Reality… average velocity changes throughout a project. For any number of reasons—level of work, its difficulty, spikes, staff changes, holidays, etc. No two sprints are the same in terms of content so it’s not reasonable to expect velocity to stay the same from one sprint to another. Therefore, it can’t be the only variable to use to predict your final sprint.
Backlog changes too. This is normal. It just makes project tracking difficult unless you have a tool like NextWave ScrumMaster™.
Reading Mick Cohn’s article, Alternative Release Burndown Chart, reminded us why we designed the interactive ScrumMaster™ Burndown graph to project and handle backlog, velocity, and end dates the way we did.
As Mike points out,
“For example, suppose a team had expected to make progress of 40 hours, points (or whatever) last sprint, but the burndown chart only shows net progress of 10. Was the team slower than expected, or was more work added to the release?
It’s important to know the answer to this question, because we cannot really predict when the release will be done without it.”
Absolutely, and Mike shows you how to handle it using Excel.
Or, you can let ScrumMaster do the work for you and then some. As you can see in the video, ScrumMaster automatically projects your ending sprint. It also shows you when, where, and how your backlog grew.
If you are using ScrumMaster, here’s how it differs from Mike’s Alternative Burndown Chart.
- Projections to finish date are simpler… and ScrumMaster does it all.
- Want to see the trend line to project finish? Choose the Average velocity menu option and you get the classic projection.
- Backlog is automatically adjusted at each Retrospective (purple dotted line). You don’t have to add anything.
- All task work is color-coded, Original work plus any new work (Added tasks, Issues found, Software bug, Spike, Technical debt, Meetings). There’s a ScrumMaster Report that tracks and analyses Backlog by type, by sprint.
- You can select confidence levels for velocity and backlog estimates, to make automatic percentage adjustments to the projected ending sprint. The greatest impact is usually seen early in the project cycle.
The interactive Burndown graph shows your project’s last sprint.
Make sense? Give us a shout if you have any questions or comments.
Agile. Scrum. Project management. When does this project finish?!!
As scrum masters and project managers, we live in the future as we constantly try to predict it. If you’re already using ScrumMaster™, we sincerely hope it’s a tool that’s made your life easier.
If you’re new to ScrumMaster, this video shows you how to use NextWave ScrumMaster’s interactive Burndown graph to estimate when a project will finish.
How To video demo: Use interactive Burndown graph to estimate project end dates.
Closed captions (CC) can be turned on in the player. The video transcript is here to download if you need it for translation.
Like it? Let us know what you think!
Are backlog, sprints, stand ups and retrospectives part of your daily life? Help build the community! Follow us know so we know where we can follow you. Send us a Tweet: @NextWaveScrum
Project planning, resources, and reality.
Dilbert needs help. Dilbert needs ScrumMaster™. 😉
How long will your project take?
Using ScrumMaster’s interactive burndown chart, change Target Velocity (two people’s worth?) to see impact on end date.
ScrumMaster’s Burndown graph is dynamic. Make a change to Target Velocity and a new end date displays.
Make confidence adjustments, +/- 0-20%
What is the likelihood that ‘The Boss’ (or dev realities) will add more backlog?
Take a snapshot of the Burndown graph or export the results as Project Status or Burndown reports.
ScrumMaster Project Reports export to Word, Excel, and PDF formats… ready for you to customize to best suit your needs.
Now add back the new team member complexity and drama factors!
A Burndown graph like you’ve never seen it before!
ScrumMaster puts a powerful forecasting tool at your finger tips. The Backlog graph not only shows you where you are (work completed against future work scoped), you can change a key assumption to see how that change will impact the future end date or Velocity.
What’s your finish date? Use ScrumMaster Burndown graphs to project into the future.
1. Here is your current project status. The main graph displays the completed story points against the projected burndown velocity, and the story points remaining.
Now ask, “What if…?”
Tap the arrow buttons to expand your choices.
2. Change key assumptions that affect end date—watch it change before your eyes:
- Based on future velocity
- A specific delivery date
3. How confident are you in this Velocity estimate? (+/- 0% to 15%)
4. How confident are you about the volatility of the ‘Backlog remaining’ estimate? (+/- 0% to 20%)
5. Here are the cost projections based on the assumptions selected above. Results are calculated from the project details you set (number of team members whose work actively reduces the Backlog, average hourly cost, and sprint definitions) and the future velocity you selected.