Tips and Tricks

A comparison various sampling models to determine which produce the most accurate results.

tl;dr — If you dont want to go through the entire analysis and are just interested in the results, skip to the Models of Randomness section and then to the Summary at the end of this article

I learned about using Monte Carlo simulations to forecast how much a team can get done over a period of time from Daniel Vacanti. Dan using his Actionable Agile tool demonstrated how randomly sampling from the team’s past data can be used to run these simulations. …

I am sure all of us have seen the curve shown below. This is the curve that is causing you to work from home right now. Most of us understand what this curve is about. The curve shows how many projected cases (projected being the key term) of Coronavirus infections would be recorded since the time of person infection in the general population. The Y-axis here is the number of cases recorded daily and the X-axis is time since the first infection. The pink curve here shows what would happen if we took absolutely no precautions and let the virus…

There is a lot to be said about individual talent and probably even more about individual excellence. It is something we all strive for, we all work towards excellence in everything we do. Making the best out of our talents and doing our best on a day to day basis. Very rarely do we stop and think, is doing our best the best thing to do? What about personal, individual excellence? Where does that fall in the realm of team-based agile work cultures?

For me, all of agile boils down to the following 4 points -

  1. Work in Small Batches

I love the idea behind design sprints, but I dislike design sprints.

I love the fact that design sprints get people to iterate with the customer.

I love that people try to understand that they should be figuring out how to best satisfy the customer’s needs.

I hate the fact that most teams do it without the customer(s) being present.

I hate that, from a lean perspective, it is almost complete waste.

There is no value produced (I should say no value added to the product) at the end of whatever time period has been spent coming up with the…

This post is mostly a case study on one team. This is a team that I led for a couple of years. We challenged our way of working often. We tried out changes and kept the ones that improved the rate at which we were getting things done and the quality of the work that was getting done. In early 2015, after being exposed to #NoEstimates, I decided to try the approach with the team.

As a traditional scrum team, we used to observe all the major scrum ceremonies. The major ceremonies though, morphed and changed a lot for us…

The ever insightful Klaus Leopold recently posted “Wip Limits Must Die”. In the article, Klaus makes the argument that having the word “limit” in the description “prompts many people to make an incorrect association”. The term itself might be deterring people from adopting the practice of limiting work in progress. Moreover, it might be focusing too much on the mechanics of the practice, without evoking the reason behind adopting it.

The nomenclature “WIP Limit” runs counter to some of the best marketing advice I have ever heard. When marketing or selling something, you want to appeal to the product’s product’s…

Have you heard any of these before —

“This team, oh they will work hard to meet any target, no matter how impossible it seems.”

“Folks, we are committed to this deliverable, the product team has already promised the customers, we need to somehow make it happen.”

“If we pull this off by release date, we will be hailed as heroes”

“It will be hard, but the team will figure out how to get it done in time.”

“Team, just for this release, this one time, I am going to ask you all to work a few nights and weekends…

How often do you forecast whether your project is going to finish on time or not? Once, at the beginning of the project? Every month? Every two weeks? Every day? How about every 15 minutes? For the teams I work with, we are forecasting our success probabilities every 15 minutes. Now, that might seem a bit of overkill, but we will get back to that a little later in this post. First, a real life anecdote about re-forecasting.

Through some planning and a lot of luck, work and home, for me, are in the same city. This means two things…

Imagine that we are setting up a world basketball tournament. You are given first pick to draft players for your team and you end up with the line up in the picture below -

2004 Men’s Olympic Basketball Team

This line up includes some of the all time greats — Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmello Anthony, Tim Duncan, Amar’e Stoudemire and Allen Iverson to name a few. The best of the active NBA players in 2004. How do you think this team would match up against others? This was the 2004 USA Olympic Men’s Basketball team. They ended up placing third (out of 12) in…

Conway’s Law

In 1968, Melvin Conway wrote the paper “How Do Committees Invent”. One of his observations in that paper (among numerous interesting ones) was declared Conway’s Law. Conway’s Law states — Any organization that designs a system (defined more broadly here than just information systems) will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.

Conway talks as much about the software that is produced as he does about the organizational structure producing it. Much has been written in support of micro-services architectures, using Conway’s Law as a base premise and justification. These articles focus on…

Prateek Singh

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