To explain how monitoring a team effort, we will take the example of an agile team working with the Scrum approach. Keep in mind the process to configure tracker fields should remain the same if you are not working with Scrum or even not with agile. It can be adapted to track any team members work.
Team Capacity, Initial Effort, Remaining Effort
It is important to distinguish these three notions for a successful planning session :
- Team Capacity: the team’s capacity is critical. It reflects how much workload the team should undertake during a sprint. It is calculated as per people availability in each sprint. Usually in agile methods, capacity is set in “points”.
- Initial/Estimated Effort: in agile, point-based estimating is about the effort the work will take. It takes into account complexity, risks and uncertainty of the feature to be developed. The Total Initial/Estimated Effort of a sprint is the sum of all the effort of the related user stories.
- Remaining Effort: during a sprint, the development progresses and the workload decreases. The burndown chart is created on the basis of this value. At the very beginning of the sprint, the “initial effort” equals the “remaining effort”.
Effort in Tuleap Scrum template
The Tuleap AgileDashboard plugin enables you to plan and monitor team work using Scrum approach. The recently updated Scrum template allows you to get an agile workspace in a minute. By default, it comes with the following trackers’ hierarchy:
- User Story
To track team effort, these trackers are pre-configured so that you get ready-to-use fields:
- Release: “Team Capacity” and “Initial Effort” are computed fields |_Sprint: “Team Capacity” and “Initial Effort” are float fields
- User Story: “Initial effort” and “Remaining effort” are computed fields |_Tasks: “Initial effort” and “Remaining effort” are float fields
A computed value is the sum of a numerical field from linked artifacts. For example, the “Initial effort” is a “computed field” so it can do the sum of all stories’ initial effort to calculate your team initial effort.
Computed field in Tuleap tracker Administration >Field usage
Release Computed Fields
Note: “Initial effort” and “Remaining effort” can be collected as an “integer” (e.g: 5) or “float”(e.g: 5,5) field, or even in a pre-defined list of float or integer values. For example, if you’re following the Fibonacci suite, you can only propose 1,2,3,5,8… values in a drop-down list.
Monitoring effort with the Burndown chart
In a Scrum project, we need to see how the release is going and to know if the team encounters issues during development.
The burndown chart shows the team’s progress: it shows the total work remaining and enable to project the likelihood of achieving the milestone goal. You can see at a glance if the progress is ok, if it remains stagnant and if some user stories have to be re-scoped.
Tuleap Burndown charts are automatically created on the basis of the total of the stories remaining efforts. You can have release burndown and sprint burndowns. The remaining effort of all activities are collected on a daily base and added to the graphs. Team members have to update remaining effort every day to create an appropriate chart.
Burndown at the end of a Sprint: work remaining is the Y axis and time is the X axis
Adjusting effort manually
In your project, you can have specific constraints and sometimes the computed value has to be adjusted. For some reasons, you could want to add some points to the initial/estimated effort of the sprint. For example a project can have a dependency to an other. You should have to take into account 2 additional points in the sprint effort but don’t want to track related tasks.
Tuleap offers you the possibility to edit manually the compute value of a “computed field”. If you change it manually, the values initially auto-computed will be ignored. You can enter the value you want.
A field can have a manual value different from auto-computed value
Note: If you set a manual value in a computed field, you will be able to switch back to auto-compute value whenever you want. The manual value is taken in account in the burndown as well.
Choosing what is your Initial Effort
In the administration part of a parent tracker, you can chose what field will be seen as your “initial effort”
You can configure it in the tracker administration/manage field usage:
Choose which field represents your “Initial Effort” displayed in the Scrum planning
To continue about effort tracking in Tuleap, you should be interesting reading the post How to manage stories spanned across sprints in Tuleap Scrum planning