Agile Project Controlling

Effective methods for dynamic projects

Also in agile projects a precise controlling about costs and schedule is crucial. Requirements and priorities can change during the development progress, therefore a continuous monitoring about the advance is essential to keep the project plan up to date and adapt if necessary. The deadline mostly is firm and the scope could be flexible. Different to traditional project methods an agile project plan might change during the process and so does its controlling accordingly. That means your controlling system becomes agile too.

Since the plan can change in agile projects, this also has an effect on its controlling.

Finally, controlling becomes agile. So what is an effective way to monitor a dynamic project? Burndown charts clearly and concisely show the current project status at a glance.

So what is an effective way to control a dynamic progress?

Burndown charts give meaningful information about the current status.

It makes sense to make three assumptions about the progress in project planning in order to be able to assess the current status effectively during the process:

  • Minimum velocity
  • average velocity
  • maximum velocity

These provide helpful input to inspect the headway if your team´s velocity increases, stagnates or decreases during the sprint.

After every sprint the burned story points get registered in a controlling sheet to exploit your burndown chart by creating the real velocity. Therewith you can compare and focus your current progress to your three assumptions of minimum, average and maximum progress.

  • How fast is the team?
  • Above or beyond average?
  • Do impediments delay the team?
  • Are we still on track?
  • Does the project match the planned status?

The burn down chart shows at a glance the real velocity.

Maybe some elements turned out to be more complex than they appeared in the first planning phase. Or features are simpler to develop than thought in the beginning. Maybe the business value is completely fulfilled with less features than planned.

Agile project controlling gives quicker answers to these questions:

  • How detailed is the project plan still?
  • Does an easier version of the requirement generate more and faster business value?
  • Is it necessary to change the scope somehow?

You receive clear information due to few clear parameters.

Often the team finds out that the actual velocity is lower than hoped. In this case a clear analysis and quick reaction lead to either decrease the scope by moving user stories out-of-scope, simplify individual user stories or reschedule the timebox.

Furthermore it´s important to check the project points again by controlling their value to workdays or workhours.

Keep an eye on your project points´ value and check them regularly.

If you do so and you find out that your first exchange rate changed, you need to calculate again to have more precision about the progress. To calculate the exact exchange rate break down as many user stories as possible to small tasks you can easily estimate. The sum of your estimated tasks gives you information about the project forecast. So you can increase your accuracy and adjust your project plan continuously to have it always up to date. Therefore you can make sure to always focus on the current state of truth.

This is how agile project controlling allows strategic monitoring processes for dynamic projects with the benefit of continuously knowing the status quo even with a flexible scope.

So ermöglicht agiles Projektcontrolling strategische Überwachungsprozesse für dynamische Projekte mit dem Vorteil, den Status quo auch in einem flexiblen Umfang kontinuierlich zu kennen. Diese Methode ist äußerst hilfreich, um ein effizientes Controlling in agilen Projekten zu ermöglichen.

Find more information about agile project planning from scratch HERE.