Agile 2019 – Day 3

Started the day with a great keynote from Lynne Cazaly, the author if Ish. She spoke, in a wonderful Australian accent, about the scourge of perfectionism. She referenced a few books. “The Lie that Perfectionists tell themselves.”

The perfectionist doesn’t get more recognition!

The problem with going for perfect. – Overthinking overworking reworking, sleeplessness, pain anxiety, depression. Increase levels of trust, deepen it.

Often you can’t launch because you think it needs to be perfect. For me, this is considered “ready”. I liked her notion of Satisficing – going for good enough. She was really funny. “Everyone Ished today. Who’s wearing jeans from yesterday?” It was very entertaining. The point is when to Ish and when not to Ish. Mentioned a few effects – Pratfall effect – showing mistakes and the perception is better. Spotlight effect – the spotlight effect is the phenomenon in which people tend to believe they are being noticed more than they really are. Finally Wabi-Sabi effect, which is the broken ceramiic made more valuable.

The irony of expertise, e.g. the collaboration expert who gets a divorce. What is ours? I have to think about that.

Good talk on Lean portfolio management by Christopher Pola (Rally) and Laureen Knudsen (Rally)

A lot of lean portfolio management at the conference this year. The presenters had a lot of practical experience. She said that projects generally become greener (more satisfactory) as time and reporting levels go on. They had a nice metaphor of using Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” theme. A lot of know when to fold up, know when to hold up, etc. 🙂 I like this question: “Do you honestly measure the success of outcomes?”. He pointed to WSJF aka Cost of Delay as a good way to make “a gamble” into what you fund in a project.

In the afternoon session, I started with Evening the Odds: The Monte Carlo Technique for Project Forecasting (Hunter Tammaro).

It was really informative, though I do wish there was a bit more theory, like the math behind monte Carlo, that was overcome by the great and bold step to actually use the spreadsheet in the session. Very practical. I have a copy of his spreadsheet now I can play with.

Planning is guessing

  • Don’t mistake math for certainty
  • Even if you’re 80% sure, you’re wrong 1 in 5 times
  • You need historical data
  • to take a few weeks to track if you need to gut estimate may get you over this hump.

Will work be completed at the same rate? – Keep the team clear of impediments and keep teams consistent

Will work items be the same size? Keep an eye on story splitting and estimation and discuss when work items are unusually large. Does the backlog we’re simulating adequately represent the project?
Build in a buffer of a nice to haves so you have features to trade out if you need to and adjust your projected backlog using historical data.

Easy to create and update, validates Agile concepts, replaces a datapoint with a conversation.

I was deciding on which session to go to and I saw a HUGE line 30 minutes before the next session. It was Jeff Sutherland’s topic on Flow metrics. This show – Flow – Why Process Efficiency is a Key Metric for High Performing Agile Teams (Jeff Sutherland, Jessica Larsen)
Definition of “Lean” – Process Efficiency > 25%. He asked if anyone in the room of 200 who knew what their process efficiency is. One person raised their hands. Amazon has 3300 scrum teams and has high process efficiency. They publish a total of 1 per minute I think he said.

So they’re saying to use this along with velocity as if the velocity was how fast the car could go, and the process eff. is the how efficient that engine is distributing power, friction, heat, etc.

Interestingly, Jeff takes that number and leverages story points, to keep people away from hours. To this, I breathed a sigh of relief. He told a great story about a hospital and how the surgeons were mistreating the cleaning lady. This is the core lesson – treat them as equals. Faster cleaning was part of the entire value stream of providing care.

He was pumping his upcoming Pattern book which sounds quite interesting (Actually I think its by JJ Sutherland) ..not out yet. The idea is that velocity

Jeff and Jessica were a great team on the stage and I found it very interesting, one of the best. I’m glad I followed the crowd on this one. I intend on trying the Process Efficiency metric when I get back 🙂 He asked for people

Shock therapy in scrum – “why isn’t the top story on the backlog not done yet?” Instead of the three questions. Interesting. Other notes – pair programming increases quality but leaves velocity untouched

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