Agile Planning - How to improve your planning
Applying Principles from The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software by Jonathan Rasmusson
When I wrote in Agile Planning - Reality vs. Fantasy I pointed out the issues with the planning that was going on.
The start of this release is at the end of Sept. 2011 and it must finish by Dec. 9, 2011. The green line represents the 'required' velocity needed to meet the end date. The red dashed line represents the team's average velocity. The blue line represents the team's average velocity in 2010. I have added the vertical bars to represent the release burn down if the team meet their average velocity for each sprint. This makes it easier to calculate how many story points need to be removed from the release to meet the end date. In this case 482 story points need to be removed or about 30% of the product backlog. If the product owner were to complain that last year the team was more productive you have the data to show that last year they would have to remove 50% of the product backlog to meet the date.
By having this data and this chart it is possible to have hard conversations with product owners and stakeholders about what is possible and what is not possible for a particular release.