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2017 Music City Agile Conference: NoEstimates Workshop


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Slides from my workshop as facilitated at the 2017 Music City Agile Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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2017 Music City Agile Conference: NoEstimates Workshop

  1. 1. sponsor slide
  2. 2. @mattphilip
  3. 3. Big Picture • Objective: Learn what and how much different factors influence delivery time and understand options for forecasting • Complete work cards to deliver the most value! • Play in “day” rounds • Teams play independently but have interdependency with other teams #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  4. 4. • Cards depict the work needed • Circles represent effort to complete • Work must be started sequentially 
 (no peeking!) • Some cards are urgent! • Some have a dependency on another team The Work #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  5. 5. The People • Each person can do 4 points of effort per day. (Use cubes to keep track.) • People can work in areas outside their specialty, but they get only half the points. • If you work on more than one team in a day, you lose one point per extra team (context- switching penalty). #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  6. 6. Staff Your Teams! • Divide into teams of 4-7 people – they do not all have to be same size • Decide as a group each player’s role (wear a “role” name tag) • You can share people across more than one team. #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  7. 7. Team Dependency • Some cards have a dependency on another team. • When you start a card that has one, draw a team card to see which team it is dependent upon. • To complete the card, someone from that team must spend time helping you. (Time spent helping another team counts against that person’s capacity.) #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  8. 8. Blockers = Beginning of Next Day For each blocked card, roll the die.
 = still blocked (no work can be done on it that day) 
 = unblocked (remove the sticky, continue work) End of Day • For each card in progress, roll the die. #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  9. 9. Deployment • For each card whose deployment work is complete, roll the die at the end of the day. • If you roll 1, the card requires rework. Move the card back to Deployment and redo the Deployment work. = #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  10. 10. Daily Actions Pull in as many cards as you want and record the day for commit date Decide how to use each person’s effort for the day Roll to resolve any blocked cards Tick off work on the cards and move them accordingly Roll die for any completed card to determine if it deployed (1 = rework) 
 and record the day delivered For each card in progress, roll die to determine if it’s blocked (1 = blocked) Update the day tracker and draw an event card. #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  11. 11. Scoring Scoring is based on how long it takes you to deliver each card: • 1-2 days: $700 • 3-5 days: $400 • 6+ days: $200 • Urgent: -$100 per day Before we start, we need an estimate! • Backlog = 25 cards • Average effort per card = 21 Car d # Commi t Day Deliver y Day Deliver y Time € Prob. Forecast (50%/85%) 1         2         3         4         5         6         7         8         9         10         11         12         13         14         15         16         17         18           19         20         21         22         23         24         25           Estimate for Total Project: Day Estimate for MVP (#1-11): Day Re-Estimate for Total Project: Day #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  12. 12. After you complete 10 cards: Stop! And ask the facilitator to visit your table. = #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  13. 13. Debrief #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  14. 14. ”Poor Estimation Skills” We need to find ways to accurately forecast (or remove) the non- work time influenced by the entire system. -- Troy Magennis #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  15. 15. Do You Assume Correlation? Is the initial sizing a good predictor for when you can get your stuff? In our case, the surprising truth was ”no.” -- Mattias Skarin, Real-World Kanban #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  16. 16. What’s Going On? Low process efficiency (typically 5-15% in software delivery) means that even if we nailed the effort estimates … we would be accurately predicting 5-15% of elapsed delivery time! -- Troy Magennis #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  17. 17. Other Sources of Variation Often system factors account for more of the elapsed delivery time than different story sizes. -- Troy Magennis #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  18. 18. Sources of Variation How many can you name? #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  19. 19. Sources of Variation #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip • WIP • Technology/domain/product • Team composition • User, client and client representative • Multitasking/focus factor • Market and competitors • System dependencies • Team dependencies • Specialization • Waiting for availability • Rework • Steps/handoffs (50%*50%*50%...) • Stages in team development (Tuckman) • Selection policy • Essential complication (How hard a problem is on its own) • Accidental complication (“How much we suck at our jobs” -Rainsberger)
  20. 20. First, Know Where You Are #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  21. 21. Keogh’s “Scale of Ignorance” 1. Just about everyone in the world has done this. 2. Lots of people have done this, including someone on our team. 3. Someone in our company has done this, or we have access to expertise. 4. Someone in the world did this, but not in our organization (and probably at a competitor). 5. Nobody in the world has ever done this before. #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  22. 22. What Can You Do About Variation? How many remedies
 can you name? #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  23. 23. What You Can Do About Variation • Lower WIP • ConWIP/System WIP • Five Focusing Steps • Blocker clustering • Reduce workflow stages • Explicit policies • Cost of Delay scheduling, sequencing and selection Lean-Kanban #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  24. 24. What You Can Do About Variation • “Agile 101” (simple, decoupled design; thin vertical slices; pairing) • Identify/make visible/measure dependencies • Collaborate/Share work (Dimitar Bakardzhiev) • Spike and stabilize (Dan North) • Reduce accidental complexity (Liz Keogh) Team Why? #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  25. 25. NoEstimates and the Business • Determine what actions would be different based on the estimate • Customer-based fitness criteria • Budgeting: Team run rate • Focus conversation on value, not cost • MVP and product ownership • Create probabilistic forecast ASAP (as soon as you have data) – together! • Service-Delivery Reviews • Teams: Keep teams together, dedicated (reduces context-switching, Tuckman stages) #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  26. 26. The Spectrum of Estimating Never Estimate Anything Always Estimate Everything Question purpose of estimating Include all sources of variation Focus on characterizing work Probabilistic forecast Use delivery data Less effort spent Estimation culture Consider effort only Deterministic forecast Use intuition Heavy effort involved Tasks in hours #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  27. 27. Why NoEstimates? Even in projects with very uncertain development costs, we haven't found that those costs have a significant information value for the investment decision… The single most important unknown is whether the project will be canceled. …The next most important variable is utilization of the system, including how quickly the system rolls out and whether some people will use it at all. --Douglas Hubbard #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  28. 28. What NoEstimates is not saying • You are evil if you estimate • All estimates are totally useless • Stop doing your successful estimating practice • Stop having the conversations to understand/analyze/break down work • Work items must be the same size • You must place your full faith and confidence in Monte Carlo forecasts #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  29. 29. What NoEstimates is saying • Know why you are estimating • Discover for yourself how good you are at estimating (measure) • Keep doing the things that help you understand the work • Upfront estimates need to be held loosely • If you focus on delivering value quickly, you obviate the need for Iron Triangle considerations #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  30. 30. NoEstimates, Manifesto Style … We have come to value: Probabilistic over Deterministic Delivery time over Development time MVP scope over Full scope Data over Intuition* Reducing sources of variation over Improving estimating That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. *Neil Killick uses “empiricism over guesswork” #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  31. 31. #NoEstimates = No (Effort) Estimates • Estimating with minimal effort • Not basing our estimate on effort -- Dimitar Bakardzhiev We need to find ways to accurately forecast (or remove) the non-work time influenced by the entire system. -- Troy Magennis #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  32. 32. Better Questions to Ask • “In what context would estimates bring value, and what are we willing to do about it when they don’t?” – Woody Zuill • “How much time do we want to invest in this?” – Matt Wynne • “What can you do to maximize value and reduce risk in planning and delivery?” – Vasco Duarte #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip
  33. 33. References, Tools and More Info #MusicCityAgile @mattphilip • (Vasco Duarte) • (Troy Magennis) • (Dan Vacanti) • (Dimitar Bakardzhiev) • • • • • • • •