Simulating a Flow of Work in Software Development

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We saw three demos of a simulation that models the flow of work through a software development team. 1. A web-based single page where you can set various parameters like team size, min/max story size, number of bugs, number of support cases, etc. When you run the simulation there are three graphs: a burndown chart, found / fixed bug counts, and response time to support. Change the parameters to see how the graphs change. 2. A web-based game with a scenario in narrative form where the only thing you can change is the estimated completion date. There are three levels, one with just the work, one with the work plus bugs, and one with the work plus bugs and support cases. 3. Terminal output showing bugs generating in a deployment.

The engine behind all 3 models the basic primitives in a development workflow like a backlog with stories, teams with programmers, etc. The outcomes you can monitor include things like release completion date, bugs found, time from when a story goes into the backlog and when it's picked up, etc.


We had a good discussion about various things you might want to model:

  • Volatility of releases
  • How long a release might take given different team topologies - maybe useful for planning or even bidding on consulting projects


  • make it a chrome plugin
  • make a simple scenario free & charge for more complex scenarios
  • ad sponsored
  • plug into Jira / etc.
  • partner with companies like Tasktop
  • get devs using it for free & use that to sell up higher in the org