Track and report progress
A very flexible way for team members to track their work is by using queries. There are many predefined queries available, plus you can also easily create your own queries. To use a predefined query, go to Work Items and click on the query.
To build your own custom query, you can either start from scratch or modify an existing query. If an existing query almost matches your needs, you can use steps similar to these to customize it and then save it with a new name:
- In the Work Items view (Figure 48), click Create Query.
- Start adding conditions by clicking on the plus sign in the middle of the window.
- In the Add Condition window, select Type and click Add attribute condition.
- For Type, for example, select Story.
- Add another condition to select Planned For and enter
Figure 48. Create a new query
- Optionally, configure the way that the query results are displayed.
- On the Result Layout tab, add or remove columns and specify the sort column and order.
Figure 49. Configure the layout of the query results
- Give the new query a name, for example,
All stories in Product Backlog,and click Save.
- Click Run to run the query and see the results.
One way to easily prepare for the Daily Scrum meeting is to use the predefined Recently Modified query to identify tasks that have been updated in the last day or so (Figure 50). You can configure the number of hours that qualifies as "recently" by using a query argument. The default value is 12 hours.
This list will quickly show who has been doing what. It helps determine who has not reported any progress lately.
Figure 50. The "recently modified" query
Another way to see what is going on is the Project Events viewlet that can be added to the project's dashboard. Dashboards. in general, are a good way to monitor activity and show status. Several dashboards can be configured with various viewlets to address the team's and stakeholder's needs. Figure 51 shows an example of such a viewlet that contains the events for the project. The settings for this viewlet can be edited to show the events of interest.
Figure 51. The Project Events viewlet
To quickly see progress and status information, progress bars are available at many places in Rational Team Concert. These progress bars already provide a good view of the current status of the progress for an iteration, the progress of a particular story, the workload for a team member, and much more. For active members of the project team, these load bars may present all of the information that they really need to track progress within a sprint.
The team can also use burndown reports to keep track of how work is progressing and to view the history of their progress. They can use a Product (Release) Burndown report to track overall project progress, and they can use a Sprint Burndown report to see how work is progressing for the sprint.
Reports are accessed through the Reports menu choice (Figure 52).
- Open the Release Burndown report (in scrum terms, this is called the Product Burndown report) by selecting Reports from the menu bar and then expanding Work Items.
- Click the Release Burndown report.
The report in Figure 52 displays the Story Points remaining at the beginning of each sprint, as well as the total amount of planned work. In this example, the planned work remained constant over the first four sprints. During the fourth sprint, additional work was added to the Product Backlog.
Figure 52. Open a release burndown report
For tracking trends and historical reporting, Rational Team Concert uses data warehouse technology to collect and somewhat compress what would be a large amount of data, even for a relatively small project. If you are trying to look at reports while working through this article and find that they have no data in them, you didn't do anything wrong. The report in Figure 52 was created after monitoring the project progress for six sprints. When you've just started, it's likely that the data warehousing "snapshot" collection hasn't run yet. This process typically runs at midnight in the Jazz server's time zone, so you need to have a server that's up all of the time for the process to run automatically. A user with admin rights can force a snapshot collection from the web UI (see Figure 53), although this is not recommended in a production environment, because the process can be resource intensive and can affect user response during normal working hours.
Figure 53. Update All Snapshot Data
There are numerous reports provided by Rational Team Concert. You can also use the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT), an Eclipse-based reporting system, to create your own reports. Figure 54 shows a few examples.
Figure 54. Examples for reports
The Sprint Burndown chart provides an instant answer to the question "Are we on track to finish all of the work that we committed to do?" Assuming that all of your team members update their work items appropriately, the line trends closer to zero (work remaining) as work is completed. The burndown rate should be easily visible to all of the team all of the time.
To display the Sprint Burndown report:
- Open the Sprint Backlog (iteration plan) and go to the Charts tab.
- Alternatively, go to Reports and select Burndown (see Figure 55).
For the Sprint Burndown report to look similar to the one in Figure 55, you must have updated and logged work completed by various team members for several days.
Figure 55. Sprint Burndown report
If team members do not update their data by the end of each day, the status of their work items will not be properly reflected in the report. Although updating the status of their tasks will help the trend line to catch up at the next processing point, there is no way to update the history. The task will show as done (finished) on whatever day it is closed, not whenever the work was actually finished.
Jazz does not skip non-work days in its plotting, because it's hard to preset which days are non-work days for a globally distributed team. Therefore, flat lines often represent weekend times but could also be symptomatic of a lack of progress (or progress updates).
Figure 56. Sprint Burndown report at the end of the sprint
You might need to edit the report to display the sprint that you are interested in at the moment.
An important part of the scrum process is the Sprint Review meeting. The first part of this is the demo to the stakeholders. Using Rational Team Concert may not be part of this, because the point is to show off working software, not the list of tasks. However, feedback and comments from the review meeting should be captured, either in the sprint's Overview page or as an attachment to that page.
The next part of the Sprint Review meeting is the Retrospective (sometimes called Reflection). This is a chance for the team to discuss what went well, what didn't, and what they plan to do about it. The scrum Process template defines a Retrospective work item type (Figure 57) that can be used to make sure that the reflection meeting occurs and to track the team's comments and plans.
Figure 57. Work item for the Retrospective meeting