Feature Focus: Continuous Improvement Tracker

Are you tired of feeling lost in a maze when it comes to governing your application portfolio? Like a person wandering through a labyrinth, you navigate through complex systems without a clear sense of direction or progress. You have a general idea of where you want to go, but you lack a tangible roadmap and a way to measure your progress. CAST Highlight’s new capability, the Continuous Improvement Tracker, creates a clear path through your portfolio governance journey. Learn how the capability works in this article.

Think of the Continuous Improvement Tracker as your application ‘control tower’ operator, helping you set metric-based milestones and track your progress over time. You can define specific targets, such as reducing the number of critical vulnerabilities across your applications by the end of June 2023, or increasing your Software Resiliency score by 20 points by the end of this year. With these milestones in mind, the Continuous Improvement Tracker acts as a guide, providing you with the necessary data and insights to stay on track and achieve your objectives.

The Continuous Improvement Tracker also serves as a coach, pushing you to become better and more efficient in your software practices. Just like a coach helps you refine your skills and overcome obstacles, the Continuous Improvement Tracker helps you identify areas that require improvement and take proactive measures to address them. As you progress towards your milestones, the Continuous Improvement Tracker celebrates your successes and helps you set new targets for even greater achievements. Here is how the capability works in CAST Highlight.

To create a new milestone, from the Dashboards menu, select Improvement Tracker, click on the “Create Milestone” button. A modal opens with a few settings to define:

  • Name of the milestone
  • The CAST Highlight metric that will be tracked (e.g., number of critical vulnerabilities, Cloud Maturity roadblocks, Software Resiliency score, etc.)
  • Target metric value (e.g., if we don’t want any critical vulnerabilities across the applications, we would set 0 as the target value for this metric)
  • Target date of the milestone (i.e., deadline to achieve the milestone)

Once you set these options, the milestone preview on the left lets you visualize how it will look once created. When ready, click “Create”. Your milestone is created and listed in the Continuous Improvement Tracker dashboard.

Ongoing milestones are visible as cards across four columns, à la Kanban, so that you can easily see milestone status:

  • Behind Schedule (dark grey)
  • Track Closely (red)
  • Monitor (yellow)
  • On Track (green)

Milestone status is calculated based on both the remaining time (start date vs. end date) and metric progress (current metric value vs. target value). You can visit this page for more details on the formula (a: gap between start metric value and end metric value, t: gap between start and end dates).

Clicking on “Show Progress” displays the evolution of the corresponding metric over time against the milestone metric target. Clicking on “Show Apps to Improve” will list applications that have not reached the target yet and are ideal candidates for achieving the milestone.

In addition to active/ongoing milestones, completed and overdue milestones (i.e., the milestone end date is in the past) are also listed in the two tables beneath the Kanban cards.

Finally, at the application level, the “Improvement Tracker” tab lists ongoing and past milestones for which the application contributes depending on the corresponding milestone status.

On a personal note as a Product Manager, we really enjoyed implementing this capability as we believe it will definitely help Portfolio Managers put CAST Highlight KPIs in motion across their organization and ease Software Intelligence adoption, especially when combined with the discussion threads capability.