вівторок, 26 жовтня 2010 р.

History of Stage overestimation report

You have probably noticed column "original estimate", "rebase estimate (Ctrl+B)" command and "stage overestimation" report. Let's remind ideas behind it and how it can help in daily work.

Originally DevPlanner user Christian has asked us to add a wonderful feature to DevPlanner. Here is that he wrote:

I've being using DevPlanner for a while now (1 year). What would be an invaluable feature would be to add an original estimate in addition to the current estimate that we keep updating. That way I could track:

  • for completed tasks, my actual versus the original estimate which tells me (and my boss!) how accurate my estimates are and how much time we over/under spent.
  • my actual versus my current estimate which tells me how much more time I have to spend before I get the job done.
  • my original estimate versus my current estimate which tells me what I am currently estimating will be the over/under spend for this iteration.

I'm finding that the above information is becoming essential. At the moment I cannot answer questions like:

  • by how much am I over spent thus far against my original estimate
  • by how much do I *currently* think I will over/under spend compared to my original estiamte
  • how much more time do I have to spend on this task (ie what's the remaining time on this task)

I think this would make the product so much more valuable.

Thinking about this further it would be great if you provide a (small) button that when pressed will copy the initial estimate over to the current estimate. This way when a new task is created a user could press this button to save having to key in the estimate twice, once for the initial estimate and again for the current estimate.

In principle, a task that then does not have an initial estimate could be assumed to be unplanned.

In next two weeks we have released a new version which allows taking original estimation snapshoot for category or selected tasks.

So if you want to see a difference between your original thoughts and an original plan versus current stage overestimation report can help. Here is a usage scenario:

  • Brainstorm a task list for the project or a stage, organize them into categories and estimate them. It's better to have estimates of each individual task between 0.5 and 6 hours, otherwise split a large task into subtasks. It's convenient to use a Split command or a hotkey Ctrl+U.
  • Review your estimates, select the stage in Categories panel and click menu Item->Rebase estimate. Otherwise there is a hotkey Ctrl+B. You will see your estimates in the original estimate column. That is your starting point.
  • It's not a secret that plans can change: usually new tasks come up or task estimations can change. You can see all these tasks in stage overestimation report, thus can steer your foreseeing skills when you do next project.

We will continue talks about improving estimations skills and training foreseeing abilities in next posts.

I'm looking forward to hear your questions, comments or tips. Drop me an email or simply leave a comment here. Thanks for your time.

Stage Estimation report

DevPlanner helps brainstorming work breakdown for a specific stage or a project. Furthermore it can calculate some forecasts, details and summary reports. For example it can help with predicting a completion date of the stage or a project based on available time and individual task estimations.

DevPlanner can prepare time estimation reports. Here is a feedback of a DevPlanner user Wilson:

"I am more than a little bewildered by all the reports and when they can best be used, and what preconditions they have -- i.e., what kinds of data one has to have entered to make the report (most) useful. So I have decided to ask dumb questions here in the forum and work towards some kind of descriptive use-oriented catalog of the reports. For no particular reason I'm starting with the "Stage Estimation" report.

My notion of a report is that it answers a question; and so my first question is, "What is the question that Stage Estimation answers or helps answer?"

The question seems to be something like: "What are the current estimates for all not-completed tasks in a part of the folder tree?" or in more normal terms "What are the current estimates for not-completed tasks of a complex task or project?"

Now, since the report doesn't take into account actual hours logged on these tasks, it doesn't tell me how many hours I estimate it will take to finish the non-completed tasks.

So it seems to me it would be useful only 1) when I'm estimating a *brand-new* project and none of the items is complete, so the report tells me the total estimated for the work, or 2) if I'm thinking about billing for not-completed work then this report might tell me what I can bill for once the work is done.

For me personally then I guess this report would be useful only when I am working with a brand-new task or project in which all tasks are not-completed and no actual time has been logged.

Obviously I'm asking folks whether I've gotten or missed the point of this report, so have at it."

Yes, everything he said about Stage estimation report is correct. I can see that he has also noticed Stage Overestimation report, it can suit in case if someone need to take into account actual hours logged on these tasks.

We will continue talking about Stage Overestimation report in the next post.

I'm looking forward to hear your questions, comments or tips. Drop me an email or simply leave a comment here. Thanks for your time.