What is New work vs. other work?

Tags: Flow

Flow breaks work types into four metrics:

  • New work tracks new code that doesn't replace other code.
  • Legacy refactor tracks old code that gets updates or edits.
  • Help others tracks when a developer modifies someone else’s recent work.
  • Rework tracks recent work that’s rewritten or deleted.

Recent work for Helps others and Rework is any code less than three weeks old.

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New work

New work measures how much novel code is written over time.

The ideal target for New work depends on what phase a product and business are in. For example, it’s normal for a growing company to aim for more than 50% of their work to be New work, which is indicative of forward progress.

The leader in New work is also often the leader in Rework.

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Legacy refactor

Legacy refactor is the process of paying down on technical debt.

As codebases age, some percentage of developer attention is required to maintain the code and keep things current. The challenge is that team leads need to properly balance this kind of work with creating new features: it’s bad to have high technical debt, but it’s even worse to have a stagnant product.

Traditionally, Legacy refactor is difficult to see. New feature development often implies re-working old code, so these activities are not as clear cut as they might seem in Scrum meetings.

This balancing act is not something that should be done in the dark, particularly when it’s vital to the success of the whole company.

Objectively tracking the percentage of time engineers spend on new features vs. application maintenance helps maintain a proper balance of forward progress with long-term codebase stability.

Experienced developers tend to have the highest Legacy refactor.

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Help others

Help others describes how much an engineer has replaced another engineer's code that’s less than 3 weeks old.

Experienced developers tend to have the highest Help others.

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Rework is the percentage of code that's rewritten or deleted shortly after it’s written.

Learn more about Rework.

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