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Showing posts from March, 2007

Estimating size and effort - Why are they different?

A common question I get asked about estimating in xProcess (after three-point estimating of course, which is another popular question!) is: "What's the difference between a task's estimate for size and its (three-point) estimate for effort... and why do I need both?".

There are several ways to answer this, but perhaps a starting point is to ask why we think they're the same. If I ask you the size of your swimming pool you're more like to give me an answer in feet or metres that to reply with the number of person days it took to build the pool. (Building swimming pools is an xProcess application by the way - but that's another story!) When we are discussing the planning of a project the first thing to consider is the size (in whatever units are appropriate) of the deliverables of that project. Then we need a function (based on previous experience) to map from size to the estimate of the effort and consumables required to provide those deliverables.

Because t…

Project Challenge! On your bike...

The National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham was the setting for last week's Project Challenge exhibition. It was the first opprotunity to see the new Executive Dashboard for xProcess in action, as well as to hear yours truly speaking about process modeling as a route to improve project performance. Needless to say the Executive Dashboard was clearly the highlight!

Guy's interest in the dashboard in this photo is not merely a pose for the camera. The show was also the first opportunity for the sales team to see this feature, which was turning a lot of heads (not just ours!). The ability to create additional views of interesting project data "on-the-fly" is a particularly impressive aspect of the facility.

Don't burn out... Burn Down!

Following in the tradition of you heard it here first, here's another sneak preview of soon to be released functionality on xProcess. The burndown chart is a key visualisation that was developed in Scrum and now used with a number of agile methods. Currently you can use the reporting feature in xProcess to generate a burndown chart for your project or timebox. However there's a new feature in the wings that shows you the burndown instantly (history and forecast) on any project, parent task or folder. Here's an example:

This timebox (Timebox 01) runs for about 3 weeks and the scope of work targeted is forecast to complete right at the end of the timebox -- indeed a couple of the tasks are alread critical. (This diagram is looking forward, predicting when tasks will close, and thus when the work in each task will burn down). Look at the same time box a couple of days later.

Now -- perhaps because tasks have been re-estimated or resources changed -- we can see some tasks are f…