Targetprocess tool can show you when you can expect a work item to be completed. Forecasts are based on your current progress pace. Forecast end dates are automatically calculated for:
- Assignable entities (Feature, User Story, Bug, Task, Request)
- Releases, Iterations, Team Iterations
There are views and reports (Timeline view, Burndown chart) that display forecast end dates.
Here is how manually planned (dotted), actual (solid), and automatically calculated forecast (semi-transparent) time frames are shown for a work item (user story) on Timeline view:
How forecasts are calculated?
We calculate forecast by using spent/remain time, booked by user. It is also based on linear extrapolation using two points: start date and current date.
For example, spent time is 6, remain is 3 hours. So work is 60% completed. If lead time is 2 days, then forecast is (2/6) * 3 = 1 day. e. g. full card length is 3 days.
The image below shows three different scenarios showing the same forecast:
- Project on hold. In first month 80% of project scope has been done and after that nothing was done for the rest five months.
- Start was delayed. Five months nothing was done and 80% was done in the last month.
Accuracy of source data
The forecast for each of your entities is calculated and displayed when:
- A card has non-zero effort estimation.
- A card is in progress and its Start Date is not blank. A card is not in its final workflow state ("Done" or "Closed")
- The current progress is greater than 10% and less than 100%
- The card is started more than 7 days ago
The third and the fourth rules help to prevent inaccurate and unreliable forecasts.
Forecasts for work containers
For work containers like user stories, features, releases, iterations / sprints, team iterations, projects the forecast is based on totals of spent/remain time across all inner entities.
For an Epic, the forecast can be calculated both on its Features that are split by User Stories and the Features that have only initial estimation set.
For a Feature, the forecast can be calculated only if it has child User Stories and at least one of the User Stories is partially or fully completed. Initial estimation is not taken into account here because in current release of Targetprocess tool a standalone Feature that has no User Stories can have only 0% or 100% progress, and both these cases are not producing a forecast.
Where forecasts are shown?
Forecasts are displayed on Timeline views. Forecast can be hidden by option “Forecast”.
Using REST API it is possible to extract ForecastEndDate field for any supported entity:
It is not possible to extract forecast end date for entities using Export, Custom Reports or Custom Graphical reports.
Forecasts based on Velocity
In Burndown chart report for Releases, Iterations / Sprints, Team Iterations there is also possibility to see forecast end date for the whole release / iteration / sprint / team iteration. Forecasts there are based on estimated effort which is measured in points or ideal hours. Because of this, forecast dates may differ from ones calculated using spent and remain time ratio.
Forecasts and Relationships
Existing Relations, Dependencies, Blockers do not influence forecast end dates at the moment.
Q: For the same amount of work I see different forecast end dates. Why does it happen?
A: Not only amount of work influences the forecast. Start dates are also involved into calculations. If you compare forecast end dates for two work containers please make sure that both % of progress and start date equals in them.
Burndown chart for Iterations / Sprints, Team Iterations has daily resolution and the one for Releases has weekly one. Because of this, forecast end date for Releases on burndowns may be less precise than the one calculated for Iterations / Sprints an dTeam Iterations.