The development team for the Software Process Dashboard Initiative is pleased to announce the availability of version 1.6 of the Process Dashboard! Version 1.6 includes these significant new features:
- Earned Value Prediction Intervals – The earned value tool in the dashboard can now calculate estimated prediction intervals for forecast completion date and forecast cost. These intervals compare your planned progress to your actual progress using numerical methods and approximate pivotal statistics, computing a range of dates within which your project is likely to finish. The dashboard can calculate these ranges both for individual earned value schedules and for rolled-up team schedules.
- Level of Effort Tasks – Traditional PSP(SM) earned value planning addresses only “direct time,” omitting time spent on recurring activities (such as weekly meetings) and ongoing activities (such as communicating with customers and management, or participating on committees). Unfortunately, “direct time” is an unfamiliar metric for many organizations, which are accustomed to tracking “project time” instead. As a result, senior managers in some organizations take issue with earned value plans that reflect only 15-20 direct hours per week. To help development teams avoid this potential misunderstanding, the dashboard now provides an innovative new feature: “level of effort” tasks can be added to earned value task lists. Although these tasks don’t affect the earned value calculations, they do allow you to create a schedule that accounts for all of your “project time” – and this can help when you present plans to management for approval. To add “level of effort” tasks to an earned value plan, just enter percentages for these tasks in the “planned time” column instead of durations. (Planned direct time for the periods in the schedule is then calculated automatically by reducing the planned total time by the appropriate percentage.) To help you enhance the accuracy of future estimates, “actual time” for “level of effort” tasks is also displayed as a percentage.
- Task List Restructuring – Earned value task lists in the dashboard have always been hierarchically organized. When the list of tasks for a particular project differs from the structure of your dashboard hierarchy, new features in the earned value tool allow you to “prune” and reorder tasks to better describe the work that needs to be done.
- Restart Earned Value – At times in the middle of a project, you may decide that you wish to “re-plan” the remaining tasks and start with a fresh earned value schedule. The dashboard now makes this simple: just change the starting date on your earned value schedule to the current date. All work performed before the starting date of the schedule will be factored out of earned value calculations automatically.
- The “Data Analysis” center now allows you to generate custom charts and reports, simply by selecting options from drop-down lists. The data in these custom charts and reports can also be exported to Excel for further custom analysis.
- Time Log Comments – The time log now includes a column for the entry of optional comments.
- It is now possible to create and edit custom defect type standards.