Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Simple and Straightforward Way to Improve Estimation and Flow of Software Development or Any Work with Minimal Resources Required

Here is a simple and straightforward way to improve estimation and flow of software development or anything with minimal resources required:

On a whiteboard, piece of paper, or some sort of document write the following headers for columns across the top:
* Task
* Start
* Estimate
* Actual
* Workdays
* Task Continuity
* Running Estimate
* " Continuity

When you get a task write down the:
* Brief task description
* Date started
* Estimate of task in Person Days (not Calendar Days or Workdays). Use 0.5 increments. Task should hopefully be no longer than 1-3 days.

When you complete a task write down the:
* Actual time that was required to complete task in Person Days (not Calendar Days or Workdays). Use 0.5 increments.
* Workdays elapsed from date started to date completed. Use 0.5 increments.
* Task Continuity which is actual time (PD) / workdays. Calculate as percent.
* Running estimate. You'll write the new one and erase the old one after each task is completed. Should be displayed as total estimated PD / total actual PD.
* Running continuity. You'll write the new one and erase the old one after each task is completed. Should be displayed as total actual PD / total workdays and you may want to calculate percentage to display by this ratio.

Here is a sample:

From gathering just a few metrics with minimal time or resources involved, you are both improving your task estimation and can work towards single-tasking and therefore getting more work done.

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