It’s quite surprising how often managers want to be allowed to track work by percentage complete. It sounds reasonable but anyone who thinks about it is bound to be suspicious. Just to add my tuppence-worth, let me introduce what I like to think of as Pareto’s Other Principle:
The first 80% of the work takes 80% of the effort, and the remaining 20% takes the other 80%.
I’m sure many readers – especially those more familiar with waterfall-based projects and programmes – will share my expectations. But I should emphasise that they are strictly limited to waterfall. I have far more confidence that Agile stories will be complete when the team says they will than I ever imagined waterfall milestones would be. I suspect that the only reason people aren’t more sensitive to how Agile has revolutionised IT’s constant tendency to overrun is because it really doesn’t make much sense to be constantly worrying about ‘percentage complete’ when any well-defined Agile story will be 100% complete (and maybe even running on the user’s desktop) within a few days.
So lets hear no more about 50% or 60% or 80% complete: it’s done when its done.