Cycle times and the Evolution From Story Points

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Deck from a talk on cycle times and how to apply them for informed decision making (forecasting, team building, balance, process improvement) and evolution from traditional estimation approaches.

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Cycle times and the Evolution From Story Points

  1. 1. Cycle Time Metrics & The Downfall of Story Points HDC 2013 Scott Aucoin
  2. 2. Me
  3. 3. You? ?
  4. 4. What the heck is a Cycle Time?
  5. 5. A Step Back
  6. 6. “Scientific Management”
  7. 7. Waterfall
  8. 8. Agile
  9. 9. Lean
  10. 10. PSP & TSP
  11. 11. Method-Neutral Constants • Need for: – Scheduling – Forecasting – Estimation • Risk & Unknowns • The need to know speed
  12. 12. Cycle Times • Methodology Neutral Measurement • Tool for understanding the big picture and all of the little pictures within it • Think Lean Manufacturing
  13. 13. Cycle Time
  14. 14. Easy as Cake
  15. 15. Scenario Introduction Backlog Ready… In… Ready… In… Ready for Signoff Done - Req’ts - To Do - Ready for Dev - Ready for UX - Ready for Design - In Progress - In Dev - In UX - In Design - Ready for QA - Ready for Staging - In QA - Testing - Build - Ready for Signoff - Ready for PO - Ready for Build - Ready for Prod - Ready for X - Approved
  16. 16. Scenario Introduction To Do In Progress Done
  17. 17. Scenario In Progress Backlog Ready for Dev In Dev Ready for QA In QA Ready for Signoff Approved #10 Story Chore Bug #12 #23 #14 #8 #3#9 #7
  18. 18. Scenario In Progress Backlog Ready for Dev In Dev Ready for QA In QA Ready for Signoff Approved #10 Story Chore Bug #12 #23 #14 #8 #3#9#7 In Dev: 1.2 days Ready for QA: .5 In QA: 1 Ready for Signoff: 2 days Total: 4.7 days
  19. 19. Cycle Time Definition The time it takes for a unit to move through a development process • Unit is any piece of work: Story, Chore, Defect/Bug, Technical Task, etc. • Can be measured at the highest level (start to finish) or incremental levels (as small as you can) • The value is based on what you put into it
  20. 20. How To: Req. # Type Ready Dev In Dev Ready QA In QA Ready Accept Total 12 Story .4 .25 .5 1 2.4 9 Story .5 1 .5 .25 1.5 4.5 14 Chore 1.5 1.5 26 Story .5 1.5 1 .5 .25 3.75 33 Bug .75 .3 1.4 1.25 3.9
  21. 21. When To: • As is the case with “How to” – it depends on the tools you use • Grab the data as frequently as you can, always better to do it as soon as possible • The rule is up to you
  22. 22. How can I use the Cycle Time?
  23. 23. Scenario Flashback Backlog Ready for Dev In Dev Ready for QA In QA Ready for Signoff Approved #10 Story Chore Bug #12 #23 #14 #8 #3#9 #7
  24. 24. How To Flashback: Req. # Type Ready Dev In Dev Ready QA In QA Ready Accept Total # of Handoffs 12 Story .4 .25 .5 1 2.15 3 9 Story .5 1 .5 .25 1.5 3.75 5 14 Chore 1.5 1.5 0 26 Story .5 1.5 1 .5 .25 3.75 4 33 Bug .75 .3 1.4 1.25 3.9 3
  25. 25. Endless Opportunities • Individual Efficiency • Pair Productivity • Process changes (intro of new tools) • Knowledge of handbacks • Ability to plan when a person (or entire skill set) will not be available and know the impact based on data • Planning, forecasting, estimating…
  26. 26. Overhead from Planning • Time = Money • Inaccurate Estimates – Waterfall = 14% success – Agile = 42% success – PSP/TSP = 94% accurate (small sample & consider the significant overhead) “Humans aren't very good at estimating in general, regardless of what measure is used.” – Joshua Kerievsky Time is money & estimates are often inaccurate
  27. 27. Meeting Time vs Productivity
  28. 28. Evolving from Story Points
  29. 29. How To Flashback #2: Req. # Type Ready Dev In Dev Ready QA In QA Ready Accept Total # of Handoffs # of Story Pts 12 Story .4 .25 .5 1 2.4 3 3 9 Story .5 1 .5 .25 1.5 4.5 5 5 14 Chore 1.5 1.5 0 1 26 Story .5 1.5 1 .5 .25 3.75 4 8 33 Bug .75 .3 1.4 1.25 3.9 3 5
  30. 30. Measuring Points
  31. 31. #NoEstimates • Pull the carpet out from story points and use total # of units (stories + chores + bugs, etc.) • Balance slices or come to terms with tradeoffs – Big tickets will balance out with little ones “Using story counting does not imply that all the stories are roughly the same size (although some teams do work that way). Stories can still vary in size, but over time the bigger and smaller stories will cancel each other out, hence a simple count ends up the same.” – Martin Fowler
  32. 32. Benefits of Unit-based Planning • Standardize expectations & remove opportunity for inflation • Save engineering time • Use ongoing data to plan more accurately and with less overhead
  33. 33. Scott Aucoin @HawkingsMentor

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