Accidental complication: another reason why estimates don’t work

Accidental complication Another reason why estimations can’t work goes by the name of accidental complication. J.B. Rainsberger introduced this concept at Oredev 2013 . The gist of the argument is this: every feature or functionality added to an existing project has two cost elements (what you want to estimate): Essential complication or g(e): How hard …

5 No Estimates Decision-Making Strategies

One of the questions that I and other #NoEstimates proponents hear quite often is: How can we make decisions on what projects we should do next, without considering the estimated time it takes to deliver a set of functionality? Although this is a valid question, I know there are many alternatives to the assumptions implicit …

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 …

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 …