How does TeamForge automatically sum up effort estimates?

As you refine your agile project plan, you break down user stories into smaller stories, and eventually into tasks. TeamForge can watch the changing effort estimates all the way down the hierarchy, and give you a running total for each parent artifact and all its children.

Example

Imagine that you originally created a user story to describe the need for a "Shopping Cart" feature in your e-commerce application. You gave this story a rough effort estimate of 20 units, and entered that figure in the Effort field.

Upon further discussion, your project team recommends breaking the story down into three tasks:

  • Database (5 units)
  • Back End (15 units)
  • UI (8 units)

You create artifacts for those three tasks, identifying them as children of the user story artifact, and enter their respective effort estimates in the Effort field in each task artifact.

Back in the "Shopping Cart" story artifact, you select Autosum effort to indicate that effort number for this artifact should be rolled up from its children.

Now, rather than showing the manually entered number (20 units), your user story artifact shows the figure derived from adding the effort estimates for all three child artifacts (28 units).

Double-counting?

Effort numbers are never "double-counted" when auto-summing is on. For example, if the sum for planning folder A would include effort for child C and parent P, and P has autosumming turned on, C's effort number is only counted once.

However, when auto-summing is off, the effort numbers from parent P and child C can both contribute to totals. So if a planning folder A includes parent P (autosum=off, effort=3) and child C (effort=5), then the pair contributes a total of 8 to A's total.

An artifact's effort number is calculated from the effort numbers of its immediate children artifacts only. This is true whether or not those children's numbers are themselves automatically derived.

Note: When a tracker is disabled, artifacts from that tracker do not contribute to the effort totals calculated for any planning folder they are in.

Permissions

If you are a long-time user of TeamForge tracker features, be aware that autosumming can lead to some situations you haven't seen before. For example, picture these scenarios:

  • Artifact A is assigned to Sanil. He therefore has permission to edit that artifact, but he does not have permission to edit the artifact's parent, artifact B. Artifact B is assigned to Sergey, who has edit permission for both artifacts. Sergey turns on autosumming for artifact B. When Sanil updates his effort estimate for artifact A, the content of the Effort field in artifact B is updated as a result, even though only Sergey is explicitly authorized to change values in artifact B.
  • Connie creates artifacts X and Y, and declares both of them children of artifact Z. Then she assigns artifact Z to Thiru. Thiru now has edit permission for artifact Z. But he cannot edit artifact X or artifact Y, because he does not have access to the separate tracker where they live. When Thiru turns on autosumming for artifact Z, that artifact's Effort field includes the sum of artifacts X and Y, even though Thiru is not explicitly authorized to see any data from those artifacts. (In fact, he may not even know that artifacts X and Y exist.)
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