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

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.

BONUS: Mastering the Art of Forecasting, Prioritization Paradigms and Flow Metrics with Troy Lightfoot

Agile Planning Insights From The Gambler’s Ruin Thought Experiment

Troy, in this Agile Uprising podcast episode, delves into his intriguing journey in the realm of forecasting and estimation for software development. Inspired by that episode, we discuss the concept of Gambler’s Ruin, a mathematical problem turned into a game. Troy shares the main insights from Gambler’s Ruin and mentions Prateek Singh of ProKanban.org who has used this concept to demonstrate that even a slight skill advantage can lead to success when focusing product development on what Troy calls “Small Bets”

Small bets and impact on prioritization

Continue reading BONUS: Mastering the Art of Forecasting, Prioritization Paradigms and Flow Metrics with Troy Lightfoot

Daniel Westermayr: Trusting Your Agile Team, The Foundation of Great Product Ownership

The Great Product Owner: Trusting Your Team, The Foundation of Great Product Ownership

In this segment, Daniel discusses the importance of the “leap of faith” that great POs take by letting go of control and trusting their team to deliver. By believing in their team, great POs are able to motivate and focus their team’s efforts. Daniel also mentions the NoEstimates movement and the idea that a forecast is a range rather than a single number. Great POs do not second guess their team or the data, and are willing to accept the team’s delivery even if they don’t fully understand it.

The Bad Product Owner: How to Help Your Product Owner Succeed by Saying “No” When Necessary

In this segment, Daniel discusses the tendency Product Owners have to say “yes” to everything in order to appease or please others, even if it means not properly prioritizing tasks. Daniel emphasizes the importance of understanding the PO’s perspective and using forecasting to help the PO say “no” when necessary. He also highlights the crucial role of Scrum Masters in helping the PO prioritize and say “no.” The ability for organizations to hear and accept “no” is also a key factor in mitigating this anti-pattern. Daniel encourages POs to say “no” when necessary and reassures them that it is possible to change their mind later.

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 Daniel Westermayr

Daniel is a Kanban Trainer with a knack for all things Lean and Theory of Constraints. He wants to help teams achieve and measure their continuous improvements.

You can link with Daniel Westermayr on LinkedIn.

Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Checklist
Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
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
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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