When will it be done? Introducing the Workload (forecast) chart 🔮

Mar 30, 2022

If you’ve ever been managing a project of any kind, you know how important it is to have some idea of when all tasks are completed and you can expect the work to be done. Our newest chart, the Workload (forecast) was created to address that exact need.

The Workload (forecast) chart may look similar to the Workload chart which we released in our January release. While the Workload chart was based on the set start and end dates for tasks, the new chart makes forecasts based on your historical velocity. Instead of set start and end dates, it looks at how fast you've completed work in the past and makes predictions assuming your future delivery speed will correlate with your past performance.

Creating a Workload (forecast) chart

To create a Workload (forecast) chart, go to the Charts tab and click Add new chart on the top right corner. A modal is opened with a set of chart templates. Select Blank new chart and Workload (forecast) as the chart type. The chart editor opens with the chart settings

You can select one or more data sources, and any of your numeric fields as the unit. When you click Create chart, the chart is created and you can find it under the Charts tab under the top navigation.

Here’s an example chart

As with any of our custom charts, you can assign it to a dashboard or a report, or share it with others using the share links.

How to read this chart?

The chart shows a burndown of the remaining work on a weekly total until all the work is done. The leftmost bar is the current week and the rightmost bar shows the week when all the work is completed. As the work progresses, the remaining work reduces until it goes to zero.

At the top of the chart, you can switch between the Most likely, Optimistic, and Pessimistic scenarios. The most likely scenario assumes that you will complete the same amount of work (e.g. tasks or story points) as you’ve had on a median week in the past. In the Optimistic scenario, you will complete at least the same amount as the top 20% of the weeks in the past. In the pessimistic scenario, you will complete in the as much as the bottom 20% of weeks in the past. The percentiles are configurable in the chart settings so you can specify yourself what you consider most likely, optimistic, or pessimistic for your future delivery speed 😃

In the above example, there are 173 open tasks right now, and it will take 10 weeks to complete the current backlog of work to be done.

By default, this chart assumes that you will complete roughly the same amount of tasks per week as you have done in the past. It uses a 12 weeks median as the basis for the forecast but you can adjust it in the settings.

Introducing the Insights Forecasting section

We have added a new Forecasts section to the Insights tab. In addition to creating Workload (forecast) as a custom chart, you can also find it in the Insights tab.

The topmost chart shows your historical velocity as the amount of work completed per week. Below is the new Workload (forecast) chart that shows how long it takes to complete the remaining work based on the velocity history shown above.

These two charts help you to see your past velocity, and get a data-driven forecast for the remaining work. Instead of guess-work, you can use the data to make your own judgement!

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This article was written by Sami Linnanvuo

Sami is the founder & CEO of Screenful, the company that turns data into visual stories. You can find him on Twitter.