Measurement


Today we will speak to Kit Merker, COO of Nobl9 about Service Level Objectives (SLO). Kit provides down-to-earth advice for adopting and using SLOs to benefit teams AND organizations. 

Kit’s bio:

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As the previous chapters have highlighted, we can measure the flow items that enter and exit a value stream. There are a number of suitcase words (words that have many ideas packed in them) such as value streams and flow items. Chapter 5 of Project to Product connects flow items and metrics to business results. The integrated view is where the real power of the model is found (but only if you bite the bullet and understand the value streams in the organization).

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One of the most influential books in my career was Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. One concept in the book was the concept of flow state, being fully in the zone so that a problem or piece of work can be focused on and delivered. Flow maximizes the amount of value delivered. Demarco and Lister’s introduction to flow paved the way for my interest in The Flow Framework. Chapter 3 of Project to Product introduces the Flow Framework.

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Play Now!

This week Dave Nicolette, author of Software Development Metrics from Manning Publications, and I talk about pragmatically using metrics. Dave and I talked about the value teams get from measurement regardless of the approach you are taking to deliver value. Measurement is feedback and measurement is leadership for guiding and improving how work is done.   

After you have listened I think you will want a copy of Dave’s book on metrics.  Use the link: http://mng.bz/r2Og  Also, yes there is more, you say you don’t want to pay full price?  Use the discount code podspam20 to get a 40% discount code (good for all Manning products in all formats).

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Read Part 1   Read Part 2

This is part 3 of an essay based on a presentation I did as part of IFPUG’s Knowledge Cafe Webinar Series. The presentation is titled Software Development: Preparing For Life After COVID-19. I have not heard if the final version has been posted. I do have a copy of the audio which I will edit.  I will also post a PDF of the slides in the near future (email me if you like to have a copy of the slides before they are posted). 

Once we have an idea of what is important: throughput, cycle time, productivity, and delivered defects, deciding when we care about measuring becomes critical. The answer is simple on paper, focus on the product backlog, what is between “Start and Done” and what crosses the line of done (production!). That we care about these three slices of time reflects the need to focus on how the work flows. Only counting the flow of value when it is done is a recognition that, at least in software, if code isn’t in production, you have not delivered. (more…)

 

On Friday, June 5th at 9 EDT (sign-up: https://bit.ly/3gH0Uy5) I am presenting as part of IFPUG’s Knowledge Cafe Webinar Series. The presentation is titled Software Development: Preparing For Life After COVID-19. Putting aside the impact of the current pandemic on healthcare, the environment, or office design, there will be pressure on the bottom line that managers will react to. Being effective and efficient is table stakes for survival, let’s raise the ante and know how effective and efficient we are to protect our jobs and those of our colleagues.  The first half of what will be synthesized into a script follows below.   (more…)

The road is rarely straight and narrow but regardless, it is a road!

Thriving in the post-COVID-19 lockdown world will mean you have to be efficient, dependable, and effective. Effectiveness is the third core capability and is the hardest to define. The dictionary definition of effectiveness is “the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result”. Translating that definition a bit for software development yields effectiveness as an assessment of whether a process, product or project is doing the right thing when compared to the goals of the organization. Being effective means having a consistent understanding of what the right thing is regardless of how dynamic the environment is. Needless to say, in the software world, no one has been able to consistently get needs and requirements nailed down for any length of time (we will reserve that topic for later). When I asked Andrew Jarr, Scrum Master at iovation (during a LinkedIn messaging conversation) what his approach was he responded, “I tend to think of an effective team in terms of delivering good outcomes for their stakeholders, how well/safely they communicate as a team, and how well individuals grow. Assessing effectiveness requires agreed upon proxy measures.  Examples of proxy measures often include: (more…)

 

Efficiency and Beatty

I have been asking senior executives how they expect organizational goals to change after the shock of COVID-19. Mark Summers, Senior Director of Quality at Northwestern Mutual and Vice President of TMMi America, started his response with a single word, “efficiency.”  Mr. Summers went on to say that efficiency meant doing the right things and doing them well. He concluded by suggesting that leaders would need to improve delivery — make it faster, more efficient and deliver more value. Efficiency is a measure of how much-wasted effort there is in a process or system. The concept is highly charged in a profession that still views itself as more of a mixture of art and craftmanship then of engineering practices. All value chains and the process they are made up of must: (more…)

I have observed several recessions including the Dot.Com debacle and more recently the financial crisis. They are not fun. One of the classic behaviors of enterprises (big and small) during these times is to manage the bottom line through the one lever they have the most direct control over, cost. According to statistics published on Fortunly, about 300,000 software development related jobs are outsourced annually in the United States – a downturn will exacerbate this flow. In order to meet the new austerity that awaits us on the other side of the worst of COVID-19, software development teams and organizations are going to have to re-focus on measuring and improving three core capabilities. They are: (more…)

Dirty glasses at a bar

I thought you were taking notes!

A Korn Ferry survey indicated that 67% of respondents felt that they are spending too much time on meetings and calls which “distract from making an impact at work.” Many organizations have tried to rein in meetings by trying tactics like no meeting days to increase focus time. It is a shame that the idea has not caught on. On a personal level, I habitually block chunks of my calendar to ensure I can not be automatically booked into meetings. Note, the Korn Ferry survey indicates that 35% of people invited to a meeting they feel will be unproductive still accept and attend. We need to fix this productivity sink. Measurement is table stakes for change. A few simple measurement approaches that are useful for beginning a dialogue are: (more…)

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