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From The Archive: Carsten Lützen, A step by step journey to #NoEstimates

In this episode, we explore the story of a team that started to question the way they did estimates. The PO would use the estimations provided by the team to make a certain number of assumptions and reports that just did not correspond to reality. In the quest to solve that problem, the team started to experiment with different approaches, and naturally evolved to a #NoEstimates approach. Carsten explains the steps the team went through as well as the insights at each step. A self-organized change story on adopting #NoEstimates!

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates book.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Carsten Lützen

Carsten is an Agile Coach at the LEGO Group. Before that a Scrum Master for different teams. He has a deep love of graphical facilitation and professional coaching. Besides his full-time job, he shares weekly tips on YouTube and LinkedIn on Agile, Facilitation, and Coaching.

You can link with Carsten Lützen on LinkedIn and connect with Carsten Lützen on Twitter.

From The Archive: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg – NoEstimates Unplugged Week

We explore a real-life project that Marcus was part of, and how the #NoEstimates methods he used helped him make predictions, even if did not estimate the work to be done.

This conversation started from an article that Marcus had posted earlier on social media. In that article Marcus explained how he had used data, as opposed to estimates to make a prediction of when the project would be finished. This approach still creates a lot of controversy on twitter, even if it has been (at the time of recording) 10+ years since the original discussion around estimates started by Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte on twitter under the tags of #NoEstimates and #Estwaste respectively.

As Marcus quickly found out in this project, the rate of progress could not have been predicted easily at the start (if at all). When he first started the project, the progress was swift, but at one point he faced a problem he could not solve for several days. This phenomenon is not new for any programmers in the audience, and is quite common. Also, one of the reasons why using methods like #NoEstimates (as explained in the #NoEstimates book, and in Marcus’ blog post), can help uncover information that estimation would not.

Dealing with surprises: the information you need to share with stakeholders

Continue reading From The Archive: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg – NoEstimates Unplugged Week

Maryse Meinen: Value Over Velocity, A Product Owner’s Journey to Value-Driven Development, NoEstimates Unplugged Week

This is one of a series of episodes where Product Owners explain how they used, and benefited from #NoEstimates in their work with teams.

To know more about #NoEstimates, sign-up to get the first 3 chapters of the book here.

Introduction to #NoEstimates

Maryse Meinen shares her journey into agile and lean methodologies, highlighting a pivotal moment at her first international conference where she attended a workshop on #NoEstimates led by Seb Rose. The workshop’s quiz on estimating the distance from Earth to the moon led her to an epiphany about the common tendency to provide estimates even when uncertain, driven by peer pressure—an insight that spurred her to experiment with the #NoEstimates approach.

A Real-World Example of Success

Maryse describes her experience with a new team tasked with developing an infrastructure solution without relying on traditional estimates. By focusing on conversations, card confirmations (the 3 C’s of User Stories), and refining story points to either 1 or 0 based on whether a story was refined, the team managed to prioritize work more effectively. The practice of making items as small as possible and focusing on delivering value in various forms proved to be beneficial.

Challenges in Implementation

The biggest challenge in implementing #NoEstimates was not from management or stakeholders, but rather from inexperienced scrum masters resistant to deviating from traditional estimation techniques. Maryse found success by allowing the team space to operate independently and focusing on outcomes rather than estimates.

Impact on Planning and Prioritization

Shifting the focus from estimates to value delivered led to a significant change in how Maryse’s team approached planning and prioritization. By setting sprint goals around solving real problems for real people, the team moved away from a task-centric to a value-centric approach. One of the core tenants of the #NoEstimates approach.

Measuring Progress Without Estimates

Maryse’s team measured progress by the problems they solve, framing sprint goals around these problems and communicating achievements in terms of value delivered to stakeholders, rather than in traditional estimation-driven progress metrics, like tasks completed – which would not necessarily deliver any value to end-users and customers.

Advice and Resources for #NoEstimates

Maryse encourages teams to start experimenting with #NoEstimates and emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and adaptation. She recommends engaging with the #NoEstimates community on Twitter and exploring resources by Allan Kelly and Seb Rose, as well as the NoEstimates book.

About Maryse Meinen

Maryse is an Product Owner dedicated to fostering experimentation, agility, and empathy within organizations. She builds and facilitates great teams, coaches leaders, and believes in simplicity and human-centric methodologies. With expertise in Lean/agile development and a passion for teaching, she shapes adaptive and learning-focused cultures.

You can link with Maryse Meinen on LinkedIn.

Luis Garcia: Forecast Over Estimation, How To Transform Your Approach To Project Management, NoEstimates Unplugged Week

This is one of a series of episodes where Product Owners explain how they used, and benefited from #NoEstimates in their work with teams.

To know more about #NoEstimates, sign-up to get the first 3 chapters of the book here.

Introduction to #NoEstimates

Luis Garcia, transitioning from estimation discomfort to a #NoEstimates approach as a product owner, discovered its benefits after attending a workshop by Woody Zuill. Faced with the challenges of hard commitments in government projects, he sought to shift focus from when to what and why in project discussions.

A Transformative Project Example

Implementing #NoEstimates in a kanban team, Luis emphasized work breakdown and comfortable task sizing. This method facilitated stakeholder communication, improved expectation management, and enabled precise progress measurement through metrics like cycle time and using techniques like Monte Carlo forecasting.

Overcoming Implementation Challenges

When Luis tried to introduce #NoEstimates, he originally faced skepticism, misconceptions about planning, and stakeholder resistance. In those cases, Luis advises focusing on forecasting based on available data, ensuring team stability, and managing expectations effectively. And focusing on progress transparency, instead of trying to change people’s minds.

Strategic Stakeholder Management

Successfully integrating #NoEstimates involved fostering team accountability and ownership over the refinement process, thereby enhancing stakeholder dialogue and planning efficiency. For example, Luis shares that #NoEstimates shifted the team’s focus to identifying and preparing the most valuable tasks, leveraging data for all planning and prioritization decisions. This focus helped to keep stakeholders informed, and improved transparency.

Measuring Success and Communicating Progress

Without traditional estimates, Luis’s team adopted a probabilistic approach to measure and communicate progress, supported by insights from the book “Thinking in Bets” by Annie Duke.

When it came to adopting a different way to measure and communicate progress, practicality was key; even simple tools like Excel were effective for data management in the #NoEstimates process, emphasizing simplicity and scalability.

Advice for #NoEstimates Adopters

Luis recommends low-change experimentation with #NoEstimates to experience its benefits firsthand and stresses the importance of informative discussions over rigid planning.

Resource Recommendation

For those considering #NoEstimates, Luis suggests starting with the “NoEstimates” book and following thought leaders like Vasco Duarte, Woody Zuill, and Allen Holub on social media.

About Luis Garcia

Luis is a Program Manager at Formula.Monks, specializes in developing impactful digital products. Luis has over 10 years of experience and several Agile certifications, he adeptly applies Agile frameworks to meet client needs. His background includes a Master’s in Computer Engineering and an Executive MBA. He is also fluent in English, Spanish, and French, he values diverse work environments and continuous learning.

You can link with Luis Garcia on LinkedIn.

Drew Craig: Unravelling an Agile Team’s Struggle with Overcommitment, And The Inevitable Consequences

In this episode, Drew delves into the common pitfall of teams overloading their backlog, leading to failed sprints and destroyed team morale. The challenge lies in helping teams realize the importance of realistic commitments. Drew suggests analyzing data, considering historical averages, and aligning discussions with product goals and roadmaps. Addressing the fear of reducing commitments due to leadership pressure, he emphasizes the need to collaborate with leadership and focus on data-driven decision-making.

Featured Book Of The Week: Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman

In this episode, Drew shares pivotal books shaping his career as a Scrum Master. “Drive” by Dan Pink offers clarity with easy-to-understand insights about motivation, grounding practitioners in their roles. Drew appreciates its ability to simplify complex concepts. “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman provides insights on strengthening teams and shifting from doing to enabling. Drew’s takeaway involves pondering, “How can I be a multiplier?”

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter.

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Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
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Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
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Identify What's Holding You Back & Transform Your Challenges Into Strengths
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