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Topics: Agile, Scheduling
Agile Project Management Using Microsoft Project
I was curious if anyone out there uses Microsoft Project for Agile Project Management. I use MS Project in addition to JIRA as project gives me better data for reporting.

The issue however, since Project wasn't really designed for how Agile projects work, is that when I have a summary task that represents a Sprint/Iteration and the Stories are sub-tasks, in situations where a Story/Subtask doesn't finish in the current iteration and has to be carried over to the next iteration, the summary task of the next iteration ends up inheriting the original Start Date of the sub-task.

This ends up messing up the baseline and actual start dates and durations for Summary Tasks. I'm not sure how this impacts overall project schedule performance reporting and EVM.

Does anyone know of an alternate way of getting around this?
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You have to remember that agile approaches are predicated on a changing scope. The point of creating timeboxes, is to avoid managing your project at the level of scope items.

On my last project, I did not try to manage scope with my project schedule. I only managed iterations.(Granted, my project had 8 Scrum teams for 3 years...)

If that is not an option for you, consider splitting unfinished work from the finished work and reporting it as a separate work item in your next sprint. (I would strongly suggest you ensure that work items are broken down as fine as possible to avoid this. I aim for work items that take a single day.)
I don't currently have access to Project so I can't doublecheck this, but I have used the Sprint features in Project. I'm pretty sure you can change the start date of the tasks/subtasks that get moved to the next (or future) sprint. This can mess with EVM if you're trying to be precise on the percent complete of the tasks/subtasks, but from a story point/velocity perspective, none of the points from the tasks/subtasks that were moved would count in the original sprint.

I would ask if you are using AgileEVM or traditional EVM, but I'm not sure Project is set up to handle AgileEVM. It would be manual work, but might be worth looking into to determine if it is a better fit for the context of the way work is being done.
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1 reply by John Bacon
Aug 31, 2022 11:56 AM
John Bacon
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Unfortunately I only have project standard which doesn't come with the Agile Features. Can you tell me more about Agile EVM? I've only heard of traditional EVM. Otherwise I'll research Agile EVM as I've done numerous project management trainings in traditional and Agile and Agile EVM was never mentioned.
Aug 31, 2022 10:34 AM
Replying to Aaron Porter
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I don't currently have access to Project so I can't doublecheck this, but I have used the Sprint features in Project. I'm pretty sure you can change the start date of the tasks/subtasks that get moved to the next (or future) sprint. This can mess with EVM if you're trying to be precise on the percent complete of the tasks/subtasks, but from a story point/velocity perspective, none of the points from the tasks/subtasks that were moved would count in the original sprint.

I would ask if you are using AgileEVM or traditional EVM, but I'm not sure Project is set up to handle AgileEVM. It would be manual work, but might be worth looking into to determine if it is a better fit for the context of the way work is being done.
Unfortunately I only have project standard which doesn't come with the Agile Features. Can you tell me more about Agile EVM? I've only heard of traditional EVM. Otherwise I'll research Agile EVM as I've done numerous project management trainings in traditional and Agile and Agile EVM was never mentioned.
John -

As most projects will have some scope or work which is not delivered in an agile manner (e.g. training documentation done traditionally, software built in an agile way), an integrated project schedule using a traditional scheduling engine such as MSP is still common.

However, the level of detail for agile work streams is higher. I would recommend against any task lower than a sprint (if you are follow an iteration-based approach). X number of sprints linked together will end in a milestone for a given release.

The benefit is that where there are dependencies between traditional and agile workstreams or external dependencies the team has, those can be effectively captured.

Kiron
There are others, here, that know more about AgileEVM than I do - I think Kiron might be one of them. I haven't used it, but the idea is that it uses Scrum data points as inputs to the traditional EVM calculations and metrics. Here's an article from PMI:

https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/earne...tand-agile-6567

We're discouraged from posting external links here, but the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG.com) has some information on this, as well, and you may find people using it.
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1 reply by John Bacon
Sep 05, 2022 8:24 AM
John Bacon
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I may have found a workaround. Instead of placing user stories as subtasks under an Iteration summary task, I can just create a custom field to assign items to an iteration that way, Then create a view grouping the stories by the Iteration Number field. Then I don’t end up having the problem of actual start for summary tasks inheriting the date for stories that carry over to the next iteration.

The downside I suppose is I lose tracking of earned value and other data at the iteration level from summary tasks
Sep 01, 2022 9:26 AM
Replying to Aaron Porter
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There are others, here, that know more about AgileEVM than I do - I think Kiron might be one of them. I haven't used it, but the idea is that it uses Scrum data points as inputs to the traditional EVM calculations and metrics. Here's an article from PMI:

https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/earne...tand-agile-6567

We're discouraged from posting external links here, but the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG.com) has some information on this, as well, and you may find people using it.
I may have found a workaround. Instead of placing user stories as subtasks under an Iteration summary task, I can just create a custom field to assign items to an iteration that way, Then create a view grouping the stories by the Iteration Number field. Then I don’t end up having the problem of actual start for summary tasks inheriting the date for stories that carry over to the next iteration.

The downside I suppose is I lose tracking of earned value and other data at the iteration level from summary tasks

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