Work item reports

Work item reports provide information about work item trends, such as new work items per day, closed work items per day, open work items per team or by type, and team velocity.

Purpose

Work item reports answer the following questions:
  • How much work is complete, how much work is left, and is progress achieved as expected?
  • How many blocking work items and defects are there?
  • Is there enough time to complete the remaining backlog of work items?
  • Are high-priority work items addressed first?
Table 1. Work item reports
Report Name Description
Actual as Percentage of Estimated Work Plots the number of work items that are categorized by the percentage of actual over estimated work. For each work item, one can specify a time estimate and, after the fact, the time spent. Ideally, a percentage close to 100 percent is considered good, which means that the estimates were realistic. Work items that are closed (and have both an estimate value and a time spent value that is specified) are included in the calculation.
Tip: Watch for 0 percent, which might indicate that the time estimates are becoming too high and some modifications need to be made for future estimates. Likewise, a percentage considerably greater than 100 percent indicates that actual time that is spent on work is much greater than estimated.
Advanced Release Burndown Shows the remaining story points at the beginning of each iteration in a release. Each dot represents the start of one iteration, and the height of the line represents the total of all story points in open story work items. It is important to note that each dot includes work items that are planned for any of the iterations, not just the iteration that is beginning. Therefore, the value represents the amount of work that is remaining in the release, not just one iteration.

An ideal line is plotted to indicate how much work "should" be done in each iteration to complete all complexity points by the end of the release, as identified by the end date of the "release" iteration. The prediction lines are plotted for the current and all future iterations by calculating the optimistic (average of best three iteration velocities from last six iterations), best guess (average of most recent three velocities), and pessimistic (average of worst three iteration velocities from last six iterations).

Advanced Release Burnup Shows the completed story points at the beginning of each iteration in a release. Each dot represents the start of one iteration, and the height of the line represents the total of all story points in resolved story work items. It is important to note that each dot includes work items that are planned for any of the iterations, not just the iteration that is beginning. Therefore, the value represents the amount of work that is remaining in the release, not just one iteration.

An ideal line is plotted to indicate how much work "should" be done in each iteration to complete all complexity points by the end of the release, as identified by the end date of the "release" iteration. The prediction lines are plotted for the current and all future iterations by calculating the optimistic (average of best three iteration velocities from last six iterations), best guess (average of most recent three velocities), and pessimistic (average of worst three iteration velocities from last six iterations).

Advanced Team Velocity Shows the achieved and the total story points that are grouped by iteration. Each bar represents one iteration, and the height of the bar represents the total of all story points that are represented by work items that are targeted for that iteration.
Average Cycle Time Plots the trend of the average time work items stay in the active state (from in progress to resolved).
Tip: Watch for an increase in the average time to activate work items, which is an indication of poor planning.
Average Lead Time Plots the trend for the average time that work items stay in the unresolved state (from created to resolved).
Tip: Watch for an increase in the average time to resolve work items, which is an indication of poor planning.
Average Time in State Plots the average time work items spend in a particular state.
Tip: Watch for the states that work items spend the most time.
Blocking Work Items Plots all open work items with the "Blocker" severity over time. If an iteration is specified, only those work items that are planned for that iteration are shown.
Tip: Watch for a high or increasing number of blocking work items close to the end of an iteration. This might indicate that the iteration end date is in danger.
Burndown Plots the remaining backlog of work in terms of the time that is estimated to complete it. Agile development methodologies, such as Scrum, use a burndown to plot the daily progress toward the end of a sprint. Ideally, the chart shows a trend toward zero hours of remaining work as the sprint comes to a close. Work items that are open and in progress, with an estimate that is specified, are included in the calculation.

The blue line indicates the burndown, or remaining work in hours. The gray line indicates planned work, or the sum of the remaining work and the completed work. The "Ideal" line indicates what an ideal iteration would look like with a steady burndown from the beginning to the end of the iteration. The ideal line uses the last data point for planned work as its starting point. The "Expected Complete" line is a forward-looking plot from the current state of the burndown line to the end of the sprint, indicating the required rate of work if the iteration is to complete successfully. The report parameter, "Offset," can be used to specify the number of hours of completed work that were carried over from a prior iteration. This value is subtracted from the total planned work.

Tip: Watch for a burndown trend that does not approach zero, which might indicate unrealistic planning estimates.
Burndown by Story Points Displays the remaining story points. The gray line indicates planned work (the sum of the remaining work and the completed work). The "Ideal" line indicates what an ideal iteration looks like with a steady burndown from the beginning to the end of the iteration. The ideal line uses the last data point for planned work as its starting point. The "Expected Complete" line is a forward-looking plot from the current state of the burndown line to the end of the sprint, indicating the required rate of work if the iteration is to complete successfully.
Burnup Plots the completed work, in terms of the time spent to complete it. Agile development methodologies, such as Scrum, use a burnup to plot the daily progress toward the end of a sprint. Ideally, the chart shows a trend toward the planned work hours as the sprint comes to a close. Work items with an estimate that is specified are included in the calculation. The report parameter, "Offset," can be used to specify the number of hours of completed work that were carried over from a prior iteration. This value is subtracted from the total planned work.
Tip: Watch for a burnup trend that does not approach the planned work load, which might indicate unrealistic planning estimates.
Burnup by Story Points Displays the completed story points. The gray line indicates planned work (the sum of the remaining work and the completed work).
Closed Work Items Daily Plots newly closed work items, each bar representing one day. Within each bar, the work items are sorted by severity.
Tip: Watch for a near-zero number of closed work items, which might be an indication of lack of productivity.
Cumulative Value Flow by State Plots all work items over time. The work items are broken down by state; each state is given one colored area series.
Tip: Watch for:
  • Open work items that increase faster than closed work items, which indicates that a backlog is growing.
  • A constant closed work item count. This indicates that work items are not being closed, which might be okay in a maintenance component but not in an active one.
Cycle Time as Percentage of Lead Time Plots the trend of the active time as a percentage of the unresolved time for work items.
Tip: Watch for a low percentage of active time, which indicates that work items are waiting for a long time before they become active.
Defect Backlog Plots the defect backlog over time. Work items of type "Defect" are considered. The backlog is defined as those work items in "Open" or "In Progress" states but not in "Closed" states. All defects, regardless of "Planned for" target, are considered. The Defect Backlog report corresponds to the fourth section of an IBM Quality Certification (QCERT) report and is suitable for inclusion in this report. The trend over time should significantly decrease as an offering approaches its General Availability target date.
Tip: Watch for a trend that does not decrease as the completion date approaches, which might indicate quality issues.
Defect Backlog by Project Area Plots all open defects for one or more projects together on the same chart. Each project area is represented by a line series. This report can be used to compare the defect backlog of several projects.
Tip: Watch for instances where one project's curve differs from another, which might indicate differences in project resources, or how the teams schedule their work or testing. Noticeable differences in overall work item numbers. While this might indicate differences in the sizes of the teams' codebases or popularity of usage, it might also be indicative of differences in testing patterns or code quality.
Defect Discovery Rate Plots the defect discovery rate over time. Work items of type "Defect" are considered. The discovery rate is aggregated per week. That is, each data point represents the number of defects that are created in a particular week. Both charts plot the same data; the second chart is broken down by defect severity. The Defect Discovery Rate report corresponds to the first and second sections of an IBM Quality Certification (QCERT) report and is suitable for inclusion in this report. For the first chart, the QCERT report calls for a second-line series that indicates the planned defect discovery rate curve. This series is omitted from this report. An offering that is ready to ship usually shows a flattening of the defect discovery curve, which indicates that fewer new errors are being discovered later in the development cycle.
Tip: Watch for a trend that does not decrease as the ship date approaches, which might be an indication of quality issues.
Deferred Work Items Plots all work items that are deferred from a specific iteration. Each data point represents one day, and the value is the number whose "planned for" attribute changes to another iteration during that day. This chart might be useful with other reports (such as reports that plot the number of open work items over time). It can help you discover whether iteration targets are being met by deferring planned work items to the future rather than addressing them.
Tip: Watch for any high number of work items that are deferred to the future, especially towards the end of a milestone. It often indicates unrealistic planning targets that become apparent as the milestone progresses.
Estimate Changes Shows a list of all work items with estimates that are changed, which can be useful for after-the-fact diagnosis of how the scope, or amount of work, changed for an iteration. The Team Area and Iteration parameters filter the displayed work items to show work items owned by the specified teams and planned for the specified iteration. A Boolean parameter indicates whether an estimate change is displayed (the unchanged Boolean value is "0"). The optional "From" and "To" parameters act as a date scope on the results.
Estimated vs Actual Work Plots the ratio of estimated versus actual work of a team over time. On each work item, one can specify a time estimate and, after the fact, the time spent. The ratio is defined as the estimated time divided by the actual time for all closed work items. Ideally, a ratio over time that is close to 1.0 is considered good, which means that the estimates were realistic. Work items that are closed and have both an estimate value and a time spent value that is specified are included in the calculation.
Tip: Watch for a ratio considerably greater than 1.0, which might indicate that the time estimates are becoming too high and some modifications need to be made in future estimates. Likewise, ratios considerably less than 1.0 indicate that actual time that is spent on work is much greater than estimated.
New Work Items by Severity Plots newly created work items, each bar representing one day. Within each bar, the work items are sorted by severity.
Tip: Watch for unexpected spikes in the number of new work items, which might be an indication of quality issues.
Open Work Items Plots all open work items over time. If an iteration is specified, only those work items that are planned for that iteration are shown.
Open Work Items by Type Plots all open work items over time. Each work item type (for example, Defect, Enhancement, Task) is given a colored series. If an iteration is specified, only those work items that are planned for that iteration are shown.
Tip: Watch for:
  • The shape of the defects curve. Enhancements and tasks typically represent planned work, while defects often represent unplanned work. Large numbers of incoming defects can impact a teams ability to efficiently address enhancements and tasks.
  • An overall graph shape that does not approach zero toward the end of the iteration. The overall graph shape represents the sum of all open work items, and should move toward zero as the iteration comes to a close.
Open vs Closed Story Points by Iteration Shows story points that are grouped by iteration. Each bar represents one iteration, and the height of the bar represents the total of all story points (both planned and achieved) represented by story work items that are targeted for that iteration. The iterations are sorted alphabetically.
Open vs Closed Work Item Plots all work items over time. The yellow series represents open work items, the blue series represents in-progress work items, and the purple series represents closed work items. If an iteration is specified, only those work items that are planned for that iteration are shown.
Tip: Watch for:
  • Open work items that increase faster than closed work items, which indicates that a backlog is growing.
  • A constant closed work item count, which indicates that work items are not being closed. This might be okay in a maintenance component but not in an active one.
Process Control Plots the time work items are in the unresolved state.
Tip: Watch for work items that remain in the unresolved state for a long time.
Release Burndown Shows the remaining story points at the beginning of each iteration in a release. Each dot represents the start of one iteration, and the height of the line represents the total of all story points in open story work items. It is important to note that each dot includes work items that are planned for any of the iterations, not just the iteration that is beginning. Therefore, the value represents the amount of work that remains in the release, not just one iteration.
Story Points Shows the points that are associated with story work items. Each story specifies a point value that indicates its magnitude relative to other stories. The chart in this report plots the trend of these story points over time. Story points that are "achieved" (that is, the work items are closed) are plotted on one series, and story points "remaining" (that is, associated with work items that are not yet closed) are plotted on another series. As an iteration progresses, expect to see the remaining points converge on zero and the achieved points approach 100 percent of the total.
Tip: Watch for:
  • A large backlog of remaining story points as an iteration comes to a close, which might indicate that the iteration targets are in jeopardy.
  • An increasing total number of story points as an iteration progresses, which indicates that extra points are allocated to an iteration after it started. This might indicate planning issues and make it difficult for the team to achieve its goals.
Story Points Progress Shows the progress of story points by team area. Each bar represents one team, and the segments within the bar represent the proportion of open, in progress, and completed story points.
Story Points Remaining Shows the points that are associated with story work items. Each story specifies a point value that indicates its magnitude relative to other stories. The chart in this report plots the trend of story points that are "remaining" (that is, associated with work items that are not yet closed) over time. As an iteration progresses, expect to see the remaining points converge on zero.
Tip: Watch for:
  • A large backlog of remaining story points as an iteration comes to a close, which might indicate that the iteration targets are in jeopardy.
  • An increasing total number of story points as an iteration progresses, which indicates that extra points are allocated to an iteration after it started. This might indicate planning issues and make it difficult for the team to achieve its goals.
Story Points by Iteration Shows story points that are grouped by iteration. Each bar represents one iteration, and the height of the bar represents the total of all story points (both planned and achieved) represented by story work items that are targeted for that iteration. The iterations are sorted alphabetically.
Team Velocity Shows the achieved story points that are grouped by iteration. Each bar represents one iteration, and the height of the bar represents the total of all story points that are represented by closed story work items that are targeted for that iteration. The iterations are sorted alphabetically.
Work Item Comparison Plots all open work items for one or more teams together on the same chart. Each team area is represented by a line series. This report can be used to compare the work item backlog of several teams on the same project.
Tip: Watch for:
  • Instances where one team's curve differs from another, which might indicate differences in team resources, or how the teams schedule their work or testing.
  • Noticeable differences in overall work item numbers. While this might indicate differences in the sizes of the teams' codebases or popularity of usage, it might also be indicative of differences in testing patterns or code quality.
Work Item Comparison by Project Area Plots all open work items for one or more projects together on the same chart. Each project area is represented by a line series. This report can be used to compare the work item backlog of several projects.
Tip: Watch for:
  • Instances where one project's curve differs from another, which might indicate differences in project resources, or how the teams schedule their work or testing.
  • Noticeable differences in overall work item numbers. While this might indicate differences in the sizes of the teams' codebases or popularity of usage, it might also be indicative of differences in testing patterns or code quality.
Work Items by Owner Plots the current state of work items in the repository, which is broken down by owner. This report uses live data from the repository, rather than historical data from the data warehouse. The first chart plots work items that are broken down by type for each owner. The second chart plots work items that are broken down by open versus closed for each owner.
Work Items by Priority Shows work items over time. The work items are broken down by priority; each priority is given one colored area series. This breakdown can help you ensure that planned work items have a healthy spread of priorities and are being addressed in the correct order. If an iteration is specified, only those work items that are planned for that iteration are shown. The first chart plots open work items over time. In a healthy project, this curve generally increases in the first half of an iteration and trends toward zero at the end of an iteration. The second chart plots closed work items over time. In healthy project, this curve steadily increases (a decrease indicates that work items are being reopened).
Tip: Watch for the following trends:
  • Low-priority work items that are closed before high-priority work items: It might be an indication that a team is not addressing work items in the correct order.
  • Large numbers of work items with unassigned priority: It might make it more difficult for the team to schedule work.
  • An uneven distribution of work items across priorities: Without a healthy spread of different priorities, it might make it difficult for the team to differentiate between work items and prioritize its work.
Work Items by Team Area Plots the current state of work items in the repository, which is broken down by team area. This report uses live data from the repository, rather than historical data from the data warehouse. The first chart plots work items that are broken down by type for each team area. The second chart plots work items that are broken down by open versus closed for each team area.

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