How do you make sure project and task stay on schedule?

Being a business analyst, it is a part of my job to keep track of tasks and product progress. Though project deadlines are equally important for a scrum master to take care of, like ensuring sprint items are finished at the stipulated time and ensuring the facilitation of tasks like retrospectives and product refinement, the major tasks are important for a BA to take care of.

To make sure that the tasks which are allocated to scrum developers as per the user story allocation are on track, we have a daily stand-up meeting planned for 15 minutes each day where every scrum developer and other participants talk about what task they did yesterday, what task they have planned to do today and if there are any roadblocks or challenges they are facing which are hampering their planned task.

The foremost thing to make sure everything is on schedule is to have a clearly defined, specific, and unambiguous agreed-upon checklist of activities that are agreed upon by the scrum team for DOR and DOD. This gives the team a clear picture of the progress of each task till the shippable product is delivered as it is applicable to various tasks like a user story, review, sprint, release, etc.

We ensure to consider all the aspects of a user story, like the business value, the priority of it, and dependencies, so that it helps us decide to rate user stories as per their decreasing order of priority in product backlog items. So that we can review them during product refinement and also sprint planning to make sure we have picked up the right and correct user stories from our product backlog to our sprint backlog. I conduct grooming sessions with the scrum team to make them understand what functionality is getting developed in the user stories and what the acceptance criteria are. This in turn provides an understanding of functionality to scrum developers so that they can clarify their doubts and also be able to correctly and accurately estimate user stories so that we can plan the exact number of story points in the upcoming sprint. Therefore, it helps me with correct scheduling and tasking as per the capacity of the team.

In Jira, we can raise and track critical bugs and low or medium bugs so that we can highlight critical bugs during testing the story as per acceptance criteria and raise concerns to stakeholders as well as highlight them to scrum developers so that they can start working on the same on priority. As a BA, it is my core responsibility to make sure that the product backlog is refined before we go to a sprint planning meeting. so that the right user stories are picked and distributed among the team after keeping in mind the team’s capacity.

After requirement gathering, it is the responsibility of a BA to identify unambiguous requirements, remove duplicated requirements, and sort them by applying FURPS. So that will prevent de-scoping in later stages during sprint progress. We try to stick to sprint goals like early identification of defects by QA and timely resolution of blockers and critical and other issues by developers; dependency on third-party elements should be considered early; and discussion and refactoring of their functionality should be a prerequisite.

We have a graphical representation of sprint and product backlog items like product burn-down, sprint burn-down, velocity, etc. to track the performance of how the sprint and project are progressing given the allocated time and estimations. The Sprint burn-down helps us identify how many story points are yet to be completed in the time remaining for the sprint to finish. Product burn-down displays the progress of the product being developed. It’s a measure of how many story points are pending to be completed and how many more estimated sprints are needed to complete them all. Velocity, on the other hand, is a measure of story points completed by the team in each sprint and can give a good idea to stakeholders and team members about how much more time the project will take to reach the completion stage.


About Harjinder Singh

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