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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Progress is easy to visualize when we use the yardstick of calendar time. My wife and I spent 17 days in Europe. There are 197 shopping days until Christmas (as of June 12, 2018) — I expect presents this year. How long it takes to deliver a piece of work, in days, is something nearly every human can understand. Over the past few months, I have been cataloging questions I have heard. Well over 70% of work-related questions center on how long a piece of work will take and whether the answer to that question has value. Cycle time metrics are ways to generate answers to ‘how long’ questions in a manner that is valuable and predictable. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 498 features our interview John Kordyback.  Agile is more than just Scrum or a bunch values. Agile has a technical side that can’t be ignored. This week, John and I have a wide-ranging conversation covering the technical side of agile, the impact of tools on principles, and the difference in agile approaches for systems of engagement and systems of record.

Bio:

John Kordyback is a Principal Consultant with ThoughtWorks leading technology transformations and applying lean principles within complex enterprises. He is a strong advocate for applying the lean delivery and operational practices found in the Devops and Evolutionary Architecture movements to gain more value from existing technology investments. John has worked in insurance, telecommunications, commodity and securities trading, high tech, energy, and the airline industries. Before his technology career, John worked as a researcher and practitioner for people with disabilities.

Email: jkordyba@thoughtworks.com

Twitter: @jkordyback

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we tackle chapter 20 of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! (have you bought your copy?). Chapter 20 completes part 3 which has focused on competence and the run-up to the deployment of the Santa Fe. The title of this chapter is Final Preparations.  We have six or seven weeks left – Steven Adams is pushing for the next book to be Release It, the other option is The Checklist Manifesto.  Both are great . . . thoughts?

Current Installment:

Week 13: Final Preparations –  https://bit.ly/2t1OgSn (more…)

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SPaMCAST 497 features our essay on micromanagement.  Micromanagement is a bane to employees that fall under a micromanager’s control. If you ask any manager if they think micromanagement is useful they will tell you no.  The problem is that many managers still do it and then rationalize the behavior.

We also welcome back Dr. Susan Parente, with her “Not a Scrumdamentalist” column.  In this installment, Susan discusses using hybrid agile methods to deliver value. The message is that the development approach needs to meld with the organization’s culture.

Gene Hughson brings the cast home with another entry from his Form Follows Function blog.  In this installment Gene discusses his essay, Getting a handle on IT costs by eliminating chargebacks?  IT costs are a chronic problem. Ideas for getting a handle on costs are always useful.

Re-Read Saturday News

In week twelve of the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  (Buy your copy now).  This week we tackle Underway for San Diego and All Present and Accounted For.  Two more tools that are immediately useful.

Current Installment:

Week 12: Underway for San Diego and All Present and Accounted Forhttps://bit.ly/2J7AkRx (more…)

I spent yesterday roaring across Spain at 300+ km/hr. As I looked out the window I am more convinced that we are entering the post-agile age.  The new age, so ripe with promise, is an age of enlightened continuous process improvements that challenges us all to be more than we were yesterday.  Today we revisit …. (more…)

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Software Process and Measurement Cast 491 features our essay titled, Can “Done” Be Allowed To Break Production?  The most succinct answer to the question is always no, the story is not done. The reason is that the story is not implementable, and unless the goal of the story is to blow up production and anger customers it can’t be considered to be done.

Susan Parente brings her Not a Scrumdamentalist column to the cast this week.  Susan discusses Kanban for You and Me.  The discussion focuses on personal Kanban and how to use it to guide your day to day activities effectively and efficiently.

Kim Pries, the Software Sensi, anchors the cast this week.  Kim’s essay is titled Real Software Quality.  In this column, Kim warns us of the dangers of interventionism on quality.

Re-Read Saturday News

In week six of the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! we tackle chapter 7, titled I Relieve You. I am breaking the two chapter pattern to layup so that we can have a clean start the second part of the book next week Chapter Seven completes Part One of the book.  Part one serves tells the story of how Captain Marquet came to be in command of the USSN Santa Fe rather than the Olympia. Much of Marquet’s leadership model was emergent (like design in agile). Change may occur even without a shock like Marquet’s reassignment, but adding energy will hasten change. In this case, the shock made the development of Marquet’s leadership model inevitable.

Current Installment:

Week 6: I Relieve Youhttps://bit.ly/2F7C5ag

Previous Installments: (more…)

A Simple Life!

The Definition of Done is an important Agile technique to help teams plan and execute work.   The simplest definition of the Definition of Done is the criteria that a work product must meet to be considered to be complete. While the concept is simple, the implementation of the technique in the real world is rarely simple. Both context and interpretations make things just a bit gray! (more…)