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Quick and accurate forecasts with ActionableAgile

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

When you talk about forecasting with your colleagues you are apt to hear about a wide range of experiences and opinions. There is almost always a difference of opinion on how to actually determine a forecast and there's often disagreement on whether or not you should be forecasting at all. #NoEstimates anyone?

I believe that both of these disagreements exist because traditional estimation processes are so time-consuming, and often inaccurate. At 55 Degrees we don't think forecasting should be avoided, but we do need to find a way to create forecasts that can work in uncertainty and doesn't waste time and sanity in the process.

What forecasting technique does ActionableAgile use?

The strategy we use in our flagship product, ActionableAgile Analytics, uses a technique called probabilistic forecasting. As the name implies it helps you provide a forecast that examines possible outcomes and the likelihood of each. This makes it perfect for situations where there's not a single obvious, inarguable outcome.

A probabilistic forecast includes a range of possible outcomes and the probability you'll land on one of the outcomes in that range. Here are some examples:

"We have an 85% chance of finishing a work item in 7 days or less."

"There's a 95% chance we can finish 6 items or more in a sprint."

"There's a 70% chance that we'll finish these 20 items on or before November 1."

In ActionableAgile we figure out the range of outcomes and related probabilities by using your data and looking at the Cycle Time and Throughput of your past work.

What can I forecast with Cycle Time?

Using our Cycle Time Scatterplot you can forecast how long it is likely to take to finish a future work item based on how long it took to complete items in the past. Read more about our Cycle Time Scatterplot!

Using percentile lines on the Cycle Time Scatterplot
Using percentile lines on the Cycle Time Scatterplot

What can I forecast with Throughput?

While with Cycle Time you can create forecasts for individual items, Throughput allows you to create forecasts for larger efforts containing multiple work items. This can mean a number of things such as sprints, projects, releases, and more. Using your Throughput, our Monte Carlo simulations take the rate at which you finished work in the past to answer questions like "How many items can I finish by X date?" (Fixed date) and "When will this set of work be finished?" (Fixed Scope). Learn more about how our Monte Carlo Simulations work.

Calendar View from one of our Monte Carlo simulations (Monte Carlo: When)
Calendar View from one of our Monte Carlo simulations (Monte Carlo: When)

Histogram View from one of our Monte Carlo simulations (Monte Carlo: How Many)
Histogram View from one of our Monte Carlo simulations (Monte Carlo: How Many)

What do I need to get started?

If you haven't already, start a free trial of ActionableAgile - either in our SaaS version or install our app in your Jira or Azure DevOps instance. Then load in your data and you're off to the races.

Our charts and simulations will automatically provide you with forecasts you can use based on your data. You can use the included chart controls to segment or filter your data any way you want to have ultimate control over what you're forecasting.

We are always available to help via our support portal located at We hope to hear from you soon!

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