Tag: estimating

TBT – Repost: Why Scrum Makes Planning and Estimating Worse, Not Better

Constraint based planning does not and cannot work in an industry without constraints. So, how do we plan without constraints? You can’t.

Planning is based on what you know prior to embarking on the journey. If I told you to pack a bag tonight because tomorrow we’re going on a trip, what would you pack? Oh, you want to know where we’re going, how long we’ll be gone, and what we’ll be doing? In other-words, you want me to provide the constraints of the trip so that you can plan accordingly?

I don’t know how to plan without constraints; and from what I’ve found so far no one does.

Making Headway – The No Time Solution

Everything is completed by performing a series of tasks. To plan, estimate, forecast, etc. we most often predict the tasks we’ll perform to get the desired outcome, then sequence them, assign resources, and guess at a duration for each. In this model – we’re predicting the future and how we’ll get there. And for anyone who’s done it—or read about it—that’s a terrific way to fail. Why we almost always achieve the desired outcome, how we get there (and how long it takes) is vastly different from what we had planned. Again, this is because we can’t know unknowns (timing), time doesn’t scale, and we can’t control time (it’s an absolute).

TBT – Re-posting: Software Estimation

My debut to the software world was about seven months ago. Prior, the projects I managed had tangible assets: prints, videos, landscapes, structures, etc. Obviously in the software world there are no longer physical structures or tangible assets. This alone has been the most difficult hurdle to deal with… not because you can’t ‘see’ the project; but because the project idea is no longer bound by constraints.

You’re Not Late—You’re Using the Wrong Metric (Yes, Time)

If there’s one metric that used more than any other, it’s time. Time is unique in that we all have a limited and finite amount. You can’t make more time, stockpile it, refund it, or spend it faster. Time is priceless.

Its usefulness as a metric is convenient because it’s constant. One hour today is the same thing as one hour tomorrow. Costs, productivity, effort, etc. are driven from time based metrics and used to forecast spans of time (months, years, decades). We use time to plan—and thus—we use time to watch and control the present; as well as, benchmark the future and past.

As a project manager, I’m always dealing with time. And as a project manager, I’ve realized that while time is a constant in the sense of measuring the void of space; it is not a human constant. Businesses are nothing more than a group of humans and thus susceptible to all things humans are susceptible to. And in lies the focus of this aside—I think we (from a business sense) have misinterpreted how to use time. Time is not the best way to bill, pay, measure, quote, plan, manage, or lead. My reasoning for time being a poor metric I’ve broken into three parts; timing, scalability, and control. What follows is then my suggestion on how we move forward.