Feature burn up / completion chart

MMFs: the Minimum, Marketable, Features

As I describe in my book, Agile Release Planning, an MMF is a group of minimum functionality that we can release to customers. By ‘marketable’ we mean that the functionality can be released to customers for their use, and thus the word ‘marketable’! So, by definition, MMFs must bring significant value to customers.

As MMFs are of most value to customer, it makes sense to track the progress we make on them. Feature Burnup chart or Feature completion chart is an invaluable tool in your toolkit. It is simple yet very effective chart that you can use to convey progress (or lack of progress) that you are making on various work slices that are of interest to business.

Here is an example for the sample project that I mention in my book:

In this chart we are plotting MMFs on x-axis; in the order of priority, with highest priority item on the left, and lowest priority item on the right. As you can see, it conveys the progress we have made so far on each MMF as well as what MMFs are complete vs. what MMFs are being worked on actively by the team.

If you see progress on right (lower priority MMFs), you should question why team is working on them. This might be legitimate, but you at least want to ask and get confirmation for a valid reason to work on lower priority items.

Another variation of this chart is to use percentage complete as shown in example below.

The previous chart (using SPs) gives you relative complexity that you can use to compare the effort involved among MMFs.

As I said, this chart is simple yet very effective. And, I am making it even more simple for you to create it. You can download a template and create this chart in just few clicks.

Business scenarios where I would use this chart:

  • My director is asking for status on different slices of workin my project
  • Why I see activity on the lowest priority MMFs
  • What progress we are making, and on what pieces of the project

I have infact asked my directors to always have this chart handy. I recommend that all product owners carry this as well.

You should update it at end of every sprint. You want to share this with your stakeholders at the sprint review. And, also attach impediment list to this chart, especially when you are not making progress on some MMFs.