Estimation is at the root of most software project failures

Synopsis I believe estimation, and the way it’s regularly misused, is at the root of the majority of software project failures. In this article I will try to explain why we’re so bad at it and also why, once you’ve fallen into the trap of trying to do anything but near future estimation, no amount […]

The Estimation Fallacy

I’ve had a lot of reasons to think about estimation recently and I’ve come to a firm conclusion – it’s a complete waste of time. There are so many things you could be doing that will add value to your project – estimating adds nothing. In fact it has has the adverse effect of making […]

Lead a session – a great path to self-improvement

As you might know I’m Programme Chair for the SPA Conference. In the past I’ve also done this for XPDay and presented or run sessions at both (and others). I find it a hugely rewarding activity, particularly because it feels like I’m giving back to communities which have helped and inspired me so much in the […]

A formative experience

It may surprise some, but I’ve been at this agile lark for less than 4 years (or maybe that’s a lot?). I’ve been motivated by Jason Gorman’s recent post and case study (and some subsequent twitterings) to share some of my thoughts from working at BBC Worldwide1 at that time, a particular project I worked […]

Understanding chaos and what it means to software development

Tim Ross pointed me in the direction of a truly mind blowing documentary on the BBC iPlayer about the nature of chaos, it’s fundamental role in the universe and how it explains the behaviour of complex systems such as the way birds fly in flocks and how we evolve. If you’re in the UK I’d […]

Snapshot of my team’s current practices

It seems these days there are countless methodologies, processes and practices to choose from when developing software and, somewhat ironically, the list seems to be growing at the rate of Moore’s law. I’ve read about, discussed, been on courses and been to conferences about a lot of them and the thing I’ve consistently found most […]

Software is not like a house

“Building a house” is perhaps the most overused software analogy out there. Sure, there are many overlaps and it’s a concept that non-technical people can grasp easily when we need to explain something, but it simply doesn’t add up. I’ve ran into this analogy frequently in my current obsession with estimation (someone even used it […]

embed sprint 3: whiteboard power

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that the whiteboard is by far the most effective method of communication available. Requirements gathering with the customer in insanely fast times, meeting notes all can see and contribute to and the great thing is, they stay there for a few days where we can all see them. If […]