PMI-ACP Tools and Techniques: Agile Metrics


PMI-ACP Exam Agile Metrics

[PMI-ACP® Exam Study Notes] Agile Metrics is one of the ten Tools and Techniques for the PMI-ACP® exam. The “Tools and Techniques” accounts for a total of 50% of all the questions to be found on the exam paper. According to the PMI-ACP® exam content outline, Metrics includes Velocity, Cycle Time, Earned Value Management (EVM) for Agile projects and Escaped Defects.

PMI-ACP® Exam Importance: around 3-6 questions (~5% of all questions)

PMI-ACP® Tools and Techniques: Metrics

  • Metrics are measurements / calculations that reflect the performance / progress of the project
  • Velocity
    • Velocity of team: the (average) number of story points the team can accomplish in each iteration used to estimate the project timeline and set expectations
    • ideally, after several iterations, the velocity will become constant / gradually increasing owning to synergy and reduced risks
      • for iteration 1, the velocity needs to be guessed based on historic data
      • velocity usually increases over the first few iterations and reaches a plateau afterwards owing to the increase in complexity of the overall product
    • velocity = the slope of a burn down graph
    • factors affecting velocity:
      • staffing (no of resources), morale and their skill sets
      • project arrangement: interruptions / multi-tasking
    • if the team meets for the first time, there is NO historical data on the velocity; the initial velocity (known as “forecasted velocity” can only be guessed based on any available data
  • Cycle Time
    • Cycle time: the time necessary to get a single item of work done from start (idea) to finish (as a shippable product that delivers value)
    • reduce cycle time by shortening iteration time (breaking down task sizes), limiting WIP and reducing wastes
    • Cycle Time = WIP / Throughput (amount of output from a process)
    • Defect cycle time is the time between defect injection and defect remediation, the shorter the better
      • it makes sense to set a realistic goal for the defect cycle time (e.g. ~12 hours)
  • Earned Value Management (EVM) for Agile Projects
    • Earned Value Management is a tool used in traditional project management to measure the progress (in terms of realization of values) of the project
    • In Agile, EVM is the measure of cost performance of the Agile project
      • though the estimate and actual costs (money spent) can be plotted as a S-curve graph to clearly show whether the project is under- or over-budget, it does not tell whether the progress of the project is ahead of or behind schedule
    • Value (story points and money) is calculated at the end of each iteration for work done
    • For the construction of the graph for EVM:
      • The baseline for comparison:
        • number of planned iterations in a release
        • planned story points in the release
        • planned budget for the release
      • Actual measurements:
        • total story points completed
        • number of iterations completed
        • Actual Cost (actual spending) to date
        • any story points added / removed from the plan (as Agile project requirements are ever-changing)
      • Plotting the chart:
        • x-axis: iterations / date
        • y-axis: i) story points planned; ii) story points completed, iii) planned budget; iv) actual costs
        • discrepancies between i) and ii) / iii) and iv) reflect the performance of the release
    • Formulas for EVM (not to be tested on the PMI-ACP® exam)
      • Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = Earned Value / Planned Value
      • Cost Performance Index (CPI) = Earned Value / Actual Cost
    • EVM does not indicate the quality of the project outcome, i.e. whether the project is successful or not
  • Escaped Defects
    • Agile performance (on quality) can also be measure by the number of escaped defects (defects found by customers)
      • defects should be found and fixed during coding and testing
      • defects found early are much less expensive to fix than defects found late

Summary: Metrics

This PMI-ACP® Exam Study notes touches upon one of the many tools and techniques of the PMI-ACP® exam syllabus – Agile Metrics. Metrics includes Velocity, Cycle Time, Earned Value Management (EVM) for Agile projects and Escaped Defects.

 

Most Popular PMI-ACP Certification Articles

GreyCampus PMP online training course bundle for US$149 only

Support website running for FREE, thanks!

If you find this post helpful and if you are thinking of buying from Amazon, please support the running cost of this website at no extra cost to you by searching and buying through the search box below. Thank you very much for your help!

Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Responses

  1. Ka Lun says:

    Would like to know how to estimate the initial velocity? is base on past iteration? or base on initial resources on hand? or ask team to guess?

    Thanks

    • Edward Chung says:

      Yes, it is based on guessing.
      But a good rule of thumb is to estimate the initial velocity for Agile projects at 1/3 of the available time for that iteration to account for warm up time, meetings, documentation and unknowns (i.e. if you have 9 working days in an iteration, then the no. of ideal days is 3 => estimate the story point based on what can be achieved in 3 ideal days) .
      But if your team has collaborated on Agile projects before, it is best to estimate based on historical data which tends to be the most accurate.