Agile Estimating and Planning 2018 – FREE 3-Part Mini-Series – PART 1
Welcome to Part 1 of this FREE Mini-Series on Agile Estimation and Planning.
Watch out for Part 2 on Friday!
if you’re watching this video I’m going to assume that you’re a fan of Agile
But are you a fan of all of it?
Whenever I survey my audience,
Agile Estimating and Planning always comes up as a major source of pain
Is lack of predictability the price we pay for “doing agile”?
Is “We’ll get there when we get there”
the very best that we can do?
Hi my name is Gary Straughan
Founder of Development That Pays
With 13,000 subscribers and more than a million views
it’s one of the biggest channels on YouTube – in the agile space
What you’re watching now is the first of a three-part mini-series
on Agile Estimating and Planning
Obviously that’s a huge subject, so we’re going to
start by looking at estimating estimating individual features
– the basic building blocks
So how can we improve our estimates?
There are three keys to better estimates.
The first key is …
Actually, it’s some quite a nice day
Should we walk to the river?
It’s only five minutes away. Let’s go!
This is the River Thames
(It’s the one that flows through London)
Ah, that’s a slightly arkward:
it actually took more than seven minutes
for me to walk here – which is quite a lot
longer than my initial estimate of five minutes
Which is a shocker because I must have walked this route a thousand times
We humans have a horrible tendency to underestimate
It’s a well understood and much researched phenomenon
It’s known as the Planning Fallacy
it’s such a strong tendency that we “tend” to underestimate things
– even if we’ve done them many times before
Which brings us to our first key to better estimates
KEY 1 – Estimate as a Group
While we’re here, let’s give that a go
How long do you think it would take to get to that bridge
I estimate four minutes
unfortunately I can’t ask you for an estimate
but I’ve taken my own advice and obtained estimates from:
my neighbour Steve, and my youngest son Charlie
Steve estimated one minute. Wow.
And Charlie he reckons he can get there in 30 seconds
Hmm. That’s quite a range: 30 seconds to four minutes (= 240 seconds)
That’s a difference of opinion of almost an order of magnitude
What’s going on in these people’s heads?
Well, I can tell you what was going on in my head
I was imagining walking to that there bridge
My neighbour Steve is a semi-pro athlete –
he was imagining running to the bridge
My youngest son is not known for his running abilities
but when he’s on his bike he’s pretty hard to catch
What does this tell us?
Counterintuitive as it may sound, estimating in TIME directly
is usually a bad idea
Time, you see, is a slippery character: it’s highly subjective
As we’ve just seen, we’ll do better much better
by choosing a more objective measure
In the case of the bridge, the obvious choice is distance
Let’s give that a go
As luck would have it I also thought to ask
Steve and my youngest son for their estimates
The three estimates are: 130m, 140m and 160m
For those of you on the Imperial system, that’s 430′, 460′ and 520′
This time the estimates are much closer together
That’s largely because this time – unlike the first time –
all three people are estimating the same thing:
the distance to the bridge
The objective measure
We have our second key to better estimates:
KEY 2: Use Objective Measures
All we need now is the equivalent of distance
that we can use in software development
Something that’s objective – just like distanc
Lines of code, perhaps?
Or commits to a source control repository?
Well, both of those are objective measures
but unfortunately they’re a little too easy to manipulate
Turns out that a better choice is “effort” –
the effort required to build, test and release
the feature or story
Wrapped up in that measure of effort is:
– the amount of work to do
– the complexity of the work
– and any risk or uncertainty in doing the work
The most commonly-used unit of measure for effort is the Story Point
This thing the Story Point: it’s not an absolute measure like feet in inches or metres
There’s nowhere we can go to look up the size of a Story Point
But it turns out that’s not as big a problem as it might seem
We’ll go into detail about exactly why that’s the case
in Part 2 of this Miniseries – which will be ready for your viewing pleasure
on Friday. That’s Friday the 18th of May.
Keep your eyes peeled for that one
In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions
please let me know in the comments below
I look forward to seeing you on Friday
Cheers for now