Agile Estimating: Moving Away from Hours
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Agile Estimating: Moving Away from Hours

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Russ Fletcher is Vice President and Federal Practice Manager of Davisbase a leading provider of Agile training and coaching to government and commercial organizations. He has spent the last six years ...

Russ Fletcher is Vice President and Federal Practice Manager of Davisbase a leading provider of Agile training and coaching to government and commercial organizations. He has spent the last six years practicing Agile as an IT manager and CIO, as well as teaching or leading dozens of organizations in their adoption of Agile. Most recently he has been training the Harvard University IT (HUIT) in applying Agile to their environment.

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  • 1. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Presented by Russ Fletcherin partnership withAgile Estimating:Moving Away from Hours
  • 2. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Agile Described...‣ Agile is a philosophy and a process that drive us to focuson delivering the highest business value in theshortest time.‣ The business sets the priorities. Teams self-organize todetermine the best way to deliver the highest priorityfeatures.‣ Every two weeks to a month anyone can see real workingsoftware and decide to release it as is or continue toenhance it....in less than 100 WordsCourtesy Mike Cohn
  • 3. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Product DeliveryIllustrating the 5 Levels of Agile Planning13245Vision PlanningYearly by the product ownerRoadmap PlanningSemi-yearly by the product ownerRelease PlanningQuarterly by the product owner and teamSprint PlanningBi-weekly by the teamDaily PlanningDaily by the team and individuals
  • 4. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Release 1 Release 2 Release 3 Release 4InventoryDatabasePaymentSystemsSecurityFulfillmentSystemsProduct Tracking Customer LoyaltyAdvertisingProduct RoadmapProduct Vision12345Agile Overview
  • 5. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Estimating Ideal Time• Basketball game• How much longer willthe game take?• Actual game timeremaining is 12:48• Ideal time is likebasketball game time
  • 6. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Estimate Types• Time-based vs Relative Estimating• Time-based Estimating focuses on elapsedtime• Relative Estimating focuses on size andcomplexity
  • 7. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.What People Hear• What do Customers,Stakeholders, Marketingand others do with ourestimates?• Estimates driveexpectations
  • 8. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Games We Play• If we know that estimatesdrive expectations, whatdo we do with ourestimates?• This leads to “estimatebloat” in highlydependent, traditionalproject plansOr we INFLATE them!We pad ourESTIMATES
  • 9. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Relative Estimating• Not time based(days, hours, weeks...)• Size• Complexity• Two techniques:• Triangulation• Bracketing
  • 10. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Story Points• Unit-less measure of• Size• Complexity• We know that 8 is four timesthe size of 282
  • 11. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.• Mike Cohn’s Dog Pointexercise• Assign “dog points” tothe following breedsbased on size andcomplexityDog Breeds PointsDachshundLabrador RetrieverGreat DaneTerrierGerman ShepherdPoodleBulldogSt. BernardChihuahuaRelative EstimatingAssigning “dog points” to demonstrate relative sizes
  • 12. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.The Scale• Not an infinite scale• Specific Sequence -0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100, ?• Try to keep it small -stories estimated toolarge are candidates forbeing split• Stay with this sequence!Relative estimating sequence is based on theFibonacci series. Leonardo of Pisa, aka Fibonacci,studied patterns in nature and found this sequenceutilized again and again. The sequence wasfoundational for the discovery of the ‘golden ratio’.
  • 13. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Estimating Story Points• Use comparisons - stories of similar size• Group stories of similar size to noticeconsistency• Triangulate - don’t compare to only one story
  • 14. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Estimating Story Points• Don’t spend too much time on each story• Estimate as much as is needed forplanning....nothing more• Epics (large stories) should be set aside to bebroken down
  • 15. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Planning PokerUsing PlanningPoker.com• Steps for playing planning poker• Each estimator has a set of cards on their screen• Customer/Product Owner describes a story andallows for brief discussion• Each player selects a card on their screen for theirestimate• Once everyone has estimated, then all cards areshown at the same time• Discuss differences• Re-estimate or discuss to reach convergence
  • 16. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Macro Estimating• Relative estimating/Story Points works fine forsmall pieces of functionality, but...• ...how do I do project-level estimation?
  • 17. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Product DeliveryIllustrating the 5 Levels of Agile Planning13245Vision PlanningYearly by the product ownerRoadmap PlanningSemi-yearly by the product ownerRelease PlanningQuarterly by the product owner and teamSprint PlanningBi-weekly by the teamDaily PlanningDaily by the team and individuals
  • 18. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Release Planning• Release Plan provides a connection from theRoadmap to our Sprints• Provides visibility to how we deliver• Resources• Timing• Backlog Priority
  • 19. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Team Velocity• How much can the team FINISH in a single sprint• Factors effecting team velocity• Number of resources• Interruptions• Multi-tasking• Over time, team velocity is derived from actualdata
  • 20. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Velocity• Understanding the team’scapacity (velocity) will enablerelease planning• Over time utilize multiple datapoints to derive velocity:• Fastest pace• Average pace• Slowest paceSlowestAverageFastestUsing velocity to plan the release
  • 21. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Release Planning• Take into consideration:• Stories• Priorities• Story Points• Velocity• Customer/Product Owner input
  • 22. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Release PlanningSprint 1Story A - 3 ptsStory B - 2 ptsStory D - 5 ptsSprint 2Story C - 5 ptsStory E - 2 ptsStory F - 3 ptsSprint 3Story G - 8 ptsStory H - 3 ptsRelease 1
  • 23. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Release PlanningSprint 1Story A - 3 ptsStory B - 2 ptsStory D - 5 ptsSprint 2Story C - 5 ptsStory E - 2 ptsStory F - 3 ptsSprint 3Story G - 8 ptsStory H - 3 ptsSprint 4IntegrationSprintRelease 1Continuous Integration can save significant time
  • 24. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Release 1 Release 2 Release 3 Release 4InventoryDatabasePaymentSystemsSecurityFulfillmentSystemsProduct Tracking Customer LoyaltyAdvertisingProduct RoadmapProduct Vision12345Agile Overview
  • 25. Copyright 2013 Davisbase LLC.Thank You!Russ FletcherVP Business Dev.Davisbase, LLCruss.fletcher@davisbase.com(801) 636-4802