Process

Where’s Wally’s Estimate?

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This is a balancing post to follow on from work I have done in several teams on estimates. Firstly, I’d like to confirm that in some teams, I have eliminated estimates; and in others I have improved the discipline of estimates. Both are valid approaches in different situations. What I never do is leave dysfunctional […]

Process

An Inverted View of Human Capacity

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Human capacity is hard to understand, so we create metaphors to simplify things. When people talk about capacity, thought-bubbles emerge from the heads of some managers, revealing an interesting problem. They view capacity as a bucket into which you pour liquid-work until it is full. This metaphor for capacity leads to bad outcomes. Work isn’t […]

Process

How Much Documentation: Revisiting Royce

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Back in 1970, Winston Royce made a suggestion for the amount of documentation needed for software development efforts. His influence fifty years later is unquestionable. But there is a problem with numbers (and how time affects them) that I think is missed by many people. Let’s look at the original quote. In order to produce […]

Process

The Cost of Juggling

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On the 2nd of September 2017, in Middletown USA, Patrick Ponce achieved the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube by twisting that damn thing into the correct position in 4.69 seconds. He got a certificate for it from Guinness World Records Limited. Rafael Solano commented on this saying: This guy is a great inspiration […]

Process

Boards Queues Truth

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At the Post Office in the UK, you used to enter the building and scan the room to perform an analysis of the queues. There were a number of open windows housing counter staff, and a queue for each one. A rookie would look for the shortest queue and join the end of it, but […]

Process

Faster Faster Faster

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I was listening to someone talking about being agile and lean in software development. The conversation was very interesting, but there was an underlying theme of urgency and efficiency that I found troubling. There is nothing wrong with delivering quickly, but we should never forget that “you can only go fast if you go right” […]

Process

Don’t Worry About The Cargo Cult

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One of the most famous tales in Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman must be the story of the Cargo Cult. The story concerns a group of people who, due to a war, had an airbase planted nearby. They saw all of the airplanes arriving with lots of amazing stuff on board, so when the airbase […]

Process

The Mythical Man Month – Over-Watering

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Just 16 pages into Fred Brooks’ essential reading, The Mythical Man Month, Fred gets down to business to explain that: Cost does indeed vary as the product of the number of men and the number of months. Progress does not. The classical way of thinking is that you can exchange one for the other… if […]

Process

Decision Making Classifications

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The pyramid of good organisational decision making is quite well known these days, as is the inverted-pyramid of command and control organisations. However, it is an interesting exploration to attempt to categorise the rough stages that you will find along the scale from “inverted” to “righted”. Some organisations don’t make it all the way. Decision […]

Process

Distractions, Context Switching, and Disjointed Tools

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ZenHub have quoted me in an article posted on developer productivity. You can read about distractions, context switching, and disjointed tools on the ZenHub article Become a Productive, Distraction-Free Developer. If you are having major problems getting some focus time, you could try some of these ideas that I have used in various teams (different […]