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Tracking Actual Hours

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  • cloud_strife62301
    Hi All, Recently I ve started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there s been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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      Hi All,

      Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.

      As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(

      Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.

      Seriousy... WTF!?
    • cloud_strife62301
      Just as a background... I ve been on numerous teams that have implemented Scrum and XP quite successfully... on those teams we sized in terms of complexity and
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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        Just as a background... I've been on numerous teams that have implemented Scrum and XP quite successfully... on those teams we sized in terms of complexity and used velocity for forcasting/decision making.


        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "cloud_strife62301" <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi All,
        >
        > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.
        >
        > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
        >
        > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
        >
        > Seriousy... WTF!?
        >
      • Don
        Updating the burn down is a reasonable request, so long as one does not subtract actual hours from estimated hours to compute hours remaining. It doesn t work
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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          Updating the burn down is a reasonable request, so long as one does not subtract actual hours from estimated hours to compute hours remaining. It doesn't work that way, you estimate hours remaining yourself.

          The only reason I can think of for tracking actuals is to help you become better at estimation. In which case just smile, write down your hours, and remember that they really do have good intentions.

          Extreme Programming (XP) used to calculate load factor which was a ratio of estimated hours to actual hours. That way you could convert estimated hours to actual hours. You could compensate for someone being at the dentist with load factor. It didn't work out for us. Now we use velocity.

          People don't scale, teams do. If you find yourself dividing or multiplying by hours in a day or people available you have left the path of wisdom. We stopped doing all that math when we realized our iteration length was fixed and our team size was set. I was on a project once where we even stopped bothering to estimate, we just counted up the user stories completed. But we didn't have a burn down chart to maintain.

          Don Wells
          www.extremeprogramming.org
          www.agile-process.org


          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "cloud_strife62301" <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
          > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on.
        • drc@outformations.com
          We track hours because, as a professional services company, we need them to bill the client. It takes some discipline NOT to use the actuals as a measure of
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
          We track hours because, as a professional services company, we need them to
          bill the client.

          It takes some discipline NOT to use the actuals as a measure of progress
          though. Since it's easy to track and measure them it's easy to get
          confused into thinking that they mean what you'd like them to mean. We
          have stopped estimating tasks in hours and now use "Task Points" which are
          basically Story Points for tasks. During our planning meetings we
          brainstorm tasks and post them on sticky notes on a whiteboard put into
          Task Point "buckets" from 0 to 5 where 5 is a full labor day and 0 is a few
          minutes. It's fast, easy and helps the whole team have a sense of the
          whole sprint. And mostly it's useful to give peace of mind to the client
          who wants to be able to see progress daily on the burn down charts.

          Here's a link to a mockup:
          http://agile.outformations.com/images/AgileTaskPointEstimatingMockup.png

          In the mockup diagram the task points total 52 which is ROUGHLY equivalent
          to 10 developer days. Maybe 5 or 6 days for a pair.

          -- David Chilcott
          Outformations, Inc.

          Keep Breathing. Tell the Truth. Be Fearless. Choose Love. Embrace the
          Mystery.
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          "cloud_strife6230
          1"
          <officeofthelaw@g To
          mail.com> scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Sent by: cc
          scrumdevelopment@
          yahoogroups.com Subject
          [scrumdevelopment] Re: Tracking
          Actual Hours
          11/04/2009 11:06
          AM


          Please respond to
          scrumdevelopment@
          yahoogroups.com












          Just as a background... I've been on numerous teams that have implemented Scrum
          and XP quite successfully... on those teams we sized in terms of complexity and
          used velocity for forcasting/decision making.

          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "cloud_strife62301" <officeofthelaw@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Hi All,
          >
          > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum,
          and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even
          removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.
          >
          > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master
          asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This
          means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track
          time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time
          tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
          >
          > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be
          more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on
          each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able
          to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum
          Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find
          just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual
          hours.
          >
          > Seriousy... WTF!?
          >
        • Michael James
          I agree with WTF. Complex/creative work can t be expected to track a smooth line. If I were you, I d start reporting tasks as 1s or 0s, or discard tasks
          Message 5 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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            I agree with "WTF." Complex/creative work can't be expected to track
            a smooth line. If I were you, I'd start reporting tasks as 1s or 0s,
            or discard tasks entirely.

            There's also numerous articles opposing this practice -- I know I
            wrote two or three.

            --mj


            On Nov 4, 2009, at 11:00 AM, cloud_strife62301 wrote:

            > Hi All,
            >
            > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to
            > implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally
            > need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really
            > been bugging me: tracking actuals.
            >
            > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum
            > Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've
            > been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the
            > "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which
            > devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system,
            > and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
            >
            > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience,
            > one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking
            > the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this
            > to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous
            > articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum
            > Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum
            > templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to
            > enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
            >
            > Seriousy... WTF!?
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
            > ! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
          • Michael James
            I get the impression your team needs a ScrumMaster, to protect you from its ScrumMaster. --mj
            Message 6 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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              I get the impression your team needs a ScrumMaster, to protect you
              from its "ScrumMaster."
              --mj

              On Nov 4, 2009, at 11:02 AM, cloud_strife62301 wrote:

              > Just as a background... I've been on numerous teams that have
              > implemented Scrum and XP quite successfully... on those teams we
              > sized in terms of complexity and used velocity for forcasting/
              > decision making.
              >
              >
              > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "cloud_strife62301"
              > <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
              >>
              >> Hi All,
              >>
              >> Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to
              >> implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally
              >> need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really
              >> been bugging me: tracking actuals.
              >>
              >> As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum
              >> Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've
              >> been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the
              >> "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which
              >> devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system,
              >> and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
              >>
              >> Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience,
              >> one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking
              >> the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this
              >> to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous
              >> articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum
              >> Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum
              >> templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields
              >> to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
              >>
              >> Seriousy... WTF!?
              >>
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
              > ! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
            • Ron Jeffries
              Hello, cloud_strife62301. On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at ... You are correct. BTW, you didn t say what your role on the team is. Ron Jeffries
              Message 7 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                Hello, cloud_strife62301. On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at
                2:00:09 PM, you wrote:

                > Seriousy... WTF!?

                You are correct. BTW, you didn't say what your role on the team is.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                www.xprogramming.com/blog
                You don't want to sell me waterfall.
                You want to go home and rethink your life.
              • Juan Banda
                Accountants love keeping track of worked hours, it just make bill processing more easily and somehow transparent for clients. The big however is, are hours a
                Message 8 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                  Accountants love keeping track of worked hours, it just make bill processing more easily and somehow transparent for clients.

                  The big however is, are hours a good thing to being tracked? My viewpoint is that hours alone can be very deceiving.

                  Juan
                  http://juanbandaonscrum.blogspot.com/

                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I agree with "WTF." Complex/creative work can't be expected to track
                  > a smooth line. If I were you, I'd start reporting tasks as 1s or 0s,
                  > or discard tasks entirely.
                  >
                  > There's also numerous articles opposing this practice -- I know I
                  > wrote two or three.
                  >
                  > --mj
                  >
                  >
                  > On Nov 4, 2009, at 11:00 AM, cloud_strife62301 wrote:
                  >
                  > > Hi All,
                  > >
                  > > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to
                  > > implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally
                  > > need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really
                  > > been bugging me: tracking actuals.
                  > >
                  > > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum
                  > > Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've
                  > > been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the
                  > > "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which
                  > > devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system,
                  > > and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
                  > >
                  > > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience,
                  > > one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking
                  > > the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this
                  > > to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous
                  > > articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum
                  > > Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum
                  > > templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to
                  > > enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
                  > >
                  > > Seriousy... WTF!?
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > ------------------------------------
                  > >
                  > > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
                  > > ! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                • cloud_strife62301
                  Hi Ron, ... Just a developer, but trying to influence change from the trenches. :)
                  Message 9 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                    Hi Ron,

                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                    > BTW, you didn't say what your role on the team is.
                    >

                    Just a developer, but trying to influence change from the trenches. :)
                  • Michael James
                    Would you mind listing those ScrumAlliance articles so we can refute them in the comments section? --mj ... -- Sent from my mobile device
                    Message 10 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                      Would you mind listing those ScrumAlliance articles so we can refute
                      them in the comments section?

                      --mj



                      On 11/4/09, cloud_strife62301 <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi Ron,
                      >
                      > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                      > wrote:
                      >> BTW, you didn't say what your role on the team is.
                      >>
                      >
                      > Just a developer, but trying to influence change from the trenches. :)
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------
                      >
                      > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                      > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >

                      --
                      Sent from my mobile device
                    • Alan Dayley
                      Members of our Scrum teams track hours for accounting and tax purposes. They record hours spent on their project so tax benefits from R&D credits or other
                      Message 11 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                        Members of our Scrum teams track hours for accounting and tax
                        purposes. They record hours spent on their project so tax benefits
                        from R&D credits or other such things can be accounted.

                        And actual hours worked is NEVER fed back into the team or the Scrum
                        process. Even when we did try to estimate tasks in ideal days we did
                        not track actuals against the estimates or anything like that. Once
                        we have a way to calculate velocity with story points, there is little
                        added value in tracking actuals to more detail than that.

                        I suggest you ask the entire team, including Product Owner and
                        ScrumMaster, who uses the actuals data and what they use it for. If
                        no one ever looks at the data, now or weeks later, it is waste to
                        track it. It may be that people are doing because they think they
                        must or think there is value. Question the assumption and eliminate
                        whatever does not bring value to the team and company.

                        Alan

                        On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:00 PM, cloud_strife62301
                        <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Hi All,
                        >
                        > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.
                        >
                        > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
                        >
                        > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
                        >
                        > Seriousy... WTF!?
                        >
                        >
                      • Lyles, Heather
                        Alan, What tool does your team use to track hours for R&D tax credits? We currently use excel and I am curious if anyone has found a tool to make this easier.
                        Message 12 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                          Alan,

                          What tool does your team use to track hours for R&D tax credits? We currently use excel and I am curious if anyone has found a tool to make this easier.

                          Thanks,
                          Heather

                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Alan Dayley
                          Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 7:48 PM
                          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Tracking Actual Hours

                          Members of our Scrum teams track hours for accounting and tax
                          purposes. They record hours spent on their project so tax benefits
                          from R&D credits or other such things can be accounted.

                          And actual hours worked is NEVER fed back into the team or the Scrum
                          process. Even when we did try to estimate tasks in ideal days we did
                          not track actuals against the estimates or anything like that. Once
                          we have a way to calculate velocity with story points, there is little
                          added value in tracking actuals to more detail than that.

                          I suggest you ask the entire team, including Product Owner and
                          ScrumMaster, who uses the actuals data and what they use it for. If
                          no one ever looks at the data, now or weeks later, it is waste to
                          track it. It may be that people are doing because they think they
                          must or think there is value. Question the assumption and eliminate
                          whatever does not bring value to the team and company.

                          Alan

                          On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:00 PM, cloud_strife62301
                          <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Hi All,
                          >
                          > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.
                          >
                          > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
                          >
                          > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
                          >
                          > Seriousy... WTF!?
                          >
                          >


                          ------------------------------------

                          To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                          To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...! Groups Links
                        • Ron Jeffries
                          Hello, Heather. On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 9:53:51 PM, ... For years I took number of people on the project times 40 hours a week and reported that.
                          Message 13 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                            Hello, Heather. On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 9:53:51 PM,
                            you wrote:

                            > What tool does your team use to track hours for R&D tax credits?
                            > We currently use excel and I am curious if anyone has found a tool to make this easier.

                            For years I took number of people on the project times 40 hours a
                            week and reported that. Worked just fine. Auditors didn't care a
                            bit.

                            Ron Jeffries
                            www.XProgramming.com
                            www.xprogramming.com/blog
                            I don't do force. People should do what they want, and experience
                            the consequences.
                            How are productivity and personal preference balanced?
                            You get to decide.
                          • Alan Dayley
                            Heather, Made me chuckle! We use spreadsheets also. Each developer is expected to track their hours on projects whatever way they wish and then provide a
                            Message 14 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                              Heather,

                              Made me chuckle! We use spreadsheets also. Each developer is
                              expected to track their hours on projects whatever way they wish and
                              then provide a simple, standard spreadsheet each pay period.

                              We have no reason to have more control than this. In fact, I will
                              argue strongly against any more complex a method should someone want
                              to bring it up. Our system assumes each engineer is responsible and
                              honest and causes the least amount of work while minimizing
                              opportunity for micro management by hours.

                              Alan

                              On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 7:53 PM, Lyles, Heather <Heather.Lyles@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Alan,
                              >
                              > What tool does your team use to track hours for R&D tax credits? We currently use excel and I am curious if anyone has found a tool to make this easier.
                              >
                              > Thanks,
                              > Heather
                              >
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Alan Dayley
                              > Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 7:48 PM
                              > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Tracking Actual Hours
                              >
                              > Members of our Scrum teams track hours for accounting and tax
                              > purposes. They record hours spent on their project so tax benefits
                              > from R&D credits or other such things can be accounted.
                              >
                              > And actual hours worked is NEVER fed back into the team or the Scrum
                              > process. Even when we did try to estimate tasks in ideal days we did
                              > not track actuals against the estimates or anything like that. Once
                              > we have a way to calculate velocity with story points, there is little
                              > added value in tracking actuals to more detail than that.
                              >
                              > I suggest you ask the entire team, including Product Owner and
                              > ScrumMaster, who uses the actuals data and what they use it for. If
                              > no one ever looks at the data, now or weeks later, it is waste to
                              > track it. It may be that people are doing because they think they
                              > must or think there is value. Question the assumption and eliminate
                              > whatever does not bring value to the team and company.
                              >
                              > Alan
                              >
                              > On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:00 PM, cloud_strife62301
                              > <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > Hi All,
                              > >
                              > > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.
                              > >
                              > > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
                              > >
                              > > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
                              > >
                              > > Seriousy... WTF!?
                              > >
                              > >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                            • Alan Dayley
                              ... Your point is well take, Ron. We could, in fact start doing this too. Our history has been that any given engineer was working on multiple projects, some
                              Message 15 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                                On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 7:58 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > For years I took number of people on the project times 40 hours a
                                > week and reported that. Worked just fine. Auditors didn't care a
                                > bit.

                                Your point is well take, Ron. We could, in fact start doing this too.

                                Our history has been that any given engineer was working on multiple
                                projects, some which would be R&D and some maybe not. This required
                                the reporting of multiple projects by any one engineer.

                                Scrum and other more Agile practices (planning by team instead of
                                individual "resources," more focus on project value at the portfolio
                                level, recognition that task switching is high cost, etc.) has help
                                change this scattered focus considerably. Nearly all the engineers
                                are now assigned to one project per sprint. That makes the reporting
                                you describe possible.

                                A much better world!

                                Alan
                              • Roy Morien
                                There is nothing especially wrong about tracking hours spent. There is frequently a need for this for various purposes, including th tax and accounting reasons
                                Message 16 of 21 , Nov 4, 2009
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                                  There is nothing especially wrong about tracking hours spent. There is frequently a need for this for various purposes, including th tax and accounting reasons indicated by Alan.
                                   
                                  The real 'smell' that arises from this is when the calculation is made Estimated Hours - Actual Hours = Remaining Hours to Completion.
                                   
                                  Actual Hours should have nothing to do with burndown charts or whatever means is used to indicate probably future effort. There is nothing wrong with recording actual hours as well as estimating in story points, for example. They serve separate purposes. Recording actual hours does have a significant problem, however, when you try to do a breakdown for actual hours spent on Analysis, Design, Programming, Testing  etc. In this day and age it is very difficult to clearly classify effort int these categories. There is far too much overlap of these classifications in what we actually do.
                                   
                                  Regards,
                                  Roy Morien
                                   
                                  > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                  > From: alandd@...
                                  > Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 18:48:19 -0700
                                  > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Tracking Actual Hours
                                  >
                                  > Members of our Scrum teams track hours for accounting and tax
                                  > purposes. They record hours spent on their project so tax benefits
                                  > from R&D credits or other such things can be accounted.
                                  >
                                  > And actual hours worked is NEVER fed back into the team or the Scrum
                                  > process. Even when we did try to estimate tasks in ideal days we did
                                  > not track actuals against the estimates or anything like that. Once
                                  > we have a way to calculate velocity with story points, there is little
                                  > added value in tracking actuals to more detail than that.
                                  >
                                  > I suggest you ask the entire team, including Product Owner and
                                  > ScrumMaster, who uses the actuals data and what they use it for. If
                                  > no one ever looks at the data, now or weeks later, it is waste to
                                  > track it. It may be that people are doing because they think they
                                  > must or think there is value. Question the assumption and eliminate
                                  > whatever does not bring value to the team and company.
                                  >
                                  > Alan
                                  >
                                  > On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:00 PM, cloud_strife62301
                                  > <officeofthelaw@...> wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Hi All,
                                  > >
                                  > > Recently I've started at a new company that has been trying to implement Scrum, and there's been several practices that naturally need a bit or work or even removal, but there's one that has really been bugging me: tracking actuals.
                                  > >
                                  > > As a member of the dev team, each day I get an email from the Scrum Master asking me to please burn down our hours for the tasks I've been working on. This means, in Rally they've been filling in the "actuals" daily to "accurately" track time spent on tasks, which devs have to enter AGAIN into the corporate time tracking system, and AGAIN if they're from a contractor. :(
                                  > >
                                  > > Anyway, the whole "actuals" really annoyed me... in my experience, one should be more focused on actual outputs rather than tracking the number of hours spent on each task. Sadly, when I brought this to the ScrumMaster's attention, he was able to find numerous articles mentioning tracking actual hours on tasks on the Scrum Alliance site and even pointed out that Rally and the scrum templates you can find just about anywhere on the net have fields to enter estimated hours vs. actual hours.
                                  > >
                                  > > Seriousy... WTF!?
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  >
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                                • Lyles, Heather
                                  Thanks for the feedback. We are about to start our first scrum team in Jan., so I am looking forward to the easier reporting. I currently have many Designers
                                  Message 17 of 21 , Nov 5, 2009
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                                    Thanks for the feedback.  We are about to start our first scrum team in Jan., so I am looking forward to the easier reporting.  I currently have many Designers and QA who work across multiple projects in a year so tracking this is a bit labor intensive for me.

                                     

                                    From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Alan Dayley
                                    Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 10:20 PM
                                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Tracking Actual Hours

                                     

                                     

                                    On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 7:58 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                                    >
                                    > For years I took number of people on the project times 40 hours a
                                    > week and reported that. Worked just fine. Auditors didn't care a
                                    > bit.

                                    Your point is well take, Ron. We could, in fact start doing this too.

                                    Our history has been that any given engineer was working on multiple
                                    projects, some which would be R&D and some maybe not. This required
                                    the reporting of multiple projects by any one engineer.

                                    Scrum and other more Agile practices (planning by team instead of
                                    individual "resources," more focus on project value at the portfolio
                                    level, recognition that task switching is high cost, etc.) has help
                                    change this scattered focus considerably. Nearly all the engineers
                                    are now assigned to one project per sprint. That makes the reporting
                                    you describe possible.

                                    A much better world!

                                    Alan

                                  • huetlandry
                                    ... Roy, You can dispell the smell by letting the PMs and bean counters know that: Estimated Hrs - Actual Hrs = *Estimated* Remaining Hrs to Completion. Huet
                                    Message 18 of 21 , Nov 5, 2009
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                                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > The real 'smell' that arises from this is when the calculation is made Estimated Hours - Actual Hours = Remaining Hours to Completion.
                                      >

                                      Roy,

                                      You can dispell the 'smell' by letting the PMs and bean counters know that:

                                      Estimated Hrs - Actual Hrs = *Estimated* Remaining Hrs to Completion.

                                      Huet Landry
                                    • Roy Morien
                                      I think even that modification is suspect. If you have to emphasise estimated here, then you are probably talking to people who have great faith in estimates
                                      Message 19 of 21 , Nov 5, 2009
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                                        I think even that modification is suspect. If you have to emphasise 'estimated' here, then you are probably talking to people who have great faith in estimates and will call you out when you fail to deliver as promised ... ummmm ... deliver as estimated.
                                         
                                        Regards,
                                        Roy Morien
                                         

                                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                        From: hlandry@...
                                        Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 19:28:30 +0000
                                        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Tracking Actual Hours

                                         


                                        --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Roy Morien <roymorien@. ..> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > The real 'smell' that arises from this is when the calculation is made Estimated Hours - Actual Hours = Remaining Hours to Completion.
                                        >

                                        Roy,

                                        You can dispell the 'smell' by letting the PMs and bean counters know that:

                                        Estimated Hrs - Actual Hrs = *Estimated* Remaining Hrs to Completion.

                                        Huet Landry




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                                      • Roy Morien
                                        I keep wondering about all this estimating stuff. When I arrive at work, which is about preparing and presenting lectures, assessing students work, reading,
                                        Message 20 of 21 , Nov 5, 2009
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                                          I keep wondering about all this estimating stuff. When I arrive at work, which is about preparing and presenting lectures, assessing students' work, reading, doing research ... it is an ongoing job. The only real time box I have is the 'term' or 'semester' ... for the teaching stuff. This, like so many other jobs, is on-going. Sure, I have daily 'plans' to let me do my job in an orderly fashion and not forget anything, and I have a timetable of classes and stuff like that. BUT my job is essentially on-going and continuous.
                                           
                                          I have always seen software development in a similar light, but that contradicts the whole 'project' mentality, where we must see our software devlopment efforts as having a starting point, and an end point. In reality, this is so artificial and basically damaging, in my view.
                                           
                                          I see a better analogy in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is a well known icon in Australia, and probably to many people around the world. A team of maintenance guys starts painting the bridge, and after a period of time and a lot of paint, 'finishes' the job. But then they just start over again. In other words, they have a continuous maintenance job. There really is no start and end to their job.
                                           
                                          Developing software as a series of 'projects' and developing 'systems', whiech are bounded by functionality, is actually quite damaging. The result is a set of not very well developed 'discrete' and bounded systems that usually have a lot of duplication, that are not 'enterprise' based, do not talk to each other, are based on separate and separately designed databases, and so on.
                                           
                                          In a way, we are never really 'developing' stuff ... we are maintaining and enhancing the organisation's information system, which may not already be computerised, but exists anyway.
                                           
                                          If we were able to see software development, in an organisation, as a continuous process intended to ultimately create the necessary enterprise system, and that developmewnt activity included 'repainting' the software on a continuous basis as necessary (ie: not separating 'development' from 'maintenance') I think we would have a whole lot better outcomes. AND Scrum is quite perfect as a software development and maintenance activity, as suggested here.
                                           
                                          OK, it's never gonna happen ... but it's food for thought, I think.
                                           
                                          Regards,
                                          Roy Morien

                                          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                          From: hlandry@...
                                          Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 19:28:30 +0000
                                          Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Tracking Actual Hours

                                           


                                          --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Roy Morien <roymorien@. ..> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > The real 'smell' that arises from this is when the calculation is made Estimated Hours - Actual Hours = Remaining Hours to Completion.
                                          >

                                          Roy,

                                          You can dispell the 'smell' by letting the PMs and bean counters know that:

                                          Estimated Hrs - Actual Hrs = *Estimated* Remaining Hrs to Completion.

                                          Huet Landry




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                                        • Pablo Emanuel
                                          Huet, if
                                          Message 21 of 21 , Nov 6, 2009
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                                            Huet,
                                             
                                            <<You can dispell the 'smell' by letting the PMs and bean counters know that:

                                            Estimated Hrs - Actual Hrs = *Estimated* Remaining Hrs to Completion.>>
                                             
                                            if they're real PMs they'd know that even that is wrong. Real PMs have even metrics like SV and SPI to measure how unequal those things are.
                                             
                                            Regards,
                                            Pablo Emanuel, PMP
                                             


                                             
                                            2009/11/5 huetlandry <hlandry@...>


                                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > The real 'smell' that arises from this is when the calculation is made Estimated Hours - Actual Hours = Remaining Hours to Completion.
                                            >

                                            Roy,

                                            You can dispell the 'smell' by letting the PMs and bean counters know that:

                                            Estimated Hrs - Actual Hrs = *Estimated* Remaining Hrs to Completion.

                                            Huet Landry



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