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Insights on Sprint Burndown Chart

What is a Sprint Burndown Chart?The Sprint Burn Down Chart is a graphical tool which is used to represent the amount of completed work done against the expected rate of completion for the present iteration. It enhances transparency of the current performance of the burndown chart. It also enables us to estimate whether the Sprint target can be delivered in a fixed time or not. If the work is not done within that time then the team members have to determine how to increase the speed of the remaining work to be done.The “velocity” is nothing but the measure of the total amount of work done by a team in a Sprint. We calculate the velocity by totaling the points for all completed user stories. The partial counting of completed work is strictly prohibited. The sprint burndown chart report is constructed from the data in the Analysis Services cube, and the team references the WIT data store in real life.Why is Sprint Burndown Chart used?The Burndown Chart shows an inclined view of task progression and the very important common measure of Sprint progress. This chart is used for multiple reasons. Here are some of them listed below :-Its Simplicity- One of the main reasons for the popularity of the sprint burndown chart is its simplicity. There is nothing complicated in it and even a kid can understand it. This simplicity helps the team to communicate the progress of the project to all the stakeholders in a very easy, fast, and effective manner.Remaining Work- The Sprint Burn Down Chart shows how much work is remaining. This information helps in planning for the future efforts. It also gives a rough picture of how much time would be required to complete the whole work.Ideal Efforts- The total amount of work to be done and the total amount of time in hand for the complete sprint gives us the idea about the ideal rate of effort the team should make to complete the work in a given time. The chart can help in answering the following questions:How good is this team with the planning?How well is this team executing against the planned stories in a Sprint?Is this team self-organized and are they working in unison as a "team"?What improvements can this team make?Corrective Measures- Since the Sprint Burn Down Chart gives real-time data regarding the work progress, therefore, it enables us to take corrective measures before it is too late.Business valueIt helps the business user to understand how quickly your team has completed tasks, and forecast when your team will achieve the success or goals of the sprint(iteration). Now let us have a look at the Sprint Burn Down Chart itself.The x-axis of the chart represents the number of days in the sprint. Suppose the target to finish the work is 7 days, then all the seven days will be plotted individually on the x-axis.The y-axis on the chart represents work. The work is generally represented as story points. Story points are nothing but the estimate of efforts required to complete the task. Story points are also influenced by the complexity, uncertainty, and the risk involved in the task.The line joining the point of total work and total time represents the ideal efforts or the ideal trend of completion of work.Then the other line is plotted on the chart when the team starts working. After every unit of time, the amount of work left is shown on the chart. Due to the complexities of the tasks, the actual speed of work deviates from the ideal speed. As the team works forward it becomes clear how early or late the team is for the schedule.If more work is remaining than what was expected then it is time to buckle up and increase the efforts. If less work is remaining than what was expected, then you are probably going to finish all the tasks earlier than expected. You must have overestimated the required efforts and you should do proper estimation for the next time.Advantages of using Sprint Burndown Charts:These are the advantages of Sprint Burndown Chart that increases our progress in a clear view.Effective planning and tracing the tool for progressReduce the ‘Risk’ factor by daily visibilityUser-friendly tool for customer and other stakeholdersPlaceholder to track retrospective action items

Insights on Sprint Burndown Chart

698
Insights on Sprint Burndown Chart

What is a Sprint Burndown Chart?

The Sprint Burn Down Chart is a graphical tool which is used to represent the amount of completed work done against the expected rate of completion for the present iteration. It enhances transparency of the current performance of the burndown chart. It also enables us to estimate whether the Sprint target can be delivered in a fixed time or not. If the work is not done within that time then the team members have to determine how to increase the speed of the remaining work to be done.

The “velocity” is nothing but the measure of the total amount of work done by a team in a Sprint. We calculate the velocity by totaling the points for all completed user stories. The partial counting of completed work is strictly prohibited. The sprint burndown chart report is constructed from the data in the Analysis Services cube, and the team references the WIT data store in real life.

Why is Sprint Burndown Chart used?

The Burndown Chart shows an inclined view of task progression and the very important common measure of Sprint progress. This chart is used for multiple reasons. Here are some of them listed below :-

  • Its Simplicity- One of the main reasons for the popularity of the sprint burndown chart is its simplicity. There is nothing complicated in it and even a kid can understand it. This simplicity helps the team to communicate the progress of the project to all the stakeholders in a very easy, fast, and effective manner.

  • Remaining Work- The Sprint Burn Down Chart shows how much work is remaining. This information helps in planning for the future efforts. It also gives a rough picture of how much time would be required to complete the whole work.

  • Ideal Efforts- The total amount of work to be done and the total amount of time in hand for the complete sprint gives us the idea about the ideal rate of effort the team should make to complete the work in a given time.

 The chart can help in answering the following questions:

  • How good is this team with the planning?
  • How well is this team executing against the planned stories in a Sprint?
  • Is this team self-organized and are they working in unison as a "team"?
  • What improvements can this team make?

Corrective Measures- Since the Sprint Burn Down Chart gives real-time data regarding the work progress, therefore, it enables us to take corrective measures before it is too late.

Business value

  • It helps the business user to understand how quickly your team has completed tasks, and forecast when your team will achieve the success or goals of the sprint(iteration).

 Now let us have a look at the Sprint Burn Down Chart itself.
Sprint Burndown Chart

  • The x-axis of the chart represents the number of days in the sprint. Suppose the target to finish the work is 7 days, then all the seven days will be plotted individually on the x-axis.
  • The y-axis on the chart represents work. The work is generally represented as story points. Story points are nothing but the estimate of efforts required to complete the task. Story points are also influenced by the complexity, uncertainty, and the risk involved in the task.
  • The line joining the point of total work and total time represents the ideal efforts or the ideal trend of completion of work.
  • Then the other line is plotted on the chart when the team starts working. After every unit of time, the amount of work left is shown on the chart. Due to the complexities of the tasks, the actual speed of work deviates from the ideal speed. As the team works forward it becomes clear how early or late the team is for the schedule.

If more work is remaining than what was expected then it is time to buckle up and increase the efforts. If less work is remaining than what was expected, then you are probably going to finish all the tasks earlier than expected. You must have overestimated the required efforts and you should do proper estimation for the next time.

Advantages of using Sprint Burndown Charts:

These are the advantages of Sprint Burndown Chart that increases our progress in a clear view.

  • Effective planning and tracing the tool for progress
  • Reduce the ‘Risk’ factor by daily visibility
  • User-friendly tool for customer and other stakeholders
  • Placeholder to track retrospective action items
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User stories are concise descriptions of a softwar... Read More

How To Use T-Shirt Sizing as a Product Owner to Estimate Delivery

The beauty of Agile is that it is not prescriptive. Once organizations have understood the crux of Agile, they can tailor it to suit their needs and define processes that will ensure maximum output. Agile estimation is one such example. These simple, yet effective, techniques set the tone for the entire Agile project and help teams navigate complex projects easily.  T shirt sizing in agile is a relative estimation technique that helps for long term effective planning. In this blog we attempt to deep dive into T-shirt sizing estimation and try to understand its benefits and drawbacks.What is T-shirt sizing estimation?Agile often starts with a high-level estimate or a macro view of the project. This helps teams and stakeholders come to a long-term plan for the project. One of the ways that Agile does this high-level estimate is though T-shirt sizing agile, in other words estimating story points using a relative estimation technique.  T-shirt sizing, as mentioned before, is a relative project estimation technique to estimate what a project will need in terms of time, budget, and energy. It is a good technique for teams that are new to agile and want to perform a relative estimation of the project. T-shirt size planning can be further broken down into story points for sprint planning. Story points can be broken down further into hours for sprint execution. While t-shirt sizing is great for release planning and defining project roadmap, story point estimates are more accurate and better for sprint planning.  What is a story point? A Story point is a unit of measure for expressing an estimate for the overall effort needed to complete a particular user story, sprint, or product backlog item. While in traditional project management  methods the effort is conveyed in a time format like days, weeks or months, Agile uses story points to provide estimates and these can be provided by considering the amount of work, the complexity of work and associated risks. This is where story points differ from estimating in person-hours which may not consider the complexity or risk that may delay the task. Also, story point estimation is more flexible and is perfect for high level estimation.T-shirt sizes for introducing relative estimationChoosing a t-shirt when you walk into a store is simple. You have clearly labelled sizes like S, M, L, XL and all you need to do is pick one. While this may be a relative sizing and each T-shirt size can fit a range of shoulder sizes, it is much easier than having numerical t-shirt sizes like 38, 40, 42 etc.  Similarly, for agile projects, teams can classify items or user stories as extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, or double extra-large. This T-shirt sizing estimation eliminates the numerical score associated with story points and helps developers to be more flexible and dynamic about the effort associated with a story. Depending on the size of the task, the developers will assign a t-shirt size. It’s important that all developers arrive at a consensus on the T-shirt size assigned to each task. The stories are all placed in S, M, L, XL buckets and the time taken to complete all the tasks in the buckets is estimated. Teams can get a relative understanding of how big or small the story is.The downside of T-shirt sizing PBIsThe problem with T-shirt's sizing is that it is a relative estimate, so teams would only get a ballpark figure or a range and not an exact estimate of effort needed to complete a user story.Also, since product backlog increments or PBIs are indicated in terms of T-shirts sizes, it would be difficult to estimate or review how much work is done. Like for example, your report may show that for this sprint you have completed 2 small, 4 medium and 3 large PBIs. This may make it difficult to measure the velocity of work.Benefits and pitfallsBenefits:Helps in quick estimates for substantial number of itemsHelps teams new to agile better perform estimationsIs flexible as estimation does not change even if velocity changesGives estimates in relative termsIs easy and effective for first level of estimating and large backlogs.Pitfalls:Relative estimates are not absoluteMay need to be converted to numerical value if velocity needs to be calculatedAre not uniform. One team’s t-shirt estimate may be different from that of another team.Delivery planning with T-shirt estimatesThe t-shirt sizing is a great way of providing initial estimates and can be used as a first round of estimating, providing stakeholders and the team with a relative or broad idea of time and effort required for the project.As mentioned above, it is often the first round of planning and starts with the project being split into high level epics which may be given t-shirt sizes. You may give an estimate range for epic size in a number of days.For example:Small = 1–4 daysMedium = 5–10 daysLarge = 10–20 daysYou can use this estimate and suppose that your first delivery of the product will take around 26-54 days.The second round of planningOnce you have created a broad estimate it is time to do the second round of planning and develop the product backlog items corresponding to epics. The epics can be further broken down into user stories for sprints. Each PBI can be estimated with story points to get a more accurate estimate for the PBIs.How to use T –shirt sizing to determine project scopeT-shirt estimation is a great way to understand the overall scope of your project. For example, a shopping list that is a small t-shirt size would mean buying a couple of items like a toothbrush and a cola, whereas a large t-shirt size idea would be buying fifty or more items from a shopping list. So, slotting these various tasks into t-shirt sizes will help the team understand the overall scope of the project and what must be accomplished. It helps to understand the effort required by each team member to accomplish the task.Getting the Right Fit: The Do’s and Don'tsT-shirt sizing, just like Agile, is not a one-size fits all method. Teams must figure out how to use it depending on their project and keeping in mind past projects and retrospectives.There are some do’s and don’ts for t-shirt sizing that must be followed for success:Get the bigger picture: You can think big and dream during this process. Your result will be a rough estimate so you can let yourself go.Make sure to stick to the scope: It is easy to get derailed with so many ideas coming in from so many people. But make sure to keep your eye on the project goal and ensure that the sizing is getting you closer to the goal.Do not have too many sizes: This exercise is supposed to simplify your decision-making process, so there is no point in complicating it by adding too many t-shirt sizes.Do not get rigid with T-shirt labels: You can get creative with the names if you don’t want t-shirt names. Go for fruit names if you find it better! You can estimate in terms of a grape for the smallest stories and a pineapple for the larger ones. Alternatively, think of animals if your team likes them better. You can have everything from rabbits to giraffes to define your epics and sprints.Assigning velocity for product backlog itemsDevelopment teams work around this by assigning each size a numerical value such S=1, M=3, L=5, XL=8. Assigning numerical values makes it easier to calculate the velocity. So, if team has completed 2 Small, 4 Medium and 3 Large PBIs then the velocity can be calculated as:Velocity= S+M+L= (2*1)+(4*3)+(3*5)=29T-Shirt sizing is fastT-shirt estimation allows an extremely fast, almost instant estimation with basic information. Compared to more absolute types of estimation that require more information from stakeholders and users and can result in considerable time consumption and effort, t-shirt sizing is quick and saves close to 80% times in some cases.How does T-shirt sizing work?T-shirt sizing starts off with the portfolio management team defining the size of the project, and they categorize the project as being extra small, small, medium, large, extra-large etc. The product owner first gets together with the stakeholders and defines a few high-level epics. The epics are given t-shirt sizes based on their perceived complexity. The development team also uses historical data from previous projects to classify tasks into different sized buckets.T-shirt sizing is a great option for teams new to the whole estimating business. It is fast and simple, and teams can use it till they learn the ropes of the more accurate forms of estimation. Splitting projects into generalized buckets helps the team to break down complex tasks, helps in communication and allows the team to look at a long-term roadmap for the project. When done correctly, t-shirt sizing can boost productivity and save the team a whole lot of effort.
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How To Use T-Shirt Sizing as a Product Owner to Es...

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