Manage Up with AgileEVM

As teams start to use Agile methods for delivering software, it is common for the business to ask for a summary of progress. This is not always easy to do for Agile teams. Teams may have an Agile project management tool, hand-drawn burn up charts, task boards on the wall with other information radiators or spreadsheets where the information about delivery thus far is kept. Teams might even duplicate data in multiple tools so that they are able to generate information for management without inhibiting the team’s progress by making them update more than 1 tool.

AgileEVM allows teams to take the outcomes of their iterations as evidence of delivery and then generates progress reports for the release. The most commonly used report element is the Release Forecast Chart as seen below. It has similar characteristics to a Release Burnup Chart but adds a risk window as Dave Thomas had described in his keynote at Agile 2010. Rather than only showing progress towards a target based on units of work and iterations, the Release Forecast Chart also shows forecasts based on optimistic, pessimistic, and when under volatile conditions. These provide a more holistic picture of the current release progress along with an understanding of the potential risk to plans.

AgileEVM Release Forecast Chart

The 5 data points that a teams needs for each iteration are:

  • Points committed to at beginning of iteration
  • Points delivered in the iteration
  • Scope change in the release (either positive or negative)
  • Did the team meet their Definition of Done
  • Actual cost of iteration (i.e. # of team members * cost per hour * # of hours in iteration)

Most of this information is already part of an Agile team’s iteration data. The addition of actual cost can usually be pulled from your finance department or wherever time tracking against the project is maintained.

Upcoming posts on AgileEVM will describe:

  • How an estimated Release Baseline can be developed using simple techniques with your team
  • Adding  your Definition of Done in AgileEVM
  • Managing impediments across your AgileEVM portfolios
  • What indicators and advice AgileEVM provides to users in the progress summary
  • and Understanding what “under volatile conditions” may mean to your release progress and response to the information
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