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SPaMCAST 562 features our essay on the power of saying no.  I firmly believe that unless you have control over the amount of work you take, you are asking for a trainwreck.  The problem is that saying no is often harder than being late or over budget.  

We will also have a visit from the Software Sensei.  Kim Pries is back to kick off September with an essay titled, Real Planning. While the actual plan might not be exactly what happens in real life, the act of planning is crucial.  (more…)

Today we continue our six-day journey through six different categories of agile sayings. This is the competition to pick the best of each category.  The competition in our journey is an attempt to deliver a bit of festivity to the yearend (perhaps a bit of an homage to the college football playoffs also). We all use metaphors and sayings to rally the teams as they embrace change, the competition provides a platform to up our game. 

Today’s five sayings addressing the topic of planning were contributed by agilistas (and some agile detractors). When I was first introduced to agile, I briefly made the mistake of seeing the lack of a big upfront plan as the absence of planning.  Experience and practice teach us the power of distributed and continuous planning over the big upfront plan.

A reminder of the logistics:  On December 26 and 27th we cross the categories for two semi-final polls with the final poll on December 28th.  The ultimate agile saying, at least according to the SPaMCAST community, will be announced on January 1st!

This poll and all of the first round polls will be until 25 December 23:55 (vote early and often – 🙂 )

 

First Round Entries:

Day 1: Fail Fast and More – https://bit.ly/2A4UxRc

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What is the possibility

One of the most often used saying in agile is that yesterday’s weather is a good predictor of tomorrow’s performance. I have lived in Louisiana where if you blink the weather will change. I currently live near Cleveland (and I like it), and in 2014 the temperature went from 39 F to -11 F in less than 24 hours. I went running on both days; they were very different. Even if I grant that yesterday can be an important indicator of performance tomorrow, a sample size of one does not capture the degree of variability that might be present in the environment. Why does anyone care about variability in performance? As suggested in Agile Metrics: An Interlude, leaders have not stopped asking what they can get, when they can get it and how much it will cost type questions. Even if they don’t ask all of those questions there will be questions about budgets. These are not evil, unagile people; they are business people that need to plan things like cash flows and making payroll. Answering when they can deliver product to the market or when a change to the HR portal will be made are important questions. Just relying on yesterday’s weather is not always sufficient and there is no Oracle of Delphi that provides a single, unambiguous answer to any of those questions. The answers are always a range. In most circumstances, each possible outcome is more or less probable than the next. Uncertainty makes it difficult to have a conversation about when, what and how much. Monte Carlo analysis provides a way to handle answering questions with significant uncertainty in the inputs that influence the outcome of the work so you can have the difficult when, what and how much type conversations. (more…)

I can’t resize the run even if is straight uphill both ways!

The question of resizing a story has many variations based on the rationale the asker is using. Rationales include stories:

  • that the work is harder,
  • take longer,
  • for which someone else is going to do the work, or
  • on which people missed the boat entirely.

If the answer given is no, the immediate next question is often “If not, then when does it make sense?”  Let’s start with the easy part of the answer. (more…)

Preparation is key to reaching your goals.

Successful and efficient planning of any sort represents the confluence of preparing the work to be planned and proper logistics. Earlier in this series on planning, we reviewed the basic logistics needed for a planning event and defined a simple checklist.  While both are important, preparing the work to be planned requires more effort.  Preparing the work for planning requires knowing the capacity of the team and grooming the work items (stories, requirements, support tickets and/or defects). (more…)

Logistics Are Part of All Meetings

Planning meetings are not terribly glamorous.  They are, however, an important first step in effectively delivering value for any sprint or increment.  I have developed a simple checklist for preparing for a planning meeting (we will explore a simple process in the near future).  Agile planning events couple the discipline of saying what will be done and then delivering on that promise with the need to embrace the dynamic nature of development and maintenance. (more…)

Left and Right

 

Product roadmaps are a tool used to visually present a business strategy. Roadmaps serve multiple goals. The goals of roadmap development generally are varied, including not only the ultimate roadmap itself but also the journey to develop the roadmap.  Typical goals include: (more…)