6th Sense Analytics demoed an on-demand tool for gathering performance metrics in software development projects. 6th Sense measures active time (time spent coding, testing, debugging) and flow time (uninterrupted periods of active time of at least 20 minutes). A data collector integrates with the leading development tools and sensors collect the data, which is pushed to 6th Sense's on demand service.
"6th Sense provides visibility into distributed software projects," Todd Olson, CTO of 6th Sense told me. "Developers can self-manage, seeing what they are doing and make adjustments." He gave an example of the analytics showing a significant amount of time spend doing builds. Applying more powerful computers to cranking out builds faster led to more developer productivity without a major cost other than buying some Intel Duo Core systems. The service also can reveal information about tool adoption, best practices and project completion estimation.
The monitoring will seem intrusive to some developers, who don't want their idle time or work habits revealed. Olson said the issue comes up in initial conversations, but just saving time in filling out time sheet and eliminating other busy work helps to overcome the spying objections. 6th Sense also can aggregate anonymous data from subscribers to reveal trends, such as the most popular development tools.
The service has been available since mid-2006, but recently added some new features, such as pre-built reports. Currently, the company has about 300 subscribers, at $960 per year.