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# Attack Sources of Variability to Improve Predictability

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Sydney Limited WIP Society presentation on Kanban Recipe of Success part 6: Attack Sources of Variability to Improve Predictability.

What is variation? Why do we care about variation? When is variation valuable? Tactics to changing the amount of variation. Tactics to change the consequences of variation.

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• 0.5 * 85000 – 0.5 * 15000 = 0.9 * 5000 – 0.1 * 15000 = 3000
• ### Attack Sources of Variability to Improve Predictability

1. 1. Attack Sources of Variability to Improve Predictability Kanban Recipe for Success: Step Six Jason Yip j.c.yip@computer.org jcyip@thoughtworks.com @jchyip http://jchyip.blogspot.com
2. 2. HOMEWORK CHECK
3. 3. What step(s) did you take to start prioritising?
4. 4. The Recipe for Success 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Focus on Quality Reduce WIP Deliver Often Balance Demand Against Throughput Prioritise Attack Variability to Improve Predictability
5. 5. WHAT IS VARIABILITY?
6. 6. WHY VARIABILITY?
7. 7. “We cannot add value without adding variability, but we can add variability without adding value.” Don Reinertsen, The Principles of Product Development Flow
8. 8. “Variability results in more workin-progress and longer lead times.” David Anderson, Kanban
9. 9. Variability leads to buffers and bottlenecks http://flic.kr/p/4QofnD
10. 10. “Consistency leads to better programs. If formatting varies unpredictably, or a loop over an array runs uphill this time and downhill the next, or strings are copied with strcpy here and a for loop there, the variations make it harder to see what’s really going on. But if the same computation is done the same way every time it appears, any variation suggests a genuine difference, one worth noting.” Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike, The Practice of Programming
11. 11. Paying attention to variability helps you to see problems
12. 12. SOURCES OF VARIABILITY
13. 13. Types of variation • Internal – Due to the design of the system – Variation is random with no clear assignable cause – Address this by changing the policies and process (aka “rules of the game”) • External – Variation caused by events or aspects that are outside your control – It is possible to assign a cause (aka the external event) – Address this by having systems and structures to “roll with it” (aka risk management)
14. 14. Various ways to talk about variation • Shewart – Chance-cause (random and inherent to system design) vs assignablecause (cause-and-effect with external event) • Alpert / Deming – Common-cause (common to all similarly designed systems) vs special-cause (new knowledge or event that is different to how the system normally works) • Feigenbaum – Usual (the variation you’ve learned to expect) vs unusual (any variation that is not expected) (Also normal vs abnormal) • Wheeler – Routine (predictable variation characteristic of common causes) vs exceptional (unpredictable variation as the result of an assignable cause) http://jchyip.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/different-ways-to-describe-causes-of.html
15. 15. Internal sources of variability in software development • • • • • Software development process Project management process Organisational systems and structures Capability of team members Technology choice
16. 16. “Simply changing an existing process policy can dramatically reduce sources of variability that affect predictability.” David Anderson, Kanban
17. 17. ASIDE: VARIATION IS NOT INHERENTLY EVIL
18. 18. “We cannot add value without adding variability, but we can add variability without adding value.” Don Reinertsen, The Principles of Product Development Flow
19. 19. Which choice has the least variability? Choice Stakes Payoff Probability A \$15 000 \$100 000 50% B \$15 000 \$20 000 90% C \$15 000 \$16 000 100% Derived from The Principles of Product Development Flow by Don Reinertsen
20. 20. Which is the best economic choice? Choice Stakes Payoff Probability Expected Value A \$15 000 \$100 000 50% \$35 000 B \$15 000 \$20 000 90% \$3 000 C \$15 000 \$16 000 100% \$1 000 Derived from The Principles of Product Development Flow by Don Reinertsen
21. 21. Higher variability raises pay-off From The Principles of Product Development Flow by Don Reinertsen
22. 22. Don’t “minimise variability” nor “maximise variability” but rather optimise variability based on context
23. 23. Don Reinertsen’s two main approaches for dealing with variability 1. Change the amount of variability 2. Change the economic consequences of the variability
24. 24. TACTICS FOR REDUCING VARIABILITY
25. 25. Standardise work item size • Standardise the format (e.g., As a…I want…in order to…) • Limit the number of types (e.g., S, M, L vs 0 – 100)
26. 26. Which betting approach has less variation? 1. Flip a coin. Heads, you win \$100; tails, you lose \$100. 2. Flip a coin 4 times. Each time you flip, heads, you win \$25; tails, you lose \$25. Option 1: Chance of losing \$100 is 50% (1 in 2) Option 2: Chance of losing \$100 is 6.25% (1 in 16) Derived from The Principles of Product Development Flow by Don Reinertsen
27. 27. Many small experiments produce less variation than one big one
28. 28. If it varies too much, do it more often Automate Practice http://martinfowler.com/bliki/FrequencyReducesDifficulty.html
29. 29. Reuse … but decide based on economics, not “maximising reuse” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube
30. 30. Pursue high quality • • • • • • Peer reviews Pair programming Unit tests Continuous integration Small batch sizes Highly cohesive, loosely coupled architectures
31. 31. Remove unnecessary ambiguity
32. 32. Put limits on expedite requests
33. 33. Process behaviour (aka control) charts
34. 34. TACTICS FOR IMPROVING THE CONSEQUENCES OF VARIABILITY
35. 35. “A [schedule] buffer converts uncertain earliness to certain lateness. Thus, it is generally a bad idea to trade cycle time for reduced variability in cycle time.” Don Reinertsen, The Principles of Product Development Flow
36. 36. Rapid feedback • Think Mean Time to Recover vs Mean Time to Failure
37. 37. Substitute cheap variability for expensive variability From The Principles of Product Development Flow by Don Reinertsen
38. 38. HOMEWORK
39. 39. What is the smallest step you could take to move 1 level up (or more)?
40. 40. What is your plan to start that step tomorrow?