Assessing team work with progress and load bars

You can assess your team's progress for a release or an iteration by viewing progress bars. You can see completed and estimated work load for your team. You can also determine if the project is likely to be completed on time or determine whether the team is overbooked.

Important: Your project must have at least one iteration with an iteration plan and one team area. For accurate tracking, be sure to specify the Owned By, Planned For, and Estimate fields for all work items. Teams that follow the Scrum process additionally use Time Remaining to specify how much time is left to complete the work item. Load and progress bars are calculated from work item estimates. As you estimate more work items, these values become increasingly accurate.
Note: Estimated time is calculated based on the values available in the following fields:
  • If the Estimate value is the only available value, that value is used.
  • If a Correction value is available, that value is used.
  • If a Time Spent value is available and the work item is not resolved, that value is subtracted from the estimate or corrected estimate. If the Time Spent value is available and the work item is resolved, that value is used.
  • If the Time Remaining value is set, the time spent is derived from that value to calculate the estimated time.

Team Load section

Use the Team Load section to review each team member's work load by comparing the remaining hours available in the iteration (based on the team member's work schedule, planned absences, and percentage of assignment to this timeline) with the estimated hours for completing the planned work items for the iteration. If the estimated hours exceed the available hours, the difference is displayed as overbooked hours. This section also shows the percentage of work items that have work estimates. Work items without estimates are a risk to the iteration. Hover over a team member's work load indicator and press F2 for more information.

If the Team Load section is not visible in the Team Dashboard or My Work view, click the drop-down menu down arrow icon in the view toolbar, and then click Visible Sections > Team Load.

Work load
Important: To ensure that the calculations in the Plan and user load bars are accurate, team members' work environment timezone must match the server system time zone.
Note: Work load is calculated using the following formulas:
  • Total hours available: The number of days between now and the end of the iteration, which is multiplied by the number of hours that the user can work per day (as defined in the work environment).
  • Total hours estimated: The sum of the remaining estimated hours for all tasks that are assigned to a user for an iteration.
  • Overbooked by: The Total Hours Estimated minus the Total Hours Available (the amount of work in hours that exceeds the remaining work time).
  • Items estimated: The number of work items that are estimated in the Estimate field.
  • Quality of planning: The degree to which your work is estimated. The more work items that you estimate, the more precisely the work can be calculated. The quality is excellent if all work items are estimated, and it decreases from good to fair to poor as decreasing amounts of work items are estimated.

Load bar

In the web client, the Plan Details section of a plan shows load information, which is a comparison of remaining work time (as defined in the work environment) and remaining estimated work. It can help you to answer the question, Does the team have enough time to finish all work in this iteration? The workload information can identify if a team member is overbooked.

Load Bar in the Plan Details section

The load bar in the preceding picture gives you this information:
  • Total hours estimated versus total hours available: Out of the 296 hours that are estimated, the team can support 215.5 hours.
  • Hours, behind or ahead of schedule: The team’s upcoming work exceeds the remaining work time. The team is behind by 80.75 hours, resulting in the red part of the bar.
  • Percentage of work items estimated: Only 50% of work items are estimated. Notice that the height of the load bar is a visual representation of the estimated work items. It is only 50% filled.

When you hover the mouse pointer over the Load bar, the Work Load report information displays in the hover help:

Work Load report

Work load is calculated using the same formulas as Team Load.

Progress bar

The Progress bar is also in the Plan Details section of a plan, which shows progress information that takes into account both remaining work and any finished work. It shows the ratio of closed to open work items. A progress bar can help you to answer the question, Considering all of the work for this iteration, where is the team now?

If the past and the remaining work time is known, progress information can also provide a projection. It compares the ratio of closed work items to open work with the ratio of past to remaining work time. The projection assumes that you plan to work on future work with the same velocity as you worked on past work. So, if the past work time is 9 hours and you completed work that is estimated at 3 hours, the projection assumes that you need three times as much work time as estimated for the remaining work. This value is compared to the remaining work time. If it is smaller, you are ahead, if it is larger, you are behind your target.

The progress bar shows a comparison of completed and expected work hours for the team in an iteration. It also shows the percentage of work items that have estimates. The width of the progress indicator represents the full duration of the iteration.

Progress Bars in the Plan Details section

The length of the green bar indicates the amount of work that is completed. A light-green extension indicates work that is completed ahead of plan. A red extension indicates work that is behind plan or estimated work that exceeds the remaining available hours in the iteration.

There are two progress bars:

The top bar tracks the progress of the story points in an iteration. You can see that 40 out of 73 points are complete. You can also see that 100% of the stories are estimated. When you hover the mouse pointer over the top bar, the hover help provides more information:

Progress report hover for stories
  • Story points done: The number of story points that are complete.
  • Expected story points: Estimates how many story points should be completed at this time in the iteration. It also indicates whether you are ahead or behind.
  • Work hours done: The number of work item hours that are complete.
  • Expected work hours: Estimates how many work item hours should be completed at this time in the iteration. It also indicates whether you are ahead or behind.
  • Items estimated: The percentage of stories that are estimated.
  • Items completed: The number of work items (including stories) that are complete.

The bottom bar tracks the progress of the hours in an iteration. You can see that 48 out of 92 hours are complete, and it is estimated that the team is running ahead of schedule by 34 hours. You can also see that 83% of the work items are estimated. When you hover the mouse pointer over the bottom bar, the hover help provides more information:

Progress report hover for work items
  • Work hours done: The number of work item hours that are complete.
  • Expected work hours: Estimates how many work item hours should be completed at this time in the iteration. Indicates whether you are ahead or behind.
  • Items estimated: The percentage of work items that are estimated.
  • Items completed: The number of work items (including stories) that are complete.
Tip: On the Planned Items tab, you can toggle Progress and Load bars for individual team members by clicking the bar next to that team member.
Learn more about estimating work items:

Learn more about estimating work items

When you initially estimate a work item, you make a best guess of how long it will take to complete that work item. You can use the following fields to ensure accuracy of your estimates:

  • Estimate: The initial estimate of a work item before thorough investigation.
  • Time Remaining: The amount of time needed to complete the work item. Adjust the time remaining value as you complete the work.
  • Correction: A more accurate estimate that replaces your initial estimate. When you type the new value, time is added or subtracted from the Time Remaining value.

Estimate, time remaining, and correction fields

Estimating your work items improves planning and helps your team lead manage your work. Having an initial estimate and a time remaining value allows you to track how realistic the initial estimate was. You can run reports, such as the Estimate Changes report and the Estimated vs Actual Work report for after-the-fact diagnosis of how the scope, or amount of work, for an iteration has changed. For more information about reports, see Work item reports.

Burndown report

If you use the Scrum process template, the Plan Details section includes the Burndown report. This report answers the question of how much remaining work there is in the iteration, as captured in estimated hours, and what the trajectory is for completing that work.

Plan details section that shows the sprint burndown.

Important: The way that planned items is calculated is different in the Plan view from how it is calculated in the Burndown report:
  • Plan view: Considers estimate and corrected estimate and actual hours when calculating planned work.
  • Burndown report: Considers estimate and corrected estimate when calculating planned work.

For more information about the Burndown report, see Checking project status by iteration.

Examples
Progress reports: in a plan - Complexity Report
Progress in a complexity report
Progress Report
  • Story points done: All points from stories that are completed (Done status)
  • Work hours done: All hours from tasks that are completed (Done status)
  • Items estimated: Open items with complexity units / open items (that is, a story with no complexity unit will lower this).
  • Items completed: All items that are completed.
Progress reports: in a plan - Time Report
In a plan: time report
Progress Report
  • Work hours done: Hours from completed items.
  • Items estimated: Open items with time units set / open items (that is, a task with no time unit will lower this).
  • Items completed: Number of completed items out of the total number of items.
Progress reports: in a work item
In a work item

Units of measure

Time units: You can track progress as time spent or time remaining:
Time units

Complexity units

Story points can be defined in Eclipse client:

Complexity units