Measurement


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SPaMCAST 523 features our essay on story points.  Story points were a tool designed to give teams a rough understanding of their flow of work. It was a great idea at the time, but that time has passed. Unfortunately, story points now are being used improperly creating more problems than they solve.

In addition, Jon M Quigley brings his Alpha and Omega of Product Development to the cast. In this installment, Jon discusses the risks of Centers of Excellence.  They are another great idea that can and has been ill-used by many in the industry.

Re-Read Saturday News
We are back with Chapter 7 of Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 – Buy a copy and read along!). Chapter 7, titled The miniLab, focuses on overpromising and continues to layer on toxicity to the Theranos story.

Week 6 – The miniLab –  https://bit.ly/2rfmwJh (more…)

Alternatives!

Three possible alternatives:

IFPUG function points. If you have to have a standards-based approach to sizing and comparison. IFPUG function points are the gold standard. IFPUG function points are an ISO standard and can be applied to all software types (technology agnostic). The drawbacks for using function points include the perceptions that there is a high level of overhead, counting requires too much information too early in the processes and that only highly skilled wizards can count (or approximate) function points correctly. None of these perceptions are really true, however, in some circles, the tar and feathering has stuck. (more…)

Pareto chart of Pokemon

Got to catch them all!

A Pareto analysis is based on the principle suggested by Joseph Juran (and named after Vilfredo Pareto) that 80% of the problems/issues are produced by 20% of the issues. This is the famous 80/20 rule, and this principle is sometimes summarized as the vital few versus the trivial many. Process improvement professionals use the Pareto principle to focus limited resources (time and money) on a limited number of items that produce the biggest benefit. (more…)

Before we dive in – let’s begin a new poll for the next book in our Re-read Saturday.  I have had a number of suggestions:

Pick two and we will start on the top choice!  Note: There are two books on the list that will be first reads for me (I will let you guess).  All of these books are very relevant to agile, lean and process improvement.


Whether you like the word transformation or not, many in the process improvement and agile communities help to facilitate change. Involvement in any non-trivial change effort requires resources, people, support and the expenditure of political capital. If change uses an organization’s people and assets someone will ask what the return on those assets are and whether those assets could return more if used elsewhere. I can tell (and often have told) a great story about the impact of a good working environment, doing the right work, and good processes. The response I get to my rationale on the value of being agile is ‘can you prove it.’ Can you prove it’ translates directly into ‘can you measure it’, and ‘are those measures meaningful?’ A model for answering that question that I am sketching out at a program or organization level has to answer the following questions:

(more…)

Picture of George Washington on dollar bill

Sometimes it is all about the money!

In our interlude, I posited that there are questions that organizations need to ask and find a mechanism to answer. Some of the feedback I received suggested that the questions weren’t agile or weren’t agile enough. To some, only the outcome matters, not the cost or the amount of time it takes to deliver the functionality requested. The perspective of a team can be very parochial, focused on delivering what is in front of them; however, their existence is tied to more than customer satisfaction.   All organizations are tied to cost and productivity. Understanding the impact and return on effort, raw material and capital within a company that is ultimately needed to deliver the organization’s products and services define ROI and profitability. (more…)

Dawn over Lake Erie

An interlude before the day begins!

I am studying for and taking tests and assessments this week, which has thrown my cadence off a bit.  This essay was intended to be a deeper dive into cost in the world of agile metrics, but studying came first.  Therefore a useful interlude:

Agile metrics are important because internal and external stakeholders have questions to which they want answers.  Agile admonishes organizations to focus on outcomes as the most critical measure of success. The statement is hard to argue with but provides an incomplete picture. Defining outcomes is useful for addressing the nuances of stakeholder questions.  Outcomes are “things” of consequence. For a development organization, regardless of external or internal focus, the “things” of consequence they deliver are features, functions or services – enabled by code. As organizations grow and mature they must start to deal with the hard questions (internally first) well before customer satisfaction falls or other stakeholders begin asking.

Questions that need to be asked and answered include:

  1. Are we delivering enough outcomes?
  2. Are we spending too much to deliver an outcome?
  3. Are we spending too much (or too little) to support our code base?
  4. Which features, modules or products are providing the highest return?
  5. Are we staffed correctly?

All of these questions are important.  Depending on where you are in your organization’s life cycle, these questions become critical.  We will discuss a framework to address these questions in the near future but until then are there other questions to add to the list?

Additional reading on return —

Metrics Minute: Return on Investment (ROI)
https://tcagley.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/metrics-minute-return-on-investment-roi/

Metrics Minute: Return on Assets (ROA)
https://tcagley.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/metrics-minute-return-on-assets-roa/

 

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SPaMCAST 486 features our interview with Daniel S. Vacanti.  Mr. Vacanti is the author of Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction.  We discussed the concepts in the book, answered a question from Steven Adams, and talked about his new book.  It was great to talk about a book with the author after the re-read.

Daniel Vacanti’s Bio:

Daniel Vacanti is a 20-plus year software industry veteran who has spent most of his career focusing on Lean and Agile practices.  In 2007, he helped to develop the Kanban Method for knowledge work and managed the world’s first project implementation of Kanban that year.  He has been conducting Lean-Agile training, coaching, and consulting ever since. In 2011 he founded ActionableAgileTM (previously Corporate Kanban) which provides industry-leading predictive analytics tools and services organizations that utilize Lean-Agile practices.  In 2015 he published his book, “Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability”, which is the definitive guide to flow-based metrics and analytics. Daniel holds an M.B.A. and regularly teaches a class on lean principles for software management at the University of California Berkeley.

Contact Information:

Twitter:  @danvacanti

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielvacanti/

Mail: daniel@actionableagile.com

Web: https://www.actionableagile.com/

 

Re-Read Saturday News
We will begin the full-scale re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! next week and I am stoked. Buy your copy and listen to the interview I did with Mr. Marquet (SPaMCAST 202) to get involved in the re-read.  I am going to lead the re-read from my 2012 (7th printing) copy.  The book has 29 chapters, not including the forward, a cast of characters, index, afterword, and a glossary. The book is an easy read because Marquet is such an excellent communicator.  My intent is to knock out the preface material next week and then begin delivering 2 chapters per week. If my estimating ability holds true, we will complete our re-read in 18 weeks. I expect to miss two weeks due to travel. (more…)

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