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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 435 features our interview with Allan Kelly.  Our discussion touched on the concepts behind #NoProjects.  Allan describes how the concept of a project leads to a number of unintended consequences.  Those consequences aren’t pretty.

Allan makes digital development teams more effective and improves delivery with continuous agile approaches to reduce delay and risk while increasing value delivered. He helps teams and smaller companies – including start-ups and scale-ups – with advice, coaching and training. Managers, product, and technical staff are all involved in his improvements. He is the originator of Retrospective Dialogue Sheets and Value Poker, the author of four books, including “Xanpan – team-centric Agile Software Development” and “Business Patterns for Software Developers”. On Twitter he is @allankellynet.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we tackle Chapter 8 of Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (buy your copy and read along).  Chapter 8, titled “Changing Mindsets.” The whole concept of mindsets would be an interesting footnote if we did not believe they could change. Chapter 8 drives home the point that has been made multiple times in the book, that mindsets are malleable with self-awareness and a lot of effort. The question of whether all people want to be that self-aware will be addressed next week as we wrap up our re-read.

We are quickly closing in on the end of our re-read of Mindset.  I anticipate one more week.   The next book in the series will be Holacracy (Buy a copy today). After my recent interview with Jeff Dalton on Software Process and Measurement Cast 433, I realized that I had only read extracts from Holacracy by Brian J. Robertson, therefore we will read (first time for me) the whole book together.

Every week we discuss a chapter then consider the implications of what we have “read” from the point of view of both pursuing an organizational transformation and also using the material when coaching teams.  

Remember to buy a copy of Carol Dweck’s Mindset and start the re-read from the beginning!

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.


The next Software Process and Measurement Cast will feature our essay on incremental change approaches.  We will also have columns from Jeremy Berriault. Jeremy blogs at  and Jon M Quigley who brings his column, the Alpha and Omega of Product Development, to the Cast. One of the places you can find Jon is at Value Transformation LLC.


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We begin year 10 of the Software Process and Measurement Cast with our Interview with Evan Leybourn. Evan returns to the Software Process and Measurement Cast to discuss the “end to IT projects.” We discussed the idea of #NoProject and continuous delivery, and whether this is just an “IT” thing or something that can encompass the entire business.  Evan’s views are informative and bit provocative.  I have not stopped thinking about the concepts we discussed since originally taping the interview.

Evan last appeared on SPaMCAST 284 – Evan Leybourn, Directing The Agile Organization to discuss his book Directing the Agile Organization.

Evan’s Bio
Evan pioneered the field of Agile Business Management; applying the successful concepts and practices from the Lean and Agile movements to corporate management. He keeps busy as a business leader, consultant, non-executive director, conference speaker, internationally published author and father.

Evan has a passion for building effective and productive organizations, filled with actively engaged and committed people. Only through this, can organizations flourish. His experience while holding senior leadership and board positions in both private industry and the government has driven his work in business agility and he regularly speaks on these topics at local and international industry conferences.

As well as writing “Directing the Agile Organization.”, Evan currently works for IBM in Singapore to help them become a leading agile organization. As always, all thoughts, ideas, and comments are his own and do not represent his clients or employer.

All of Evan’s contact information and blog can be accessed on his website.

Remember to help grow the podcast by reviewing the SPaMCAST on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher/player and then share the review! Help your friends find the Software Process and Measurement Cast. After all, friends help friends find great podcasts!

Re-Read Saturday News

We continue the re-read of How to Measure Anything, Finding the Value of “Intangibles in Business” Third Edition by Douglas W. Hubbard on the Software Process and Measurement Blog. In Chapter Six, we discussed using risk in quantitative analysis and the Monte Carlo analysis.


Upcoming Events

I am facilitating the CMMI Capability Challenge. This new competition showcases thought leaders who are building organizational capability and improving performance. Listeners will be asked to vote on the winning idea which will be presented at the CMMI Institute’s Capability Counts 2016 conference.  The next CMMI Capability Challenge session will be held on February 17 at 11 AM EST.



The next Software Process and Measurement Cast will feature our essay on the relationship between done and value. The essay is in response to a question from Anteneh Berhane.  Anteneh called me to ask one of the hardest questions I had ever been asked: why doesn’t the definition of done include value?

We will also have columns from Jeremy Berriault’s QA Corner and Steve Tendon discussing the next chapter in the book  Tame The Flow: Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach and Its Application to Scrum and Kanban.

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

Hot air balloons and helium balloons

They are all balloons! Using the right word is important for understanding!

The idea that a flow of value to users is at the heart of concepts such as #NotImplementedNoValue and #NoProjects. At the heart of the flow of value is a conundrum. That conundrum is entwined in three terms; price, cost and value.  These three terms are often conflated, despite representing very different ideas. When project teams or product owners use price, cost and value interchangeability they can easily make the wrong choices as they they lead value through the development or maintenance process.

Price is often equated to value. We have all heard “you get what you pay for.” As anyone that has had to bid for a project will tell you, price is a significantly more nuanced than a straight translation of value. Price is defined as the amount of money given in payment for something. Price can also refer to an unwelcome experience or condition required to achieve an end. The act of pricing is dance between what can be charged and the strategy of the seller (think Game Theory). I have heard sales people suggest that they price the first deal to get in the door in order to prove the value of their product or service; therefore the price of any individual transaction might not be directly related to value. All software transactions must be viewed across the life of the software and the life of the relationship with the provider.  Bottom line: Price of any individual transaction is only loosely related to value.

Cost is a “simple” concept. The use of the term simple is very tongue and cheek, as costs often include labor, materials, office charges, hardware, business changes and opportunity costs. In a commercial product, cost and price are connected by the margin. The discipline of having to maintain a positive margin over the long term mean you need to understand the relationship of cost to price and later value. Most internal IT organizations do not face the long-term discipline of the market, and often only have to manage labor costs, which can lead to poor behaviors. One example of poor practice is substituting labor for automation because automation has a higher upfront cost (resisting test automation software for example).

Value is defined on as ”relative worth, merit, or importance.” Value measures range from profit and revenue, to a relative measure based on the perception of what an individual or group will get from a service or product. To make matters more complicated, the perception of value changes based on context, which can affect what can be charged. For example, water has significantly more value to someone dying of thirst than a person sitting in their kitchen drinking a glass of water. Value can be seen as the interaction between factors that include global or organizational impact, individual benefit and the probability of use. Many people use cost and price as tools to help determine value.

Price, cost and value are related. Cost plus margin will always equal price for a specific transaction. Over the long run, pricing any specific transaction below the typical margin or at a loss may make strategic sense. Examples might include capturing market share or getting in the door. But in the long run, pricing too many transactions below cost is catastrophic. The link between cost and price is more tenuous, because even if measured using hard currency the amount of value is affected by perception. In order to pursue concepts like #NoProject or #NotImplemnetedNoValue you need to have a handle the nuances of price, cost and value so that you can understand and talk clearly about the value derived from each story, feature or epic. Falling prey to conflating price, cost and value will yield a conundrum that will impact the decisions we make about what to deliver and when.

Programming Note: We will dive into value in more detail on Thursday.

Listen to SPaMCAST 354

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The week’s Software Process and Measurement Cast features our interview with Allan Kelly.  We talked #NoProjects and having a focus of delivering a consistent flow of value.  The classic project framework causes us to focus on being on-time, on-budget and on-scope, but not on-value. If we don’t focus on delivering the maximum value we are doing both our customers and ourselves a great disservice.

Allan Kelly advises teams from many different companies and domains on adopting and deepening Agile practices and development in general. He specializes in working with software product companies and aligning products and processes with company strategy. When he is not with clients he writes far too much.

He holds BSc and MBA degrees, is the author of three books: “Xanpan – team centric Agile Software Development” (, “Business Patterns for Software Developers” and “Changing Software Development: Learning to be Agile”. In addition he is the originator of Retrospective Dialogue Sheets ( and a regular conference speaker. He can be found on Twitter as @allankellynet ( and blogs (

Call to Action!

I have a challenge for the Software Process and Measurement Cast listeners for the next few weeks. I would like you to find one person that you think would like the podcast and introduce them to the cast. This might mean sending them the URL or teaching them how to download podcasts. If you like the podcast and think it is valuable they will be thankful to you for introducing them to the Software Process and Measurement Cast. Thank you in advance!

Re-Read Saturday News

Remember that the Re-Read Saturday of The Mythical Man-Month is in full swing.  This week we tackle the essay titled “Passing the Word”!  Check out the new installment at Software Process and Measurement Blog.

Upcoming Events

Software Quality and Test Management

September 13 – 18, 2015

San Diego, California

I will be speaking on the impact of cognitive biases on teams.  Let me know if you are attending! If you are still deciding on attending let me know because I have a discount code.


Agile Development Conference East

November 8-13, 2015

Orlando, Florida

I will be speaking on November 12th on the topic of Agile Risk. Let me know if you are going and we will have a SPaMCAST Meetup.


The next Software Process and Measurement feature our essay titled, Agile Success.  How do we define success with Agile?  If we can’t define what success using Agile is and how we can measure it, anyone adopting Agile is bound to wander aimlessly.  Wandering aimlessly is bad for your career and potentially for the careers of everyone around you!

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, neither for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.