Value stream analytics for groups

Introduced in GitLab 12.9 for groups.

Value stream analytics provides metrics about each stage of your software development process.

A value stream is the entire work process that delivers value to customers. For example, the DevOps lifecycle is a value stream that starts with the “manage” stage and ends with the “protect” stage.

Use value stream analytics to identify:

  • The amount of time it takes to go from an idea to production.
  • The velocity of a given project.
  • Bottlenecks in the development process.
  • Detecting long-running issues or merge requests.
  • Factors that cause your software development lifecycle to slow down.

Value stream analytics is also available for projects.

View value stream analytics

Version history

Prerequisite:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role to view value stream analytics for groups.
  • You must create a custom value stream. Value stream analytics only shows custom value streams created for your group.

To view value stream analytics for your group:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value stream.
  3. To view metrics for each stage, above the Filter results text box, select a stage.
  4. Optional. Filter the results:
    1. Select the Filter results text box.
    2. Select a parameter.
    3. Select a value or enter text to refine the results.
    4. To adjust the date range:
      • In the From field, select a start date.
      • In the To field, select an end date. The charts and list show workflow items created during the date range.
  5. Optional. Sort results by ascending or descending:
    • To sort by most recent or oldest workflow item, select the Merge requests or Issues header. The header name differs based on the stage you select.
    • To sort by most or least amount of time spent in each stage, select the Time header.

A badge next to the workflow items table header shows the number of workflow items that completed during the selected stage.

The table shows a list of related workflow items for the selected stage. Based on the stage you select, this can be:

  • CI/CD jobs
  • Issues
  • Merge requests
  • Pipelines

View metrics for each development stage

Version history

Value stream analytics shows the median time spent by issues or merge requests in each development stage.

To view the median time spent in each stage by a group:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value stream.
  3. Optional. Filter the results:
    1. Select the Filter results text box.
    2. Select a parameter.
    3. Select a value or enter text to refine the results.
    4. To adjust the date range:
      • In the From field, select a start date.
      • In the To field, select an end date.
  4. To view the metrics for each stage, above the Filter results text box, hover over a stage.

View the lead time and cycle time for issues

Value stream analytics shows the lead time and cycle time for issues in your groups:

  • Lead time: Median time from when the issue was created to when it was closed.
  • Cycle time: Median time from first commit to issue closed. GitLab measures cycle time from the earliest commit of a linked issue’s merge request to when that issue is closed. The cycle time approach underestimates the lead time because merge request creation is always later than commit time.

To view the lead time and cycle time for issues:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value stream.
  3. Optional. Filter the results:
    1. Select the Filter results text box.
    2. Select a parameter.
    3. Select a value or enter text to refine the results.
    4. To adjust the date range:
      • In the From field, select a start date.
      • In the To field, select an end date.

The Lead Time and Cycle Time metrics display below the Filter results text box.

View lead time for changes for merge requests

Introduced in GitLab 14.5.

Lead time for changes is the median duration between when a merge request is merged and when it’s deployed to production.

To view the lead time for changes for merge requests in your group:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value stream.
  3. Optional. Filter the results:
    1. Select the Filter results text box.
    2. Select a parameter.
    3. Select a value or enter text to refine the results.
    4. To adjust the date range:
      • In the From field, select a start date.
      • In the To field, select an end date.

The Lead Time for Changes metrics display below the Filter results text box.

View number of successful deployments

DORA API-based deployment metrics for value stream analytics for groups were moved from GitLab Ultimate to GitLab Premium in 14.3.

To view deployment metrics, you must have a production environment configured.

Value stream analytics shows the following deployment metrics for your group:

  • Deploys: The number of successful deployments in the date range.
  • Deployment Frequency: The average number of successful deployments per day in the date range.

To view deployment metrics for your group:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value stream.
  3. Optional. Filter the results:
    1. Select the Filter results text box.
    2. Select a parameter.
    3. Select a value or enter text to refine the results.
    4. To adjust the date range:
      • In the From field, select a start date.
      • In the To field, select an end date.
note
The date range selector filters items by the event time. This is the time when the currently selected stage finished for the given item.

The Deploys and Deployment Frequency metrics display below the Filter results text box.

Deployment metrics are calculated based on data from the DORA API.

note
In GitLab 13.9 and later, metrics are calculated based on when the deployment was finished. In GitLab 13.8 and earlier, metrics are calculated based on when the deployment was created.

How value stream analytics aggregates data

Version history
  • Introduced in GitLab 14.5 with a flag named use_vsa_aggregated_tables. Disabled by default.
  • Filter by stop date toggle added in GitLab 14.9
  • Data refresh badge added in GitLab 14.9
  • Filter by stop date toggle removed in GitLab 14.9
  • Enable filtering by stop date added in GitLab 15.0

Value stream analytics uses a backend process to collect and aggregate stage-level data, which ensures it can scale for large groups with a high number of issues and merge requests. Due to this process, there may be a slight delay between when an action is taken (for example, closing an issue) and when the data displays on the value stream analytics page.

It may take up to 10 minutes to process the data and display results. Data collection may take longer than 10 minutes in the following cases:

  • If this is the first time you are viewing value stream analytics and have not yet created a value stream.
  • If the group hierarchy has been re-arranged.
  • If there have been bulk updates on issues and merge requests.

To view when the data was most recently updated, in the right corner next to Edit, hover over the Last updated badge.

How value stream analytics measures stages

Value stream analytics measures each stage from its start event to its end event.

For example, a stage might start when a user adds a label to an issue, and ends when they add another label. Items aren’t included in the stage time calculation if they have not reached the end event.

Value stream analytics allows you to customize your stages based on pre-defined events. To make the configuration easier, GitLab provides a pre-defined list of stages that can be used as a template

Each pre-defined stages of value stream analytics is further described in the table below.

Stage Measurement method
Issue The median time between creating an issue and taking action to solve it, by either labeling it or adding it to a milestone, whichever comes first. The label is tracked only if it already has an issue board list created for it.
Plan The median time between the action you took for the previous stage, and pushing the first commit to the branch. The first commit on the branch triggers the separation between Plan and Code. At least one of the commits in the branch must contain the related issue number (for example, #42). If none of the commits in the branch mention the related issue number, it is not considered in the measurement time of the stage.
Code The median time between pushing a first commit (previous stage) and creating a merge request (MR) related to that commit. The key to keep the process tracked is to include the issue closing pattern in the description of the merge request. For example, Closes #xxx, where xxx is the number of the issue related to this merge request. If the closing pattern is not present, then the calculation uses the creation time of the first commit in the merge request as the start time.
Test The median time to run the entire pipeline for that project. It’s related to the time GitLab CI/CD takes to run every job for the commits pushed to that merge request. It is basically the start->finish time for all pipelines.
Review The median time taken to review a merge request that has a closing issue pattern, between its creation and until it’s merged.
Staging The median time between merging a merge request that has a closing issue pattern until the very first deployment to a production environment. If there isn’t a production environment, this is not tracked.

Example workflow

This example shows a workflow through all seven stages in one day.

If a stage does not include a start and a stop time, its data is not included in the median time. In this example, milestones have been created and CI/CD for testing and setting environments is configured.

  • 09:00: Create issue. Issue stage starts.
  • 11:00: Add issue to a milestone, start work on the issue, and create a branch locally. Issue stage stops and Plan stage starts.
  • 12:00: Make the first commit.
  • 12:30: Make the second commit to the branch that mentions the issue number. Plan stage stops and Code stage starts.
  • 14:00: Push branch and create a merge request that contains the issue closing pattern. Code stage stops and Test and Review stages start.
  • GitLab CI/CD takes 5 minutes to run scripts defined in .gitlab-ci.yml.
  • 19:00: Merge the merge request. Review stage stops and Staging stage starts.
  • 19:30: Deployment to the production environment finishes. Staging stops.

Value stream analytics records the following times for each stage:

  • Issue: 09:00 to 11:00: 2 hrs
  • Plan: 11:00 to 12:00: 1 hr
  • Code: 12:00 to 14:00: 2 hrs
  • Test: 5 minutes
  • Review: 14:00 to 19:00: 5 hrs
  • Staging: 19:00 to 19:30: 30 minutes

There are some additional considerations for this example:

  • This example demonstrates that it doesn’t matter if your first commit doesn’t mention the issue number, you can do this later in any commit on the branch you are working on.
  • The Test stage is used in the calculation for the overall time of the cycle. It is included in the Review process, as every MR should be tested.
  • This example illustrates only one cycle of the seven stages. The value stream analytics dashboard shows the median time for multiple cycles.

How value stream analytics identifies the production environment

Value stream analytics identifies production environments by looking for project environments with a name matching any of these patterns:

  • prod or prod/*
  • production or production/*

These patterns are not case-sensitive.

You can change the name of a project environment in your GitLab CI/CD configuration.

Create a value stream with GitLab default stages

Introduced in GitLab 13.3

When you create a value stream, you can use GitLab default stages and hide or re-order them to customize. You can also create custom stages in addition to those provided in the default template.

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value Stream.
  3. Select Create new Value Stream.
  4. Enter a name for the value stream.
  5. Select Create from default template.
  6. Customize the default stages:
    • To re-order stages, select the up or down arrows.
    • To hide a stage, select Hide ().
  7. To add a custom stage, select Add another stage.
    • Enter a name for the stage.
    • Select a Start event and a Stop event.
  8. Select Create value stream.
note
If you have recently upgraded to GitLab Premium, it can take up to 30 minutes for data to collect and display.

Create a value stream with custom stages

Version history

When you create a value stream, you can create and add custom stages that align with your own development workflows.

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value Stream.
  3. Select Create value stream.
  4. For each stage:
    • Enter a name for the stage.
    • Select a Start event and a Stop event.
  5. To add another stage, select Add another stage.
  6. To re-order the stages, select the up or down arrows.
  7. Select Create value stream.

Label-based stages for custom value streams

To measure complex workflows, you can use scoped labels. For example, to measure deployment time from a staging environment to production, you could use the following labels:

  • When the code is deployed to staging, the workflow::staging label is added to the merge request.
  • When the code is deployed to production, the workflow::production label is added to the merge request.

Label-based value stream analytics stage

Edit a value stream

Introduced in GitLab 13.10.

After you create a value stream, you can customize it to suit your purposes. To edit a value stream:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value Stream.
  3. In the top right, select the dropdown list, and select a value stream.
  4. Next to the value stream dropdown list, select Edit.
  5. Optional:
    • Rename the value stream.
    • Hide or re-order default stages.
    • Remove existing custom stages.
    • To add new stages, select Add another stage.
    • Select the start and end events for the stage.
  6. Optional. To undo any modifications, select Restore value stream defaults.
  7. Select Save Value Stream.

Delete a value stream

Introduced in GitLab 13.4.

To delete a custom value stream:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value Stream.
  3. In the top right, select the dropdown list and then select the value stream you would like to delete.
  4. Select Delete (name of value stream).
  5. To confirm, select Delete.

Delete value stream

View number of days for a cycle to complete

Version history

The Total time chart shows the average number of days it takes for development cycles to complete. The chart shows data for the last 500 workflow items.

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Analytics > Value stream.
  3. Above the Filter results box, select a stage:
    • To view a summary of the cycle time for all stages, select Overview.
    • To view the cycle time for specific stage, select a stage.
  4. Optional. Filter the results:
    1. Select the Filter results text box.
    2. Select a parameter.
    3. Select a value or enter text to refine the results.
    4. To adjust the date range:
      • In the From field, select a start date.
      • In the To field, select an end date.

Type of work - Tasks by type chart

Introduced in GitLab 12.10.

This chart shows a cumulative count of issues and merge requests per day.

This chart uses the global page filters for displaying data based on the selected group, projects, and time frame. The chart defaults to showing counts for issues but can be toggled to show data for merge requests and further refined for specific group-level labels.

By default the top group-level labels (max. 10) are pre-selected, with the ability to select up to a total of 15 labels.