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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In Chapter 1, The Age of Software, Kersten established that we were at or just past a turning point; those that do not embrace change will face grave difficulties surviving to the next cycle. As a consultant, I work with companies wrestling with trying to transform. Not all succeed for a variety of reasons. In this chapter, the author highlights and compares the lessons derived from his visit to the BMW plant, his study of the development of the Boeing Dreamliner, and the transformation failures at Nokia and a large bank. The first two examples reflect the pinnacle of a product view from the Age of Mass Production which preceded the Age of Software.

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Chapter 1 begins Part 1 of Project to Product (there are 3 parts to the book). This part of the book introduces the Flow Framework, the core of the book.  The graphic showing the whole model is the first thing you see when you open this part of the book which anchors the importance of the model for the rest of the book.

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This week we begin our re-read of Mik Kersten’s Project to Product. I am reading from my Kindle version published by IT Revolution (buy a copy). Today we are tackling the front matter which includes the Foreword by Gene Kim (author of the DevOps Handbook) and the Introduction, which is titled the Turning Point. In past re-reads, I have argued strongly that jumping immediately to the core of a book is a mistake, I again urge you not to make that mistake.

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When I started writing this blog entry I tried to remember all of the books that we have re-read (or read for the first time) on a weekly basis.  I couldn’t remember.  When I look at the statistics for the Re-read Saturday entries they are almost always in the top ten, month after month so it doesn’t matter whether I remember each of the entries (I added a task to my backlog to find them all) because you find and read them.  Two weeks ago I went on holiday, backpacking on Isle Royale. It was a total unplug. During that time I ran a poll to select the next two books to re-read.  The answer is: 

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New content is nearly here!  The Software Process and Measurement Cast and Blog’s summer hiatus is drawing to a close.  There is still time to help pick the next Re-read Saturday Book.  I have decided to select the two books with the highest vote count (I like all of them) and use that as my backlog. Vote now and if you have already voted once, feel free to vote again to emphasize your opinion.

Upcoming Events

Have you registered for what in my opinion is the premier Agile Online Conference? It is time to monotask and take care of that oversight

Register Now and join us from October 25th to 27th, 2021, featuring live and recorded segments.

Join Tom and crew for the fifth annual event, The Agile Online Summit was virtual before virtual became a thing — they really know how to do this right. Tom indicates that since this is a milestone anniversary, he has some exciting twists and turns.  The Summit has free options and paid add-ons so you can tailor your experience to your schedule and need. Register using the link below to let them know the Software Process and Measurement Cast sent you 

Register at https://bit.ly/3mplqIK

Picking the next Re-read Saturday Book.  Steve Adams once told me that he was much more engaged in the re-read when he had a say in which book was chosen. That was true even if his favorite wasn’t chosen — many of us are coaches and consultants, Steve’s advice rings true, therefore I need your input!

 Note there are two books in the list I have not read yet that I am going to read and have been highly recommended. Therefore I would be happy to read them with you rather than re-read them with you. I will close the poll when I leave radio silence on August 28th’ish. 

Upcoming Events

The Agile Online Summit! 

In my opinion, this is the premier Agile Online Conference.  October 25th to 27th, 2021, featuring live and recorded segments 

Join Tom and crew for the fifth annual event, The Agile Online Summit was virtual before virtual became a thing — they really know how to do this right. Tom indicates that since this is a milestone anniversary, he has some exciting twists and turns.  The Summit has free options and paid add-ons so you can tailor your experience to your schedule and need. Register using the link below to let them know the Software Process and Measurement Cast sent you 

Register Here

The Afterword is primarily an exhortation to connect with the author. One quote for getting work done stood out, “The answer is monotasking— delivering the vital few by skipping the useful many.” The concept of linking starting and finishing and controlling WIP is so intrinsically obvious that it borders on being a truism, BUT almost every person, team, and organization throws this basic knowledge out the window thinking they are special. Until about five’ish years ago I was no different.  My work approach was altered by Staffan’s first book, Pomodoro Technique Illustrated, so I expected a great deal from this book. It delivered but it delivered mostly because the second time I read it I put it to use. Just reading this book is intellectually interesting; putting it to use is valuable. The approach of finding one important item from each chapter and then trying to put it into action drove points home for me immediately. I hope my learning by trial and error was useful to the readers of the blog. To date, the short list concept has been the most important takeaway from the approach. The ironic part is that I messed my initial implementation up and almost abandoned the idea. It really works. One learning from the approach is that if an experiment doesn’t work learn and try again. 

Bottom line:  Monotasking by Staffan Nöteberg gets my highest recommendation: it is very useful. (I have to say that I really hate the limit on exporting notes set by the publisher on the Kindle.)

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Base Rate Fallacy Is LIke An Illusion

I took a lot of statistics, quantitative analysis, and math courses in university. I think it was a function of going to three schools during every available semester and building up a boatload of credits before LSU gave me a diploma and made me leave the state. I still remember the day I learned partial differential equations (I finally could understand the footnotes in my economics texts). With all of that, I was not exposed to the idea of a base rate fallacy (known also as base rate bias) until several years later when I was working in the garment industry. Twice this week I have run into scenarios that are examples of base rate fallacies which suggest that many people either don’t understand the concept or are blinded by raw numbers (a shiny object phenomenon). 

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Week 9 of our re-read of Monotasking by Staffan Nöteberg is the last numbered chapter, next week we will wrap things up.  This chapter really is about the self-care needed to be both effective and creative. There are a number of ideas in this chapter that if you’re not familiar with them are frankly just really good ideas. Many of the ideas in this chapter I have been using for years and some of the inferred issues I am still working on. Sleep is the biggest problem I struggle with.  

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