Another Alternative Burndown Chart


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.
Estimating Agile Project End Dates

The interactive Burndown graph shows your project’s last sprint.

Make sense?  Give us a shout if you have any questions or comments.

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NextWave ScrumMaster™: Estimating Ending Sprint for Agile Projects


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.

NextWave ScrumMaster Video: Estimating Agile Project End Dates

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

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Dilbert on Project Management


Project planning, resources, and reality.

Dilbert on 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.

Dynamic Burndown Target Velocity Analysis

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?
Estimating Backlog Variables

Report out

Take a snapshot of the Burndown graph or export the results as Project Status or Burndown reports.

ScrumMaster Project Reports for Export

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!

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A hike is to project planning as…


If you haven’t seen this before, Michael Wolfe’s software development analogy to a hike that seems so simple in concept is worth it for the laughs… because we all have been there before.  In fact, we deal with this every day.  Posted on Quora and below, in case you have difficulty seeing the article.

Engineering Management:
Why are software development task estimations regularly off by a factor of 2-3?

Michael Wolfe, Startup founder

Let’s take a hike on the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles to visit our friends in Newport Beach. I’ll whip out my map and draw our route down the coast:

The line is about 400 miles long; we can walk 4 miles per hour for 10 hours per day, so we’ll be there in 10 days. We call our friends and book dinner for next Sunday night, when we will roll in triumphantly at 6 p.m. They can’t wait!

We get up early the next day giddy with the excitement of fresh adventure.  We strap on our backpacks, whip out our map, and plan our first day. We look at the map. Uh oh:

Wow, there are a million little twists and turns on this coast. A 40-mile day will barely get us past Half Moon Bay. This trip is at least 500, not 400 miles.  We call our friends and push back dinner til Tuesday. It is best to be realistic. They are disappointed, but they are looking forward to seeing us. And 12 days from SF to LA still is not bad.

With that unpleasantness out of the way, we head off. Two hours later, we are barely past the zoo. What gives? We look down the trail:

Man, this is slow going! Sand, water, stairs, creeks, angry sea lions! We are walking at most 2 miles per hour, half as fast as we wanted. We can either start walking 20 hours per day, or we can push our friends out another week.  OK, let’s split the difference: we’ll walk 12 hours per day and push our friends out til the following weekend. We call them and delay dinner until the following Sunday. They are a little peeved but say OK, we’ll see you then.

We pitch camp in Moss Beach after a tough 12 hour day. Shit, it takes forever to get these tents up in the wind. We don’t go to bed until midnight. Not a big deal: we’ll iron things out and increase velocity tomorrow.

We oversleep and wake up sore and exhausted at 10 a.m. Fuck! No way we are getting our 12 hours in. We’ll aim for 10, then we can do 14 tomorrow. We grab our stuff and go.

After a slow slog for a couple of hours, I notice my friend limping. Oh shit, blisters. We need to fix this now… we are the kind of team who nips problems in the bud before they slow our velocity. I jog 45 minutes, 3 miles inland to Pescadero, grab some band-aids, and race back to patch up my friend. I’m exhausted, and the sun is going down, so we bail for the day. We go to bed after only covering 6 miles for the day. But we do have fresh supplies. We’ll be fine. We’ll make up the difference tomorrow.

We get up the next morning, bandage up our feet and get going. We turn a corner. Shit! What’s this?

Goddamn map doesn’t show this shit!

We have to walk 3 miles inland, around some fenced-off, federally-protected land, get lost twice, then make it back to the coast around noon. Most of the day gone for one mile of progress. OK, we are *not* calling our friends to push back again. We walk until midnight to try to catch up and get back on schedule.

After a fitful night of sleep in the fog, my friend wakes up in the morning with a raging headache and fever. I ask him if he can rally. “What do you think, asshole, I’ve been walking in freezing fog for 3 days without a break!” OK, today is a loss. Let’s hunker down and recover. Tomorrow we’ll ramp up to 14 hours per day since we’ll be rested and trained… it is only a few more days, so we can do it!

We wake up the next morning groggy. I look at our map:

Holy shit! We are starting day 5 of a 10 day trip and haven’t even left the Bay Area! This is ludicrous! Let’s do the work to make an accurate estimate, call our friends, probably get yelled at, but get a realistic target once and for all.

My friend says, well, we’ve gone 40 miles in 4 days, it is at least a 600 mile trip, so that’s 60 days, probably 70 to be safe. I say, “no f–ing way… yes, I’ve never done this walk before, but I *know* it does not take 70 days to walk from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Our friends are going to laugh at us if we call and tell them we won’t see them until Easter!

I continue, “if you can commit to walking 16 hours a day, we can make up the difference! It will be hard, but this is crunch time. Suck it up!” My friend yells back, “I’m not the one who told our friends we’d make it by Sunday in the first place! You’re killing me because you made a mistake!”

A tense silence falls between us. The phone call goes unmade. I’ll call tomorrow once my comrade regains his senses and is willing to commit to something reasonable.

The next morning, we stay in our tents till a rainstorm blows over. We pack our stuff and shuffle off at 10 a.m. nursing sore muscles and new blisters. The previous night’s fight goes unmentioned, although I snap at my idiot friend when he leaves his water bottle behind, and we have to waste 30 minutes going back to get it.

I make a mental note that we are out of toilet paper and need to stock up when we hit the next town. We turn the corner: a raging river is blocking our path. I feel a massive bout of diarrhea coming on…

Good to know it’s not just your life, eh?  Honestly, some of these issues are exactly what drove us to create the ScrumMaster application.  It’s reality.  And not just for our tech world, the human world.  We’ve come to believe it’s normal.  So let’s just deal with reality and find some better ways to work together and get the job done.

For Agile Story Sizing Cards, not so much… that was more about boring, way-too-long meetings.  What better way to deal with them than to let your mind wander down the, ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be much cooler to be doing this on my phone.  Hmmmmm.’   Solved another problem too: Where did I put my poker planning cards!?!

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Yes, We’re Agile but we still Plan, right?


We couldn’t have said it better.  Read more above… here’s some solid thinking about Agile Project Planning and the Big Picture!

 

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Mac of all Trades - Master of Some

Yes, of course you still need to plan – even when following some type of agile method. It still amazes me that so many organizations stop doing this. Some don’t it because they believe that agile means no planning and some don’t it because … well, there are so many other reasons. Is it really worth repeating?  Maybe I’ll do another post about that, but for now, let’s look at one team established an intake process for new projects and made it simple yet effective.

000 Blog Agile Topic Photos - 10

 

Before our teams begin working on new projects, we need a way of ensuring that there’s a solid business case to do it and a clearly defined scope of features or benefits.  Sounds like planning right? Well, you could say that but, actually it’s before we even start really planning; we’re evaluating, we’re justifying, we’re using the ROI (Return on Investment) model…

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ScrumMaster Reports


ScrumMaster provides common reports, ready for export into Word, Excel, and PDF formats.

Two additional reports, ‘Backlog by Type’ and ‘Burndown Report’ are available for your use when you purchase ScrumMaster. (not available in the trial version)

ScrumMaster Project Reports for Export

ScrumMaster Project Reports export to Word, Excel, and PDF formats… ready for you to customize to best suit your needs.

Tap the report picture to open the report:

1. Project List

2. Project Status Report

3. Project Requirements

4. Project Sprint Report

5. Backlog by Type

6. Burndown Report
 

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Sprint History Charts


Project Sprint History collects Retrospective session summary information and displays it by information type, across the project.

Project Sprint History

Scrum Masters can use these five metrics to analyse results and improve team performance.

Tap the buttons to display the individual graphs:

1. Completed story points

2. Hours per story point

3. Team rating

4. Backlog by type at the end of each sprint

5. Estimates comparisons

 

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