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Tracking Project Status

How to measure progress in Scrum

22 September 2015

Sanil Xavier John
CollabNet Inc

I have a couple of favorite ways to help Scrum teams track their project status.

At the end of the sprint, the team must have workable and shippable code. One great test of how that's working is for teams to give UAT (user acceptance testing) to the product owner of the new features at the end of a sprint. They will see that the software is potentially ready to be shipped -- or not.

Scrum teams can also measure progress is with burn-down charts. These charts are available to the whole team. Every day the team uses the chart to update the amount of work left in the sprint. The daily updates help to indicate how much work (as estimated by the developers working on each task) is still left. Team members must update their progress at regular intervals for this system to succeed.

The number of hours of work remaining decreases with every completed task. If no tasks are completed, the number of hours remains the same from day to day. Sometimes a team can accomplish the same amount fairly consistently from one day to the next. At other times there are slow-downs -- some items may be harder to implement than the team had anticipated, or a teammate goes on vacation. Whatever the reason, a team that's watching its burn-down chart can take corrective action -- for example, removing a few stories from the sprint after discussing them among themselves and with the product owner. This way they can still provide potentially shippable code for those remaining items deemed achievable by the end of the sprint.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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