Archive for July, 2009

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Free Critical Path and Float Calculation Worksheet

Critical Path Float Calculation WorksheetThe number one search on the Critical Path website is for a Critical Path and Float worksheet.  Though you should be using software to calculate a critical path, if it is mission critical, it is important to understand the concept for the PMP exam.

Rather then go into the specifics on how to calculate the critical path and float in this post, I’ll merely say a free worksheet template  and PowerPoint presentation are available and you can download them at any time. (see links below)

Remember the Critical Path tells you the activities that can not slip a day without increasing the total duration of the project or moving the project completion date. It is the longest path of logically related activities through the network which cannot slip without impacting the total project duration, termed zero float.

[Click here to download the Critical Path and Float Calculation Worksheet]

[Click here to download the Critical Path Scheduling PowerPoint Presentation]
PDF Also available in PDF

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Free Meeting Minutes Template

Click here to download the Meeting Minutes TemplateBack in March, I wrote a post about helpful tips for running a meeting.  With it was a free copy of my meeting minutes template.  Here is a brief refresher when hosting a meeting:

[1] Write out the purpose of the meeting with actionable events in mind. e.g. “Provide an updated status, identifying risks and opportunities, and identify new action items.”

[2] Identify your attendee list but only keep those you can map to the actionable events listed in step 1.  There is a difference between an attendee list and a communications distribution list.

[3] Create an agenda.  Do not ever arrange a meeting without a written agenda.  Your meeting will suffer scope creep in the worst possible way.

[4] Identify who will run the meeting and who will take notes.  It should not be the same person.

[5] Ensure discussion points align to the agenda.  If they don’t, recommend taking the topic to another forum.

[6] End the meeting by having the note taker read back the discussion points and the understood action items.

[7] Send out the meeting minutes within one to two days.

Please note I don’t recommend using this for a Daily Scrum or Stand Up Meeting.

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Calculating Initial Velocity On Day Zero

VelocityWhile reviewing proposal documentation yesterday, I noticed the contractor’s predicted velocity rate was pretty high.  Being they are not experienced in using Agile and they haven’t even started the project, I was curious how they were able to calculate such a high velocity rate for the first iteration.  I know how many developers they intend to use and I know their proposed iteration durations.  I’m not going to get into the specifics as to how they estimated features (user stories, requirements, backlog items, etc.).  So, what did I expect?

Velocity is a very simple method for accurately measuring the rate at which teams deliver business value. To calculate velocity, simply add up the estimates of the features successfully delivered in the last sprint or iteration.  What about the initial iteration?

Terms to understand when calculating initial velocity:

[1] Number of Developers – How many developers will you have doing actual work?

[2] Capacity – What is the maximum amount of work one person can accomplish in an ideal situation during the iteration?

[3] Number of Iteration Days – How many work days are in the iteration?

[4] Load (Capacity) Factor - The ratio of the actual work output over a period of time and the output if the developer had operated at full capacity over that time period.  e.g. 1/3 = 2.4 Hours , 1/2 = 4 Hours, 1/1 = 8 Hours

[5] Velocity – How much Product Backlog value a team can deliver in one iteration.

Because you don’t know team velocity for the first iteration, plan initial velocity at one-third of total capacity in order to account for coffee breaks, design, email, meetings, rework, research, etc.  As an example, with seven (7) developers and at one-third (1/3) capacity, a total of 2.1 ideal developers are available.  Multiply the number of ideal developers by the number of work days to arrive at the total of ideal work days.  These ideal work days will be applied against your estimated features, to arrive at an initial velocity.

(7 [Developers] * 1/3 [Load Capacity Factor]) * 21 [Work Days] = 44.1 [Ideal Work Days]