How to Deal with Direct Reports in Agile Teams

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How to Deal with Direct Reports in Agile Teams

Agile reporting as the name implies is reporting of the key information in an agile team. Reporting is one of the vital techniques which plays an important role in the success of a project. Without reporting, it is almost like shooting an aim in the dark.

Reporting helps in adding value to the project if they are accurate. It helps the team understand any problem that might be building up behind the curtains. It helps us gauge when the work would be done and if the team is overloaded with work or if there is a presence of scope creeps in the project. Thus reporting will help us track if there are any backlogs and also the current progress. 

Characteristics of a Report

Certain elements characterize a successful and useful report. These elements only enhance the aspects of the report but also makes it more valuable. 

The characteristics that a fair report showcases are:

Goal-Oriented

It is essential that the report or the reporting is goal-oriented. This is especially relevant for the mobile application development industry. Numerous mobile applications are floating around the app store and play store across every domain. Every second of every day, there is some update or change in the applications.

To keep up with the business’s demands and be on the same page as the competitors, it is from the first very vital point that a goal-oriented approach is taken. Thus the reporting is aligned according to the goals and the results that are aimed at.

User-Oriented

Along with Goal-Oriented Agile reporting also helps make the product user-oriented, according to the customer’s desires. The mobile application that might be built can have certain features according to the wants and wishes of the customer and user. 

Value Addition 

It is essential that the reporting adds value to the whole system. With agile reporting, if the growth rate has become positive, then the reporting’s effectiveness can be proved. Thus value addition is successfully achieved. 

Frequency of reporting

As the name suggests, frequency of reporting is basically how many reports are to be submitted and at what intervals. This reporting rate can be decided according to the company’s needs, like every day, once a week, twice a week, every month, and so on.

It is essential to keep track of the frequency because if there is something wrong with the process, it can be identified and corrected. This gives the organization more time to act if something has to be improved or changed altogether. 

Agile Reporting Tools and Techniques

The different types of agile tools and techniques are listed below:

Sprint Burndown

Burndown for Sprints means basically to track whether or not the Sprint is making the right moves to fulfill the Sprint goals. While monitoring the Sprints, the colors Red, Amber and Green are usually used. This chart can very effectively provide a detailed view of the progress of the Sprint. 

In the Sprint burndown chart, the y axis represents the total story points, while the x-axis represents the Sprint dates.

sprint-burndown

Sprint velocity

Sprint velocity can be defined as the mean number of story points on a Sprint. We can keep a close observation on this by checking 2 or 3 previous story points. If we know the team’s velocity, then a commitment can be made at the beginning of the Sprint. 

Epic, product and release burndown 

Release burndown charts help us to figure the expected delivery of a scope. This accuracy gets better with time and the number of Sprints. 

Spikes in the burndown charts are widespread in reality. It is sporadic a sight for the agile project that the chart is always positive right from the beginning.

Although burndown charts are widely used, there are some disadvantages associated with them. It does not show scope creeps very clearly. 

Earned Value

Earned value reporting, as the name suggests, is figuring out the value for money spent, i.e., how much work has been achieved in terms of the money spent. 

A few terms used in this context are:

  • The total expected cost of the project is known as the Budget. It is decided at the beginning.
  • The money that was spent from the Budget is known as Actual Cost. 
  • The amount of work in the project expected to be done within a particular period is known as Planned Value. 
  • The actual amount of work that has been done within a particular period is known as Earned Value. 
earned-value

Scope Change

If the project is changing all the time, it can be observed that the requirements, scope, etc., are also changing accordingly. If the changes start reducing, it can be expected the goal may be reached soon, and delivery can be given more shortly than expected. 

The changes are supposed to be reported at regular intervals. 

Defects Trend

Defect trends help us find out the defects and are represented by available resolutions in a defect trend graph. 

It so happens that the defects found cant be improved and are carried forward in future Sprints.

Defect trend-charts help to take care of the code quality. It helps us decide whether or not a defect spike is needed. 

Team Capacity/Load

The team capacity snapshot helps us to know what every member of the team is doing and understand if the team members are lagging. 

The team members are asked for the following information:

Total capacity or the total number of hours per day they work on a project multiplied by the number of days on the project. 

Assigned capacity = the number of hours transferred.

Available capacity = (total capacity-assigned capacity).

Golden Rules for an Agile Reporting Structure

When an organization adopts Scrum, it can be assumed that it is going into an agile-based approach from the traditional team-based approach. 

In the traditional system, there is usually the presence of a project manager who takes care of the delivery of the project. The line manager who tends to the individual members and the team members report to him—resource managers for finding the required people for the project. 

It is when Scrum is introduced; there are introductions of some rules. These can be explained as: 

Work management and people management are two different entities 

Agile teams always give importance to transparency. But when we represent our work, it will always have a positive edge to it, however transparent and honest we are. So it is incredibly essential to have an unbiased review, and thus the management for the work and the management for review should be different from each other. 

There is only one team

In a team, there can be many people, and they can have different skill sets. They can also be from other domains and departments. But the goal is to make the team out of all these different individuals and work towards a common goal.

Sometimes this idea becomes extremely difficult to follow because the groups and work become complex. Sometimes decisions have to be rushed, and that creates a lot of chaos. But if any situation may arise, the team can stick to the “only one team” idea then any difficult scenario can be avoided. 

Always a place for Technical Growth

In Scrum teams, it so happens that the already present departments are broken up. This is not a positive thing for technical skill-building. An individual present in the group must have means by which he can widen his horizons and his technical skills outside the boundary of the project. 

Promotion processes should be encouraged

With the introduction of Scrum, employees should also be given a chance to get promotions to do better in aspects of their careers. Scrum should encourage new skill sets and promotions, which might make the work more fun and enjoyable. 

Scrum masters are essential

In an agile team, Scrum Masters are of utmost importance. They ensure that the principles of Agile are followed, thus working effectively towards the shared goal. The scrum team, along with the Scrum Master, creates a hospitable environment for effective business and growth. 

Best way to do Agile Reporting

It is imperative that reporting is accurate in organizations, especially when the organizations are large. If effective communication is not done, the employees get lost in the sea of information and data. If the reports are regular and to the point, it’s easy for everyone starting from the employees to the CEOs, to stay on the same page, and the work is more fruitful. 

The levels where the reports can be made are a company, departmental, team, task, and individual. If the words are used effectively, then it is useful in analyzing the company’s performance, issues with the projects, and a detailed study on the list of pending works. 

It is essential to finalize how many reports are to be made because too many reports are a waste of energy not only for the creator but also for the person reading it. 

A viral test for the reports is the SMART test. SMART is the acronym made to set goals. SMART stands for:

  • S- Specific
  • M- Measurable
  • A- Assignable
  • R- Realistic
  • T- Time Related

SMART is related to a term called MBO or Management By Objective. MBO got very popular around the year 1950. But gradually, it lost its charm because MBO requires us to assume that the project’s values would remain constant for a whole year. 

For some companies, this would be true, but for most, the values kept changing all around the year. 

burnup-chart

OKR (Objectives and Key Results)

OKR is used to set up a goal and the goal cycles are quarterly and sometimes monthly, contrary to the MBO. OKR has been used by companies like Google, Uber, Dropbox, Twitter, etc. It considers the performance of the team and not that of the individual to bind the individuals into a group. 

This can be achieved by a particular method where the company comes up with an objective and a few results; next, the business units again come with a purpose and a few products. After this, each team sets up the dream and the results, and finally, each individual sets up a goal and outcomes. 

OKR gives the team the freedom to deliver a particular work on an agreed-upon date instead of a predetermined time. This is an example of a dynamic team-based system. This helps in agile reports like:

  • Product Backlog Report
  • Sprint Backlog Report
  • Burndown Report 
  • Velocity Report

FAQs about Direct Agile Reporting

How do I report a project status in agile?

The best way to do reporting in Agile is by using the SMART technique. SMART stands for- Specific Measurable Assignable Realistic Time Related.

What does Agile stand for?

Agile stands for Advanced Generation of Interoperability For Law Enforcement.

Why do I write a scrum report?

The main aim of writing a scrum report is value addition to the project. It also helps if new features are to be added in a project. 

What is a sprint report?

The sprint report gives us an idea of the sprint tasks and tracks the progress. It helps to understand how much has been completed and seeing the backlogs.

How do I create a report on Jira?

Click on create of the confluence option, select Jira report, click on next. Choose a report click on next, type out the required information and create.

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Bluein Christian
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Content Writer with experience of 6+ years. Have experience writing content for different industries, such as travel, education, fashion, and more. A creative person by birth and by profession. She loves learning new concepts and creating useful content about them. She loves traveling and is always up for new challenges.

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