Best Way to Measure Progress In Agile Project

What is the best way to measure progress in agile project?  Most of the people follow burn down chart and JIRA agile dashboard helps you to add it. Measuring Progress in Agile Project should not be that hard. But if we pick a gadget which does not give clear picture of value delivery. You must know why burdown chart is not the right candidate for your agile project progress measurement and best way to do that.

This Chart is Everywhere
Fig 1:This Chart is Everywhere

This chart is everywhere and on every JIRA Agile Dashboard. So what is wrong with this chart? This chart shows something but not very clear, specially when it not aligned with expected grey line. If you look at Fig 2, which represents a current day of sprint and it yet to complete and 65 unit of task remaining.

 

Unclear Information

Sprint Yet To Complete
Fig 2: Sprint Yet to Complete

Remaining work detail could be any composition and burndown chart does not reveal on face unless you go and investigate. Fig 2 shows a scenario and it could be more than that. It is certainly hard to control and assess the risk by looking at this kind of reports. You need to go and further open each task and understand what is remaining and why.

Remaining Work Detail
Fig 3: Remaining Work Detail

Progress Agile Project : No Visibility to Scope

During sprint execution, it is possible that scope is  changed. Though we all say we need to keep the scope unchanged and overall sprint objective should not hamper, but reality is far from it. Now this “Scope Change” attribute is missing if you just follow the burndown chart. There is other JIRA Agile Health Report which keeps track of scope change but again it is not a trend graph.

Scope Creep
Fig 4: No Visibility of Scope

Progress Agile Project : Inaccuracies

Burndown chart hold accurate data only if every team member remembers to accurately estimates the hours remaining on all their tasks every single day, and enter it into they system every single day. However this does not happen and it is hard to keep such commitments from the development team members. If management forces it, you would get the numbers on board, but that would not be the true reflection.

Progress Agile Project: Wasteful Activities and Tasks

A lot of effort spent making frequent estimate and updates. Scope is changed, that impacts the activities which are planned and estimation are revised to evaluate the feasibility and this is a wasteful activity.

So now a report which has

  1. Unclear Information
  2. No visibility of scope
  3. Inaccuracies
  4. A lot of overhead

And a very little benefit.

What I recommend for you

Always measure what customer wants and not hours. So now you would ask “How”? So start measuring story completion.

 Always Measure Story Completion & Business Value
Fig 5: Always Measure Story Completion & Business Value

The above picture clearly tells how much is done and what is done and not done. By measuring story completion, you can track your project goal more easily and confidently than measuring remaining hours.

Track burnup to a fixed date is your right gadget to measure progress in agile project. Look at Fig 6 and tell me what it says?

Burnup Chart to fixed date
Fig 6: Burnup Chart to fixed date
  1. Change is scope : look at the 13th Feb timeline and you would see the expected user story count increased. It is possible either the estimation was done incorrectly or new changes added to the sprint.
  2. What is done and how we are progressing with respect to user story count as every story is closed.
  3. Story count deficit on timeline as on particular date and in this case it is 8. Your team should have completed 41 user story count, but they are still on 31.
  4. Forecast completion based on previous velocity

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