requests: This view keeps the WIP/contributor on top, but also shows you how far along each PR is from being merged. You can see at-a-glance which PRs are at-risk and who’s working on them. Click on an item to navigate to the original Pull Request in GitHub.
Pull Requests report screenshot

Your team is also able to spot issues outside the application through daily standup reports, available via email or Slack. Velocity, thus, isn’t an analytics tool for top-down management but for leaders wishing to keep the whole team on track.

GitPrime

GitPrime’s core product ties each issue to a contributor, which gives managers an easy way to determine who to go to when something goes wrong on a particular week or month. Only in the collaboration reports, available in higher tiers, is there insight into problematic work products, such as PRs.

Here’s where you’d look to find inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and stuck engineers:

  • Work Log: The work log is the application’s homepage. Similar to Velocity’s Activity Log, this page displays different types of work that a contributor produces. In addition to commits, merges, and PRs, they also display ticket comments, since GitPrime also offers an integration with JIRA.
GitPrime vs Velocity Work Log
  • Snapshot: This feature is basically an automated performance review of each contributor. It gives a summary of how their performance stacks up against their team members’, and plots them on a matrix that shows the speed (measured by Impact) and the quality (measured by Churn) of their work. A further breakdown can be seen below.
GitPrime vs Velocity Snapshot
  • Spot Check: This feature displays how contributor performance has increased or decreased as compared to the last week or last month. At-a-glance you can quickly spot abnormalities and know who to approach for more information.
GitPrime vs Velocity Spot Check

We recommend GitPrime for managers who prefer visibility into low-performance developers over visibility into stuck work.

Customization

Tl;dr: Velocity includes customizable reports that allow you ask questions of your data to derive more meaningful insights. GitPrime does not have custom reporting, but they do offer an API.

If you have unique requirements or track a unique metric, you might require a more flexible platform. Here’s how your two options compare.

Velocity

Velocity has an entire feature set dedicated to making the product more flexible for teams who work off the beaten path:

  • Analytics Report: Velocity exposes all of your Pull Request, Code Review and commits data for you to create custom reports. You simply pick your data set, determine how you want it summarized (by average, sum, etc.), and then how you’d like it displayed. You can choose from 9 different views, including line graphs, bar graphs, and area graphs.
Analytics report screenshot
  • Reports and Metric Permissions: Not all teams find the same analytics valuable, so Velocity gives users the ability to turn on and off whatever metrics or full features that they’d like. You can also control whether each metric can be segmented by team or individual, or only available at the organization level.
GitPrime vs Velocity Metrics Permissions
  • Contributor-wide, team-wide, or org-wide targets: Once you’re familiar with how your team performs week to week or month to month, you can set targets to push your team to improve along whatever criteria you’re prioritizing. You can attach tags and metadata to these targets, and they’ll be sent out to your team on a weekly basis.

Velocity is the best option for engineering organizations who’d like the flexibility to build any charts that aren’t already available out-of-the-box.

GitPrime

GitPrime does not have custom reporting, but they do offer an API in their Enterprise package for customers who have the resources to build out their own reports.

There is also portion of the application where users can set simple targets for the entire organization, teams, and contributors.

GitPrime is a good fit for customers who have the resources to build out their own reports.

Cost

Tl;dr: While pricing of the two products is competitive, GitPrime restricts more features in their lower tiers. Velocity offers more capabilities for less, and the flexibility of their platform allows for customizability irrespective of cost.

The two products do not differ much in terms of pricing, so if you’re operating within significant budget constraints, a built-it-yourself solution is probably most feasible. Otherwise, both products tier slightly differently, so make sure you’re getting the core features that are most important to your team.

Velocity

Velocity has four pricing packages based on team size, including a free option for teams of 10 or fewer. For teams of 10+, pricing starts at $449/seat per year. Each tier includes access to all metrics and reports (including the flexible Analytics report) and gives teams access to unlimited historical data.

The small and medium tiers are limited in number of repos (50 and 100, respectively), while the largest priced tier is not. The team reporting function, which lets you see metrics summarized on a team-by-team basis, is not available until the largest tier.

GitPrime

GitPrime has a more complex pricing system. They have 3 tiers with different features, and a sliding pricing scale, based on how many engineers are in your organization. Their pricing starts at $499, but they limit a lot of their features in the lower tiers.

The lowest tier does not include their “code review collaboration insights.” They also restrict the historical data they make available– 12 months for the first tier and 36 months for the second tier.

Different Strokes for Different Management Folks

Engineering excellence drives business performance. The teams that are excelling in the space are the ones that have the vernacular to talk about developer performance and the tools to improve it.

To this end, Velocity data serves three primary purposes. It’s used to:

  • Help improve team and developer performance,
  • Drive continuous improvement across engineering processes, and
  • Communicate engineering’s progress both within the department and to others in the organization.

Most importantly, Velocity has a few more tools to put your learnings into action. You can set up Slack and email alerts for irregular activity and you have a first-class targets system to encourage your team to improve.

Conversely, GitPrime’s main focus is individual performance, importing data from Git, which means their tool primarily works off of source-code level data, not collaborative work data.

GitPrime equips a manager to keep closer track of their engineers, so they have a clear idea of the strongest and weakest performers of the team. This approach is for hands-on managers who still want an active role in how their direct reports work.

If you still haven’t made up your mind, both products offer a two-week trial. Sign up for Velocity’s here.


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