How many times do you struggle as an Agile Stakeholder to get a forecast from the team?
And if you get a forecast, can you trust it?
How many of us trust the weather forecast?
We look at our Weather Apps on the phone daily or before a week for planned events or before a few months for planning vacations. The Weather forecast helps us plan our day, week or vacation.
Likewise the forecast for an Agile team helps the Stakeholders decide on budgets and size of team (add or remove members) in the short and long run.
Very often Forecasting is dismissed or not discussed actively in the context of Agile projects.
Here are two simple ways to forecast in Agile projects
- Velocity based forecasting
All you need for velocity based estimation is the Velocity of the team for the last 3 to 5 iterations and the Capacity of the team in the past and future. With these numbers and the technique defined in the article (Agile Forecasting with Focus Factor (scrumalliance.org)) one can easily forecast.
2. Throughput based forecasting
Sometimes velocity based estimation is used incorrectly by teams to compare across teams and increase motivation to do more points without increased value delivery. Throughput based estimation excludes estimation from the picture and just uses the number of stories completed in the last 3 to 5 iterations.
I like the discussion comparing the Velocity based and Throughput based forecasting by Troy (
And for those who want to try out Throughput forecasting using an online tool, this one from Rodrigo is a great start:
If a team can use either velocity based or throughput based forecasting to give a forecast to the stakeholder on what can be achieved in the next iteration or next quarter it greatly helps in planning and budgeting.
Infact with throughput based forecasting, one can also on a high level judge how long will the product backlog need to get completed with the current team size. This can also help the Stakeholder plan to increase the team size and take up new projects in the future.
How do you forecast in your teams?