Advanced Agile Metrics and Forecasting Workshop

We are pleased to welcome Daniel Vacanti during his stay in Montreal for the Agile Tour.

“When will it be done?” “How many items will I get in the next release?” “When will all of the items in the backlog be completed?” Those are some of the first questions that your customers will ask you once you start work for them. 

This hands-on workshop will provide you with the tools you need to answer those questions predictably.  In this tutorial, attendees will learn what metrics are necessary for accurate forecasting, how to visualize those metrics in appropriate analytics, how to use those analytics make reliable forecasts and understand risk, and, finally, how to make meaningful interventions for overall process improvement.

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Learning Outcomes

  • An understanding of what Lean-Agile metrics are necessary for predictability
  • An ability to make accurate forecasts for single items including how to forecast when an individual story, epic, or feature will be done
  • An ability to make accurate forecasts for multiple items including how to know when all items remaining in a backlog will be done or an ability to project how many items will be completed by a given release date and the risks associated with each
  • An understanding of how to use flow metrics and analytics to achieve a stable process including an understanding of why a stable process is necessary for accurate forecasting

This Tutorial Is For

  • Anyone who has been asked to answer “When Will It Be Done?” or otherwise had to give an estimate for a User Story, Epic, Feature, Project, and/or Release
  • Executives, managers, or team members who want better understanding and transparency into the health and performance of their process
  • Anyone who currently uses Agile or Lean Methodologies and is interested in how to improve the overall predictability and efficiency of their current practices

Topic Areas

Flow Metrics:  a deep dive into WIP, Cycle Time, and Throughput—including why you need to track them, how they are related through Little’s Law, and why they are important for forecasting

Flow Analytics:  an introduction to Cumulative Flow Diagrams (CFDs), Scatterplots, Histograms, and other supporting charts—including a detailed discussion of what they are, how to generate them correctly, and how to utilize them for better predictability

Forecasting Using Monte Carlo Simulation:  how to use flow metrics to answer “When will it be done?”—including an introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation and statistical sampling methods for forecasting (no advanced mathematics required!)

Quantifying Risk and Risk Management:  how an understanding of risk is crucial to developing accurate forecasts—including how to quantify risk in the different analytics’ charts and how changing forecast inputs can help to develop an overall risk profile

How to Get Started:  how to immediately apply these techniques to your current project or process to achieve the results you are looking for—including what data to collect, how to mine your data, and how much data you need to begin

Typical Agenda

This workshop will be split into the following parts with several hands-on exercises throughout:

What is Predictability?

What data should we collect?

Forecasts for Single Items Using Cycle Time

  • What is Cycle Time and Why It Is Important
  • Traditional Single Item Forecasting Techniques and Why They Fail
  • Cycle Time Scatterplots and Forecasting
  • How to Quantify Single Item Forecast Risk (Percentiles and SLAs)
  • Improving Your Single Item Forecasts

Forecasts for Multiple Items Using Throughput and Monte Carlo Simulation

  • What is Throughput and Why It Is Important
  • Traditional Multiple Item Forecasting Techniques and Why They Fail
  • Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation and Statistical Sampling Methods
  • How to Answer “How Many Items by X date?”
  • How to Answer “How Long to Complete Y Number of Items?”
  • How to Quantify Multiple Item Forecast Risk
  • Improving Your Multiple Item Forecasts    

How to Know If You Can Trust Your Forecasts

  • Work in Progress and Little’s Law
  • Cumulative Flow Diagrams (CFDs)
  • CFDs:  Little’s Law and System Stability (Conservation of Flow and Flow Debt)

How to Get Started

  • Topics in Data Mining
  • Things to Watch Out For

Parking Lot / Q & A / Wrap Up

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