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SDC, Part 9: Project Status Reporting

We’ve now covered the development journey from setting up a project hierarchy and assigning features and tasks to completing work. It’s time to have a look at how you can keep track of what’s happened. PureCM offers several ways to visualise project status, which I’ll present below.

What information do you need?

True, there are countless reports, diagrams and options when looking at reporting. But if I try to reduce to the max, as a development or project manager you’ll quite likely want to get answers to the following questions:

  • What has been completed in this version (or iteration)?
  • Which tasks are still open?
  • Who is working on what?

Note that I’m usually referring to features and task when asking these questions. I want to see which features have been implemented, not which lines of code have been changed. The latter is very important, too, and will be covered in the next blog.

What has been completed in this version?


Getting the current project status

With PureCM, you can easily get that information in the Projects view. Select the project or version you want to look at and simply set the filter to ‘Completed tasks and features’. This will give you a list of all work items that have been completed. 

From there you can immediately drill down to more detailed information, e.g. show all tasks of a feature or all files that were changed/added/deleted as part of the change. Or you can check into which other versions or features a specific change has been merged into.

If you also want to see all release snapshots that were taken, click on ‘Show submitted tasks and releases’. This will open a chronological view of how the changes were applied to the server. 

Progress over time: the project burndown

The above has given you a quick update on the current status, but you don’t see how you’ve progressed during, say, the last iteration. Of course, you can save the task lists at multiple times to get a burndown report, but this is definitely too manual a task. So let’s change to the ‘Reporting’ view, where we can create report templates. 

With the next PureCM release in July you’ll get three new task-based reports with the Professional edition: The burndown, burndown with priority and the developer status report. All three allow you to define a template that dynamically generates a html report that you can customise, print and/or export as CSV or XML.

Besides getting a good feeling for velocity (“how many tasks do I typically complete in a certain period of time?”), an increase in total tasks also shows you whether you’ve suffered from scope creep. Reporting is an area we’ll be working on further, so feel free to share your needs with us!

Which tasks are still open?

Now that we know what has been completed, we can check on what is still open. Again, we can start from the Projects view and set the filter to ‘Open tasks and features’. From there we can filter on a specific task status or priority to get a better idea of where we are just now.

As before, you can also switch to the Reports view to see how the number of open tasks has evolved over time to estimate how likely it is that you finish all open tasks for the current iteration or version. This time, I've exported the CSV and created a standard chart in no time.

Of course, not all tasks have the same importance. Thus you can also get a burndown per priority to check whether at least your high priority items can be completed as planned. ;)

Who’s working on what?

Finally, you might wonder which of your team members might have some free resources... To do so, you can again use the Projects view and filter on a specific user name or run the developer status report. The project view might be more useful if you’re about to assign work, as you can do that from the same view. On the other hand, the report is easier to show or print for a progress meeting with your team, as you can list all developers at once.

Summary

I’ve covered three basic reports that most probably all project managers need to answer. More specifically, I’ve covered the following topics:

  • Current project status from the Projects view: Completed or open tasks that allow fully dynamic drill down from feature to code line.
  • Burndown report from the Projects view: History of completed and open tasks for a given period of time, typically based for estimation
  • Report templates can be customised, printed and exported as CSV/XML

With this, you should be armed for any progress meeting. Tim will move a step forward on the development lifecycle and explain how you can create release snapshots, retrieve them and visualise the file and folder differences.


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