Status Reporting: Somebody Has To Do It

Status reporting is a huge headache no matter what software development approach you choose. Big companies tend to have a standard status reporting form, usually a spreadsheet, that has to be filled in for every project.

Unfortunately, those status reporting forms are almost always predicated on the use of the waterfall approach. If you hear phrases like earned value and percent complete, it’s waterfall.

If you are using an agile software development approach, status reporting becomes a problem. You can present agile metrics like burn down charts and velocity but the audience is unlikely to accept them.

You can try converting agile metrics to waterfall ones like earned value and percent complete but it’s not a simple conversion and may prove to be confusing.

Agile deals in risk control and ranges of outcomes. Waterfall deals in (alleged) deterministic outcomes. (I say alleged because we all know that waterfall gets it wrong more often than right. Not very deterministic.)

Analytical-Mind has created a status reporting tool called the Sunset graph. It shows team status in a novel way capturing planned and actual status. Take a look at “Status reporting in an Agile context – Introducing the SunSet Graph”.

Updated: December 31, 2010 — 5:14 pm