Trends analysis is the widespread practice of collecting information and attempting to spot a pattern. Project managers use trend analysis of schedule and cost to monitor and control project schedule and cost. Trend analysis is the backbone of (Earned Value Management).
Earned Value Management provides answers to these basic questions;
- How much is the planned work?
- Out of that how much did we actually complete?
- For the completed work, how much did we actually spend?
- Can we we complete the project within budget?
- Can we complete the project within agreed time?
Earned Value Management forecast the expected cost at completion and the expected date of completion.
Other examples of trends analysis within projects
- Schedule forecast
- Defect trend analysis during the testing phase of the projects
- Sprint Burn down charts, which helps to analyze the trends of estimate to complete the iteration
- Release burn down charts
- Overall project risk analysis
- Average velocity trend in agile project management
- Monte Carlo analysis for defect trend analysis
Application of trends analysis outside the project management domain
Forecasting and trend analysis go hand in hand.
Here is a sample list of applications of trends analysis;
- Weather forecasting uses trends analysis
- Traffic forecasting (google maps) is based on trends analysis
- Search engine optimization uses trends analysis
- Share price forecasting
- Forecasting arrival times
- Rain forecasting
- Mileage forecasts
- Buying patterns forecasting
- Artificial intelligence
- Data mining