Earned Value Analysis for Feature-Burndown in Iterative Projects

Type: Process
Sources: T. Sulaiman, H. Smits in Measuring Integrated Progress on Agile Software Development Projects. In addition, there's tons of information out there on Earned Value Analysis, check out:


to explain how to obtain information about the Earned Value of an agile project that is using a backlog of either {user stories, features, requirements, change requests}

feature FOR THIS POST DEFINED AS a thing to be implemented, could well be a requirement, a user story, a use case. Whatever your backlog consists of.

Entry Conditions

E1: Each feature in your backlog needs to have an estimate, best measured in some points, gummy-bears etc. (Make the sum of all features your parameter TSPP, total sum of planned feature points)

  • Note: It's not imortant that these estimates represent actual budget, time or similar. They have to be consistent with each other and represent properly the relative relations between them
  • Note: You can adjust the number later but you will have to recalculate things (see S3-S5).

E2: You need to know how many iterations you will undertake. (Make this your parameter TNI, total number of iterations).
Note: Ideally, iterations are all the same length, i.e. timeboxes. You can adjust the number later but you will have to recalculate things (see S3-S5).

E3: You need to know the budget you are about to spend, from now to the end of the last iteration (make this your parameter TBP, total budget planned).

E4: You need an established way of tracking how much budget you have actually spent on each of the iterations.
Note: This can be obtained by maintaining a log of workhours spent on the project by each of its members.

Steps and Notes

S1: After every iteration, find out how much budget you have actually used for the iteration. Sum it up over all finished iterations. Make this your ABS, actual budget spent
S2: After every iteration, find out how many points you have actually implemented within all iterations (= ASI, actual sum implemented). All the feature's points count as implemented if and only if the feature is in full effect.
Note: this means you have to have a clear understanding what 'done' means for a feature.

S3: Do some calculations
- Expected Percentage Completed = TNI / number of already finished iterations
- Actual Percentage Completed = TSPP / ASI
- Planned Value = TBP * Expected Percentage Completed
- Earned Value = TBP * Actual Percentage Completed

S4: Find out about you projects cost performance and cost estimate:
- Cost Performance Index = Earned Value / ABS
Note: > 1 means under budget, = 1 means on budget, < 1 means over budget
- Cost Estimate to Completion = TBP / Cost Performance Index

S5: Find out about you projects schedule performance and schedule estimate:
- Schedule Performance Index = Earned Value / Planned Value
Note: > 1 means before schedule, = 1 means on schedule, < 1 means behind schedule
- Schedule Estimate to Completion (in iterations) = TNI / Schedule Performance Index

Exit Conditions

One may exit the process, if…

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