Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cumulative Flow Chart: aka A ScrumMaster's Dirty Little Secret!

On most of my teams we are really working on Minimizing Work In Progress and getting things across the finish line one at a time. So I set up this to really give them an idea of how they were doing at this goal. This is the Cumulative Flow Chart, another awesome Greenhopper Gadget. It gives me a great feel of our pacing by tracking the tickets in the sprint by status (based on the columns you have setup in the Task/Rapid Board). If we are knocking out Stories one at a time, this should have a nice up and to the right flow.

There are two things that I want to point out. See the orange and purple swaths? These are the “In Dev” and “In QA” flows. As long as these stay relatively thin, we are doing a good job of minimizing WIP.
The second thing that I absolutely love about this chart (and that makes my P.O.s and Devs think I’m super sneaky)? It takes a snapshot each day. I knows the number of tickets in or out. See how the top edge climbs as the sprint goes on. This means tickets have been pulled in.

This morning during Scrum, I pointed out that in less than a week we had pulled in a ton of tickets, and I was quickly hit with, "Most of those are Translation Tasks." Well the team doesn't work on Translation Tasks, those are mostly for Product to Track so we can plan launch dates. So, why were they cluttering up the Task Board and skewing the Cumulative Flow Chart's data? Time to fix this!

So I set out to find the answers. I found out from the GreenHopper Confluence page that I could configure which Context I wanted to pull from. Genius!

So I went into the Planning Board to set up a new context. (You can do this in any of the default Agile Boards: Planning, Task, Chart, and Released.) To do this (a) click the arrow to the right of whichever context you are currently set to (probably either "Default" or "On The Fly") and (b) click "New".

A dialog box will come up so you can configure your new Context. First Name it, then click over to the Filter tab and choose which issue types to include/exclude. I decided to exclude Epics, Content/Marketing Tasks, Design Tasks, and Translation Tasks. Since most of these are custom to us, yours will probably be different.

Then pop back over to the dashboard that you have the Cumulative Flow Chart Gadget on, and click "Edit" to configure. Set the "Context".

Now I have a much cleaner view to see if tickets were added, and can address them accordingly!



Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Create a Dashboard

JIRA comes loaded with a standard dashboard, but since we all have different things that we need to get out of JIRA, it may be time to create one of your own to fit those needs.  I will follow this up later with a post about what makes a good dashboard, but for now this is a simple step-by-step on just creating one.

1) Click the down arrow next to "Dashboards" and select "Manage Dashboards"

2) Click "Create New Dashboard" in the top right corner of the dashboard management page.

3) Create New Dashboard Screen
  • Name and Describe your new dashboard. 
  • You can also choose here to start from a blank dashboard or you can choose to start from one you already have in your arsenal. This is super useful if you are creating say, team dashboards for multiple teams or tracking multiple projects.
  • Choose who you want to share it with. Is this going to be for your team? just you? everyone?
  • Then (and this one is an obvious step) click "Add"

4) Configure your new dashboard by adding gadgets. JIRA has a ton of great gadgets. Play around with them until you find something you love.