Re: Any recommendations on delivering a project to a previous agreed to date?
- Hi Ron,
you've got already good advice. I'd like to add some tactics regarding release planning.
Did I get it right that you've estimated your user stories/epics in story points, but you are missing the history-based velocity? Mike Cohn describes several options how to estimate velocity (Agile Estimating and Planning). The preferred way is to run one or two sprints to create this history. Although that velocity will be only a rough indicator, you could use it judge the validity of your project/release plan.
Alternatively, you could select a few representative stories and break them down to tasks. Don't do this alone, but with at least 3 team members or better with the whole dev team - danger is to forget something. After adding your (ideal) engineering hours for these tasks, you can calculate how many SP you could probably get to done during a sprint, thus you could "forecast" velocity.
I suggest to use 2-point estimates (50% and 90% values) during release planning and to calculate a schedule buffer from that. I would recommend an additional feature buffer if you have to promise the delivery of a fixed feature set to a fixed date. We plan only for 70% of these must-haves, so we use a 30% feature buffer. In my shop (a software product company) we have a fairly good load factor (approx. 70%), so we plan with 49% (:-)) of our time to put into these must-haves (70% x 70%) - which matches Peter's advice to plan with a net capacity of 40-50% of your time for essential stories.
Hope this helps,
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ron" <ron_buell@...> wrote:
> I am looking at a project that has been predefined on its needs and its end date. We want to use Scrum to manage the project. How can I best assure upper level management that I will hit this date? I don't have the luxury of story point history with this team, so I cannot fall back on that. I also can hire new engineers rather freely. However, I am also well aware of the mythical man month. I would truly appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!