How to choose the right project? Decision making frameworks for software organizations

Frameworks to choose the best projects in organizations are a dime a dozen. We have our NPV (net present value), we have our customized Criteria Matrix, we have Strategic alignment, we have Risk/Value scoring, and the list goes on and on. In every organization there will a preference for one of these or similar methods …

Hierarchies remove scaling properties in Agile Software projects

There is a lot of interest in scaling Agile Software Development. And that is a good thing. Software projects of all sizes benefit from what we have learned over the years about Agile Software Development. Many frameworks have been developed to help us implement Agile at scale. We have: SAFe, DAD, Large-scale Scrum, etc. I …

What is an Estimate?

If you don’t know what an estimate is, you can’t avoid using them. So here’s my attempt to define what is an estimate.The “estimates” that I’m concerned about are those that can easily (by omission, incompetence or malice) be turned into commitments. I believe Software Development is better seen as a discovery process (even simple …

What is Capacity in software development? – The #NoEstimates journey

I hear this a lot in the #NoEstimates discussion: you must estimate to know what you can deliver for a certain price, time or effort. Actually, you don’t. There’s a different way to look at your organization and your project. Organizations and projects have an inherent capacity, that capacity is a result of many different …

Coming out of the closet – the life and adventure of a traditional project manager turned Agilist

I’m coming out of the closet today. No, not that closet. Another closet, the tabu closet in the Agile community. Yes, I was (and to a point still am) a control freak, traditional, command and control project manager. Yes, that’s right you read it correctly. Here’s why this is important: in 2003 when I first …

Humans suck at statistics – how agile velocity leads managers astray

Humans are highly optimized for quick decision making. The so-called System 1 that Kahneman refers to in his book “Thinking fast, thinking slow“. One specific area of weakness for the average human is understanding statistics. A very simple exercise to review this is the coin-toss simulation. Humans are highly optimized for quick decision making. Get …

Creating options by slicing features – #NoEstimates technique

Each feature (or story) in a product backlog contains many undiscovered options. By taking features as they are without slicing them into thin slices of functionality we implicitly commit to an implementation strategy. However, when we slice features we create options that allow us to pro-actively manage the scope of a project. Let’s return to …

Dealing with Complexity in Software Projects – The theory that explains why Agile Project Management works

Why do projects fail? This is a question that haunts all project managers. Good and bad, experienced and beginners, Agile or non-Agile. The reason for that is simple: we believe that if we crack the code of why projects fail, we will be able to avoid failure in our own projects. After all who does …

Real stories of how estimates destroy value in Software Development

A friend shared with me a few stories about how Estimates are destroying value in his organization. He was kind enough to allow me to share these stories anonymously. Enjoy the reading, I know I did! 🙂 The story of the customer that wanted software, but got the wrong estimates instead Once, one of our …

How Chaos Theory will influence management and management styles in the future

Managers all over the world are faced with a critical challenge to their role. They ideas about management and their management style is being challenged. And this is even more important because many managers have reached a position of in their career where they thought they could “take it easy”. Nothing could be further from …