Effort in Targetprocess | Effort Estimation in Software Engineering

Effort is the value showing the amount of work which is required to complete a task/work item/entity. Assigned effort allows to compare user stories, tasks, bugs, features and epics by their size, difficulty or complexity.

Total effort is used as one of the key metrics in work planning, progress tracking and reporting.

Total effort for any entity is shown in the Assignments area in its detailed view.

In Targetprocess, Effort for a User Story or any other assignable entity (Task, Bug, Request, Test Plan Run) is calculated as sum of effort values for all the assigned roles. Additionally, for a user story only, sum of effort of its tasks is also included into total effort. If you are interested, you're welcome to find advanced details about Effort calculation.

How to customize Effort units

Effort for User Stories and Bugs is measured in Ideal hours or Points. The planning unit can be changed in process settings. For example, you may use Points effort units for one project and Ideal Hours for another project. Effort for Tasks is always measured in Ideal hours.

Effort vs Time Spent

When you use 'hours' as effort measurement unit and if you use Time tracking and your users report actually spent time, it may be confusing that for the same user story its total effort is not always equal to its total time spent + time remain. Say it may happen that total effort is 5h while total time spent is 7h. Why it happens?

The reason behind it is that effort here is measured in 'ideal hours' while time spent is measured in 'actual hours'. And ratio between these two varies per each story.

Effort answers the question "how large" the user story is. In simplified model you can treat it as "how long you think it will take" in case you are using hours. Usually you estimate just hours spent exclusively on the future work.

Time spent represents "how long it actually took you" to complete the job or part of it. Actually spent time usually includes time to have a meeting or chat with colleagues, time to set up an environment, and sometimes even time to drink a coffee.

Estimation accuracy

When the work is complete it is possible to create estimation accuracy report and compare total estimated effort and total time spent. Estimation accuracy is an important metric for each agile team. It improves estimates and overall project planning. Accuracy percentage and its progress can be made visible as well.

How to set and update Effort

Edit entities one by one

For user stories, tasks, bugs, requests and test plan runs you can set or update effort manually on their detailed views.

Batch update Effort values

Starting from v.3.10.1 you can reset or set new efforts for a group of selected cards.

Here you can set a new effort number or reset it to zero. If you see a certain number in the Effort field, it means that all cards in the selection have the same effort set. The 'Set new' placeholder means there are different Effort value sets in different cards (if the selection is for a given role).

Only roles, who are common for all selected cards, are available in a batch action panel.

Estimation Board view

Estimation Board view allows to estimate many entities and quickly set an Effort for them from a single screen using drag-n-drop method. When you move cards across columns, you change Developer's Effort for these entities. It is very intuitive and works without page reloads.

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Effort for roles other than "Developer" and total Effort cannot be updated within this board view.

You can set your own values for the Effort lanes instead of a fixed sequence of Fibonacci numbers.

Import Effort from CSV file

It is possible to update effort for your backlog from formatted CSV file.

Assign entities to high-level scopes of work

High-level scopes of work such as features, epics, projects, releases and iterations do not have their own effort. Instead, you can assign work items to them. Effort for the high-level scope entity becomes equal to total amount of effort of all assigned entities.

Capacity Planning and Progress Tracking

How Effort is used in Reports

Multiple useful reports that rely on Effort data can be built in Targetprocess.

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