Make Everything Visible

Create transparency to increase agility

Transparency is the basis for agile. Scrum by design creates transparency. The Scrum artifacts are all designed to promote information sharing, collaboration, and trust.

Usually, Scrum teams manage to establish the core Scrum artifacts. Yet most fail to establish an end to end transparency in a way that provides a full project view to the team. A key missing metric for our team was to understand the relationship between features being developed and their relationship with the project budget on an ongoing real-time basis. This was causing project cost overruns.

How we changed this?

So the team decided to try something different. We set a shared goal for the team to focus on the business objectives of the features as well as the technical aspects for the given budget. The aim was to maximize the business value for the available budget. How can we maximize the work not done (Principle 10) to keep the cost within the budget?

To ensure all aspects of the projects are visible to the team we decided to create a custom report for sprint progress. To create this custom report, we linked our agile tool (JIRA) where user stories and estimations (story points and estimated time) are captured to the project management tool where budgets are set at the project level and at the feature level. The team’s timesheet (where the actual hours are recorded) was also linked to this report.

Custom Sprint Progress Report

This report provides real-time progress for how feature development is going against the key metrics of budget and estimation. The report is available for the team and all stakeholders via a web link.

This help achieves two things:

Transparency for everyone — Team, Stakeholders of how the budget is being spent against features development

Accountability for the team for their estimates and delivery

The team can now self-organize to make informed decisions early once they realize that a feature will cost more or take longer to develop than the available budget and time. It also enables the team to have discussions with the stakeholders such as Product Owner about the feature scope to bring the project back on track.

Create more transparency, make everything visible. Create a safe working environment around it and see the team make exceptional progress.


What do you think? If you think this can help your team please reach out. I would love your comments and feedback.