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Humble Planning
Humble Planning
Product Management Expert and Author
Product Management Expert and Author
Maarten Dalmijn
Maarten Dalmijn
How To Make Your
Plans Suck Less
What Can We Learn From These Undisputed Masters?
Recipe For Success?
How Many
Oscars?
23
Oscars
23 Oscars
No Recipe for Success
“Early on, all of our movies suck....
our job is to make them from suck
to not-suck”.
Ed Catmull, CEO Pixar, Creativity,
Inc.
“Early on, all of our movies suck....
our job is to make them from suck
to not-suck”.
Ed Catmull, CEO Pixar, Creativity,
Inc.
Story board review: everybody
hated Woody.
Development of the movie was
halted and a full script rewrite was
necessary.
Story board review: everybody
hated Woody.
Development of the movie was
halted and a full script rewrite was
necessary.
Toy Story Initially Sucked
Up Initially Sucked
First version: castle floating in the
sky with a king with two sons who
who hated each other.
Unable to make the story work.
First version: castle floating in the
sky with a king with two sons who
who hated each other.
Unable to make the story work.
Goldeneye 64 Delayed
Game release delayed by 6 months.
Multiplayer added in final month
without knowledge of management.
Game release delayed by 6 months.
Multiplayer added in final month
without knowledge of management.
Half-Life Delayed Multiple Times
Game delayed not once, twice, but
an astounding three times.
One of the greatest games of all
time.
Game delayed not once, twice, but
an astounding three times.
One of the greatest games of all
time.
Valve Time: It’s Done When It’s Done
Game Delays Are Common
“Every game is delayed at least
once.”
Jason Schreier, Blood Sweat, And
Pixels
“Every game is delayed at least
once.”
Jason Schreier, Blood Sweat, And
Pixels
My Personal Experience
I’ve been involved in the rebuild of 7
products.
How many were delivered on time?
I’ve been involved in the rebuild of 7
products.
How many were delivered on time?
What Can We Learn From This?
1.Our initial plans often suck.
2. Even when everything goes
according to the initial plan, the
result might still suck.
3. Unless you have a good
feedback mechanism, the result
will suck.
1.Our initial plans often suck.
2. Even when everything goes
according to the initial plan, the
result might still suck.
3. Unless you have a good
feedback mechanism, the result
will suck.
Planning Cycle of Madness
We fail to meet
our plans,
roadmaps and
timelines.
More meetings,
planning,
analysis, design
and up-front
coordination.
Our plans act as
an anchor that
stifles our ability
to collaborate
and adapt.
Breaking the Cycle: Understanding Friction
"Everything in war is very simple, but the
simplest thing is difficult. Friction, as we
choose to call it, is the force that
makes the apparently easy so difficult.
Friction distinguishes real war from war
on paper."
- General Carl von Clausewitz
"Everything in war is very simple, but the
simplest thing is difficult. Friction, as we
choose to call it, is the force that
makes the apparently easy so difficult.
Friction distinguishes real war from war
on paper."
- General Carl von Clausewitz
Clear - No Friction
Clear
Obvious for anyone no
matter their expertise
DUH!
No Fog of Beforehand
No Fog of Speculation
Plans, and actions produce
the desired results
No Fog of Beforehand
No Fog of Speculation
Plans, and actions produce
the desired results
Walk the Stairs
Follow the steps and life will be great
Walk the Stairs
Follow the steps and life will be great
Complicated - Limited Friction
Without Expertise:
Fog of Beforehand
Fog of Speculation
Plans, and actions don’t
produce the desired results
Without Expertise:
Fog of Beforehand
Fog of Speculation
Plans, and actions don’t
produce the desired results
Making Espresso
Experts know the steps you have to follow
Making Espresso
Experts know the steps you have to follow
Complicated
DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT.
I GOT THIS!
Few surprises for
experts
Complex - Strong Friction
With Expertise:
Fog of Beforehand
Fog of Speculation
Plans and actions usually
don’t produce the desired
results
With Expertise:
Fog of Beforehand
Fog of Speculation
Plans and actions usually
don’t produce the desired
results
Making the Jaws Movie
Every step you take helps shapes the way.
Expertise still matters but isn’t enough.
Making the Jaws Movie
Every step you take helps shapes the way.
Expertise still matters but isn’t enough.
Complex
HUH?
AHH!
RIGHT.
Frequent surprises no
matter your expertise
Clear
Obvious for anyone no
matter their expertise
DUH!
Complicated
DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT.
I GOT THIS!
Few surprises for
experts
Complex
HUH?
AHH!
RIGHT.
Frequent surprises no
matter your expertise
Chaos
Constant state of
surprise
WTF
WTF WTF
WTF
WTF
No Friction Limited Friction Strong Friction Overbearing Friction
More friction, more surprises. Lower predictability and ability to make strong plans.
More friction, more surprises. Lower predictability and ability to make strong plans.
How Does Friction Impact Plans, Actions and Results?
Clear
Obvious for anyone no
matter their expertise
DUH!
Complicated
DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT.
I GOT THIS!
Few surprises for
experts
Complex
HUH?
AHH!
RIGHT.
Frequent surprises no
matter your expertise
Chaos
Constant state of
surprise
WTF
WTF WTF
WTF
WTF
Plan-Driven (goal implicit) Goal-Driven (goal explicit)
How Does Friction Impact Plans, Actions and Results?
Clear
Obvious for anyone no
matter their expertise
DUH!
Complicated
DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT.
I GOT THIS!
Few surprises for
experts
Complex
HUH?
AHH!
RIGHT.
Frequent surprises no
matter your expertise
Chaos
Constant state of
surprise
WTF
WTF WTF
WTF
WTF
Plan-Driven (goal implicit) Goal-Driven (goal explicit)
"In the plan we trust."
"In the results we
trust."
It's Complex
What We Know
What We
Don't Know
What We Know
What We
Don't Know
Expect To Be Surprised Often
It's Complex
What We Know
Speculation and noise: false
assumptions to make up for things we
can't know before doing the work
What We
Don't Know
Too Much Planning
Disconnects our plans
from reality and anchors
them in our imagination
It's Complex
Reduces
What We Know
What We
Don't Know
Humble Planning
Reduces
Visualized Another Way
Your Plans Rock!
Your Plans Suck
Your Plans Suck Even
More
LOW
COMPLEX
COMPLICATED
HIGH
TYPE
OF
WORK
TIME SPENT PREDICTING, PLANNING AND ANALYZING BEFORE
STARTING
Your Plans Suck
Maarten Dalmijn
mdalmijn.com
Easy to Take Wrong Approach
How many of these three
timelines did I hit?
How many of these three
timelines did I hit?
Overconfident Planning in Action
Only timeline
I hit
How Do We Fix This?
Humble Planning
Every step we take helps
shape the way.
Plan more, later, when
you know more.
Humble Planning
Every step we take helps
shape the way.
Plan more, later, when
you know more.
Lead with Context
Stay anchored in the
results by starting with
intent:
what are we trying to
achieve
1
1.
.
why does it matter?
2
2.
.
Lead with Context
Stay anchored in the
results by starting with
intent:
what are we trying to
achieve
1.
why does it matter?
2.
Example: D-Day
Example from D-Day (Operation Overlord):
To secure key bridges, road junctions and other locations
in Normandy that would allow the ground invasion forces
to advance inland.
WHAT WHY
Commander's Intent
are we trying to achieve? does it matter?
Sprint Goals Should Provide Intent
WHAT
Commander's Intent
are we trying to achieve? does it matter?
Sprint Goals must provide
WHY
How To Create a Strong Sprint Goal: FOCUS Acronym
Fun
Outcome-oriented
Collaborative
Ultimate
Singular
Like INVEST for
User Stories
If You Understand Friction, You Don’t Need the Agile Manifesto
Each of these four lines
covers ineffective
responses for dealing
with friction and the
resulting surprises.
Each of these four lines
covers ineffective
responses for dealing
with friction and the
resulting surprises.
Agile Is Like Playing Jazz
"Improvisation in jazz is like a tightrope
walk in a swirling wind.
You navigate the uncertainty with skill,
responding to the changing conditions,
finding equilibrium in the unexpected, and
creating a breathtaking performance that
defies gravity."
- Gary Burton
"Improvisation in jazz is like a tightrope
walk in a swirling wind.
You navigate the uncertainty with skill,
responding to the changing conditions,
finding equilibrium in the unexpected, and
creating a breathtaking performance that
defies gravity."
- Gary Burton
Move Your Scrum to the Background ASAP
“Who should the Scrum
Master report to?”
“Who should the Scrum
Master report to?”
“How do you handle
dependences in Scrum?”
“How do you handle
dependences in Scrum?”
“How do estimation
in Scrum?”
“How do estimation
in Scrum?”
Scrum is purposefully
incomplete.
At best it can be perfectly
incomplete.
Stop sweating Scrum, start
sweating the results you’re
achieving.
Scrum is purposefully
incomplete.
At best it can be perfectly
incomplete.
Stop sweating Scrum, start
sweating the results you’re
achieving.
Fix Scaling Issues with a Scaling Framework
After introducing a scaling framework you usually
have three problems:
#1. You didn’t fix your original issues.
#2. You introduced extra complexity, which makes it
harder to troubleshoot the original issues.
#3. Your scaling framework introduces new problems
you didn’t have before.
After introducing a scaling framework you usually
have three problems:
#1. You didn’t fix your original issues.
#2. You introduced extra complexity, which makes it
harder to troubleshoot the original issues.
#3. Your scaling framework introduces new problems
you didn’t have before.
Why Is Humble Planning Important When Scaling?
“A complex system that works is invariably found to
have evolved from a simple system that worked.
A complex system designed from scratch never
works and cannot be patched up to make it work.
You have to start over with a working simple
system.”
Gall’s Law by complex system theorist
John Gall
“A complex system that works is invariably found to
have evolved from a simple system that worked.
A complex system designed from scratch never
works and cannot be patched up to make it work.
You have to start over with a working simple
system.”
Gall’s Law by complex system theorist
John Gall
Focus On Your Organizational Dysfunctions
Humble Scaling
Scale as you solve problems, don’t
scale to solve problems.
Humble Plans + Dysfunction Mapping
+ Patterns
Humble Scaling
Scale as you solve problems, don’t
scale to solve problems.
Humble Plans + Dysfunction Mapping
+ Patterns
The more we try to prevent
sucking at predicting, the more we
will guarantee to suck at adapting.
If people ask for precise timelines
and budgets, make shit up.
Don’t introduce big bang scaling
frameworks, gradually fix your
problems.
The more we try to prevent
sucking at predicting, the more we
will guarantee to suck at adapting.
If people ask for precise timelines
and budgets, make shit up.
Don’t introduce big bang scaling
frameworks, gradually fix your
problems.
If You Remember One Thing...

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How To Make Your Plans Suck Less — Maarten Dalmijn at the 57th Hands-on Agile Meetup

  • 1. Humble Planning Humble Planning Product Management Expert and Author Product Management Expert and Author Maarten Dalmijn Maarten Dalmijn How To Make Your Plans Suck Less
  • 2. What Can We Learn From These Undisputed Masters?
  • 3. Recipe For Success? How Many Oscars?
  • 5. No Recipe for Success “Early on, all of our movies suck.... our job is to make them from suck to not-suck”. Ed Catmull, CEO Pixar, Creativity, Inc. “Early on, all of our movies suck.... our job is to make them from suck to not-suck”. Ed Catmull, CEO Pixar, Creativity, Inc.
  • 6. Story board review: everybody hated Woody. Development of the movie was halted and a full script rewrite was necessary. Story board review: everybody hated Woody. Development of the movie was halted and a full script rewrite was necessary. Toy Story Initially Sucked
  • 7. Up Initially Sucked First version: castle floating in the sky with a king with two sons who who hated each other. Unable to make the story work. First version: castle floating in the sky with a king with two sons who who hated each other. Unable to make the story work.
  • 8. Goldeneye 64 Delayed Game release delayed by 6 months. Multiplayer added in final month without knowledge of management. Game release delayed by 6 months. Multiplayer added in final month without knowledge of management.
  • 9. Half-Life Delayed Multiple Times Game delayed not once, twice, but an astounding three times. One of the greatest games of all time. Game delayed not once, twice, but an astounding three times. One of the greatest games of all time.
  • 10. Valve Time: It’s Done When It’s Done
  • 11. Game Delays Are Common “Every game is delayed at least once.” Jason Schreier, Blood Sweat, And Pixels “Every game is delayed at least once.” Jason Schreier, Blood Sweat, And Pixels
  • 12. My Personal Experience I’ve been involved in the rebuild of 7 products. How many were delivered on time? I’ve been involved in the rebuild of 7 products. How many were delivered on time?
  • 13. What Can We Learn From This? 1.Our initial plans often suck. 2. Even when everything goes according to the initial plan, the result might still suck. 3. Unless you have a good feedback mechanism, the result will suck. 1.Our initial plans often suck. 2. Even when everything goes according to the initial plan, the result might still suck. 3. Unless you have a good feedback mechanism, the result will suck.
  • 14. Planning Cycle of Madness We fail to meet our plans, roadmaps and timelines. More meetings, planning, analysis, design and up-front coordination. Our plans act as an anchor that stifles our ability to collaborate and adapt.
  • 15. Breaking the Cycle: Understanding Friction "Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. Friction, as we choose to call it, is the force that makes the apparently easy so difficult. Friction distinguishes real war from war on paper." - General Carl von Clausewitz "Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. Friction, as we choose to call it, is the force that makes the apparently easy so difficult. Friction distinguishes real war from war on paper." - General Carl von Clausewitz
  • 16. Clear - No Friction Clear Obvious for anyone no matter their expertise DUH! No Fog of Beforehand No Fog of Speculation Plans, and actions produce the desired results No Fog of Beforehand No Fog of Speculation Plans, and actions produce the desired results Walk the Stairs Follow the steps and life will be great Walk the Stairs Follow the steps and life will be great
  • 17. Complicated - Limited Friction Without Expertise: Fog of Beforehand Fog of Speculation Plans, and actions don’t produce the desired results Without Expertise: Fog of Beforehand Fog of Speculation Plans, and actions don’t produce the desired results Making Espresso Experts know the steps you have to follow Making Espresso Experts know the steps you have to follow Complicated DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT. I GOT THIS! Few surprises for experts
  • 18. Complex - Strong Friction With Expertise: Fog of Beforehand Fog of Speculation Plans and actions usually don’t produce the desired results With Expertise: Fog of Beforehand Fog of Speculation Plans and actions usually don’t produce the desired results Making the Jaws Movie Every step you take helps shapes the way. Expertise still matters but isn’t enough. Making the Jaws Movie Every step you take helps shapes the way. Expertise still matters but isn’t enough. Complex HUH? AHH! RIGHT. Frequent surprises no matter your expertise
  • 19. Clear Obvious for anyone no matter their expertise DUH! Complicated DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT. I GOT THIS! Few surprises for experts Complex HUH? AHH! RIGHT. Frequent surprises no matter your expertise Chaos Constant state of surprise WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF No Friction Limited Friction Strong Friction Overbearing Friction More friction, more surprises. Lower predictability and ability to make strong plans. More friction, more surprises. Lower predictability and ability to make strong plans.
  • 20. How Does Friction Impact Plans, Actions and Results? Clear Obvious for anyone no matter their expertise DUH! Complicated DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT. I GOT THIS! Few surprises for experts Complex HUH? AHH! RIGHT. Frequent surprises no matter your expertise Chaos Constant state of surprise WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF Plan-Driven (goal implicit) Goal-Driven (goal explicit)
  • 21. How Does Friction Impact Plans, Actions and Results? Clear Obvious for anyone no matter their expertise DUH! Complicated DON'T WORRY, I'M AN EXPERT. I GOT THIS! Few surprises for experts Complex HUH? AHH! RIGHT. Frequent surprises no matter your expertise Chaos Constant state of surprise WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF Plan-Driven (goal implicit) Goal-Driven (goal explicit) "In the plan we trust." "In the results we trust."
  • 22. It's Complex What We Know What We Don't Know What We Know What We Don't Know Expect To Be Surprised Often
  • 23. It's Complex What We Know Speculation and noise: false assumptions to make up for things we can't know before doing the work What We Don't Know Too Much Planning Disconnects our plans from reality and anchors them in our imagination
  • 24. It's Complex Reduces What We Know What We Don't Know Humble Planning Reduces
  • 25. Visualized Another Way Your Plans Rock! Your Plans Suck Your Plans Suck Even More LOW COMPLEX COMPLICATED HIGH TYPE OF WORK TIME SPENT PREDICTING, PLANNING AND ANALYZING BEFORE STARTING Your Plans Suck Maarten Dalmijn mdalmijn.com
  • 26. Easy to Take Wrong Approach How many of these three timelines did I hit? How many of these three timelines did I hit?
  • 27. Overconfident Planning in Action Only timeline I hit
  • 28. How Do We Fix This? Humble Planning Every step we take helps shape the way. Plan more, later, when you know more. Humble Planning Every step we take helps shape the way. Plan more, later, when you know more. Lead with Context Stay anchored in the results by starting with intent: what are we trying to achieve 1 1. . why does it matter? 2 2. . Lead with Context Stay anchored in the results by starting with intent: what are we trying to achieve 1. why does it matter? 2.
  • 29. Example: D-Day Example from D-Day (Operation Overlord): To secure key bridges, road junctions and other locations in Normandy that would allow the ground invasion forces to advance inland. WHAT WHY Commander's Intent are we trying to achieve? does it matter?
  • 30. Sprint Goals Should Provide Intent WHAT Commander's Intent are we trying to achieve? does it matter? Sprint Goals must provide WHY
  • 31. How To Create a Strong Sprint Goal: FOCUS Acronym Fun Outcome-oriented Collaborative Ultimate Singular Like INVEST for User Stories
  • 32. If You Understand Friction, You Don’t Need the Agile Manifesto Each of these four lines covers ineffective responses for dealing with friction and the resulting surprises. Each of these four lines covers ineffective responses for dealing with friction and the resulting surprises.
  • 33. Agile Is Like Playing Jazz "Improvisation in jazz is like a tightrope walk in a swirling wind. You navigate the uncertainty with skill, responding to the changing conditions, finding equilibrium in the unexpected, and creating a breathtaking performance that defies gravity." - Gary Burton "Improvisation in jazz is like a tightrope walk in a swirling wind. You navigate the uncertainty with skill, responding to the changing conditions, finding equilibrium in the unexpected, and creating a breathtaking performance that defies gravity." - Gary Burton
  • 34. Move Your Scrum to the Background ASAP “Who should the Scrum Master report to?” “Who should the Scrum Master report to?” “How do you handle dependences in Scrum?” “How do you handle dependences in Scrum?” “How do estimation in Scrum?” “How do estimation in Scrum?” Scrum is purposefully incomplete. At best it can be perfectly incomplete. Stop sweating Scrum, start sweating the results you’re achieving. Scrum is purposefully incomplete. At best it can be perfectly incomplete. Stop sweating Scrum, start sweating the results you’re achieving.
  • 35. Fix Scaling Issues with a Scaling Framework After introducing a scaling framework you usually have three problems: #1. You didn’t fix your original issues. #2. You introduced extra complexity, which makes it harder to troubleshoot the original issues. #3. Your scaling framework introduces new problems you didn’t have before. After introducing a scaling framework you usually have three problems: #1. You didn’t fix your original issues. #2. You introduced extra complexity, which makes it harder to troubleshoot the original issues. #3. Your scaling framework introduces new problems you didn’t have before.
  • 36. Why Is Humble Planning Important When Scaling? “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” Gall’s Law by complex system theorist John Gall “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” Gall’s Law by complex system theorist John Gall
  • 37. Focus On Your Organizational Dysfunctions Humble Scaling Scale as you solve problems, don’t scale to solve problems. Humble Plans + Dysfunction Mapping + Patterns Humble Scaling Scale as you solve problems, don’t scale to solve problems. Humble Plans + Dysfunction Mapping + Patterns
  • 38. The more we try to prevent sucking at predicting, the more we will guarantee to suck at adapting. If people ask for precise timelines and budgets, make shit up. Don’t introduce big bang scaling frameworks, gradually fix your problems. The more we try to prevent sucking at predicting, the more we will guarantee to suck at adapting. If people ask for precise timelines and budgets, make shit up. Don’t introduce big bang scaling frameworks, gradually fix your problems. If You Remember One Thing...