Posts in primary
Playing Tetris with Planning

In Sprint planning for teams using Scrum I often observe stories broken down into tasks.. Tasks estimates done in hours and tasks assigned to people throughout the sprint. The sprints are carefully planned and loaded to achieve as close to a 100% utilisation as possible. Usually the end result of the sprint looks very different to what was planned… But why?

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Why agile IT projects still fail

"It's meant to be an agile project why are we still making changes?" "Why didn't you capture those requirements earlier?" "It meets MVP why can't you release?" "Why are we only discovering these issues now? It needs to hit this deadline so no more changes!"

Does any of that sound familiar? It's something I've heard lots of times.

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Metrics in Agile

Metrics are important...  They allow you to safely change the workings of a team and understand the effect. Management typically prefer's this way of working, it's safer and you have evidence to back up decision making.

At the planning level metrics are invaluable - And allow you to plan with some confidence.... Although planning when you have actual metrics suddenly becomes a much more complex and tiring process than just guessing it!

But you have to them use metrics responsibly and remember Goodhart's law - "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

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Lets STOP measuring knowledge based work in hours!

Last night I was having a quick browse through one of the most famous essays ever written on Software engineering, "The Mythical Man Month”... I don't think I've read the book in over ten years during which time its been sat quietly collecting dust on my bookshelf! To my surprise when flicking through I noticed that the original version was published in 1975 making this year the 40th anniversary - However despite being marginally older than myself it shows perhaps how little has changed in the last 40 years! 

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Work in Progress limits

Introducing WIP limits has an immediate psychological  advantage - If a team can only work on a limited number of features it forces a prioritisation to take place... likewise at the department or organisational level - Such restrictions whilst unpopular encourages better decision making and ensures that only those tasks with a clear business case are undertaken.

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