The Jama Product Solution

How to Manage Your Backlog with Calculated Fields

Jeremy Myrland | February 10, 2015

Earlier this week we gave you a brief overview of our new calculated fields feature. Today we’re going to go into more detail about what you can do with calculations and give you a sneak peek into what’s next.

With calculated fields, you can set up multiple fields within an item that can add, multiply and average. These calculations will allow for negative numbers and up to four decimal places.

Here’s an example:

integers

And to get an average:

calculations

Prioritize Items in Your Backlog

There are a lot of different uses for this functionality. One that we think will be useful for many Jama users is in prioritizing your backlog. When planning their work, product teams need to measure the impact that the development of a specific feature will have on your customer experience versus the impact it will have on your development team’s output. If your team works within the Agile SAFe Framework, and you’re familiar with WSJF (“Weighted Shortest Job First”),  which helps teams plan work in a continuous flow, then these calculated fields can help with this prioritization.

You can set up calculated fields to determine:

          Level of Effort + Customer Impact = Priority

So, an item with critical severity and a low level of effort would receive the highest priority value in the backlog. This tells us we should consider working on it next.

Assign Level of Effort

First, you assign the level of development team effort to the proposed feature at the item level. Here we’ve assigned a numeric value to three levels of effort: Low, Medium, and High.

priority

Assign Customer Impact

Next assign a level of customer impact — however you define this in your organization — and a value. Here we’ve given values from “not important” to “critical,” with a wide range between “high” and “critical” in order to ensure that true must-have features are given top priority.

critical

What’s Next

Keep an eye out for more updates to this feature that will allow for more complex calculations, including a use case for calculating risk factors.

Calculated fields is one of our most anticipated features. How will your team use it?

  • Jennifer Parker

    We use Contour for instrument development and will be using this field for calculation of acceptability for Hazard and Risk Assessments, as well as for calculation of Risk Priority Numbers for Failure Modes and Effects Criticality Analyses.

    In short, the calculations are as follows:
    Hazard/Risk Acceptability = Severity * Probability
    RPN = Probability of Occurrence of Failure Mode * Severity * Difficulty of Detection of the Failure

    Thanks to the Jama team for continued development of these great features!