Agile earned value exercise
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Agile earned value exercise

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A short white paper of self-learning about how to interpret the classic Agile burn-down chart as a tool of earned value management

A short white paper of self-learning about how to interpret the classic Agile burn-down chart as a tool of earned value management

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  • 1. A short white paper of self-learning about how to interpret the classic Agile burn-down chart as a tool of earned value management An Exercise in Earned Value Management in AGILE Presented by Square Peg Consulting, LLC John Goodpasture, PMP
  • 2. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC An exercise in earned value management in Agile methods 1 Set-up and background A project applying agile methods has developed a backlog of three objects.  Backlog is a prioritized list of objects to be delivered in a scheduled time frame  An object can be anything that is countable and measureable, with a beginning effort and a clear definition of complete. A common tool in Agile methods for assessing earned value is the burn-down chart.  A burn-down chart is a plot of COUNT of backlog objects vs SCHEDULE (planned wall time)  There can be surrogates for COUNT of objects: count of stories; count of story points; count of cases; and, number of remaining hours to deplete the backlog, or number of remaining hours to complete the backlog  There is no information on the burn-down about sequence, since that would require planning the work for a specific object.  There is no information on the burn-down about actual hours or resources consumed  In this project the backlog count is 3; but the count could go up or down during the course of the project due to abandoned objects or new objects or technical debt that modifies the backlog. Technical debt is treated as objects.  An object has a burn-down status of COMPLETE or NOT COMPLETE. It’s common to link the burn-down chart with a Work in Process (WIP) chart (a.k.a Kanban chart) to track object status in finer detail than the NOT COMPLETE status. WIP status could include, but not limited to: Not Started, Design, Develop, Test, Verify, Validate, and Hold for inventory, etc. 2 Planning the project Assume the following backlog plan for the backlog with COUNT = 3: Backlog plan Object identification Planned resource Wall time Object A 40 hours 2 days Object B 45 hours 3 days Object C 35 hours 2 days
  • 3. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC Total Backlog 120 hours 13 days Planned resource is the estimated effort; wall time includes consideration for the availability or conflicts or constraints regarding resources. Thus, a resource rate, like hours/day, is not always the case. Wall time may or may not be the calendar schedule, since there could be overlap of wall time if there are enough resources to go around. The planner should have access to a team benchmark for productivity. Productivity is not usually measured over a day; rather it is measured over a duration of a sprint or iteration, typically 2-4 weeks. A productivity measure for this project might be: 6 objects per sprint (4 weeks) 3 Setting up the baseline burn-down charts At the outset, the PLANNED VALUE of the baseline is:  REMAINING COUNT = 3;  REMAINING HOURS = 120; And, the PLANNED SCHEDULE is 12 days (1 day of overlap assumed) Since there is no information about sequence on the burn-down chart, the planner does not know if Object A will be started or completed before the other two objects, and the same for the others. Thus, simple linearity is assumed for the initial planning plots. Typically, X-Y scatter plots are applied because each axis is independent and can have its own data set. Also, the major and minor axis are independently set to integers because there is no partial credit. And, it’s typical to keep the object count and the remaining hours on different charts. Burn-down plots The following are the baseline burn-down plots.
  • 4. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC Baseline burn-down chart: Of course, you can use row-column data in a spreadsheet chart without the plots.
  • 5. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC 4 Running the project (exercises) For all exercise answers, apply this template: Remaining count: Remaining hours: Earned value:  objects earned  planned hours earned  hours actually used  Efficiency: planned hours/actual hours Exercise 1 Let’s assume the team starts with Object B.  At the end of Day 2, the team reports Object B is complete  Team reports 40 hours actually consumed At the end of Day 2, what is the burn-down status; what is the earned value?
  • 6. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC Exercise 2 Now, at the beginning of Day 3, the team is informed that Object A is already developed and in a library. Five hours are required on Day 3 to move Object A from the library into the project configuration system, at which point Object A is complete. What is the burn-down status at the end of Day 3? Exercise 3 The team goes on to Object C on Day 4, completing it at the end of Day 7, four days total for Object C. 50 hours are consumed. However, at the end of Day 6, an additional requirement is discovered. Object D, valued at 40 hours. For Object D, 3 days are required, beginning on Day 7 and ending on Day 9. What is the burn-down status on Day 7? Exercise 4 On Day 9, Object D is completed. 45 hours were consumed. No additional objects have been added since the discovery of Object D. What is the burn-down status at the end of Day 9? Exercise 5 What is the final tabulation for the project, as measured from the baseline?
  • 7. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC 5 Appendix of Answers Exercise 1 Answer Answer: Remaining count: 2 Remaining hours (for Object A and C, from the resource plan): 75 hours Earned value:  1 object earned  45 planned hours earned for Object B  40 hours actually used  Efficiency: 45/40 = 112.5% The spread of “remaining hours” is an estimate made at the end of each object delivery; this estimate would be made like other “estimates to complete”. The charts herein are examples of estimates of hour remaining. Your estimates might be different. Exercise 2 Answer Answer Remaining count: 1 Remaining hours (for Object C): 35 hours Earned value:  1 object earned  40 planned hours earned for Object A  5 hours actually used  Efficiency: 50/5 = 1000% Exercise 3 Answer Answer Remaining count: 1 (for Object D) Remaining hours: 40 hours Earned value:  1 object earned (Object C)  35 planned hours earned for Object C  50 hours actually used  Efficiency: 35/50 = 70% Exercise 4 Answer Answer Remaining count: 0 Remaining hours: 0 hours Earned value:
  • 8. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC  1 object earned (Object D)  40 planned hours earned for Object D  45 hours actually used  Efficiency: 40/45 = 89% Exercise 5 Answer  Objects planned: 3  Objects earned: 4  Objects Remaining: 0  Planned value (hours): 120  Earned value (hours): 160  Hours remaining: 0  Hours consumed: 140  Efficiency: 160/140 = 114% Final tabulation burn-down charts
  • 9. Copyright 2014, All rights reserved Square Peg Consulting, LLC