Mher Nalbandyan: Reducing estimation arguments, and focusing on better refinement for Scrum teams

When Mher joined the team, he noticed that the team was going through the refinement meetings in a way that made the estimation the core aspect of the meeting. It took too long, and led to some team members to just sit there without participating. In this episode, we explore how to get over this estimation-centric refinement meeting anti-pattern!

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter.

BONUS: The psychology of communicating data with Dan Vacanti

Dan joins Vasco to talk about how we can communicate data when working with stakeholders and the team. He’s joined the podcast previously to talk about #NoEstimates with Vasco and Marcus Hammarberg. You can listen to that episode here

We start the conversation by discussing some of the most common anti-patterns we fall into when communicating data to stakeholders and the team. The first anti-pattern Dan mentions is “assuming that people understand the data you present to them”. 

We discuss why that is often a problem, and the role of rationality when discussing and deciding on what interventions are warranted based on the data that is presented. 

In this segment, we also discuss that the role of data, and presenting data, is to assess what actions might be necessary to correct something, or improve the process we work with. 

The emotions behind our reactions to the data being presented

Continue reading BONUS: The psychology of communicating data with Dan Vacanti

BONUS: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg

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 BONUS: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg

BONUS: Enabling accountability with NoEstimates in government, with Craeg Strong

In this episode, we explore the use of NoEstimates approaches in a regulated and governmental environment. 

When Craeg and his team was called in to the Social Security administration, they were asked to help the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) assess the use of software development methods in an environment where the teams were adopting Agile methodologies, but the overall governance still followed the old school, linear (aka waterfall) methodologies. 

When the OIG is involved, it usually means that the organization being audited needs to prove that they are taking good care of public money invested in their processes. Therefore the challenge was to ensure that the teams were both following the Agile practices they said they had adopted, as well as taking the necessary actions to ensure proper use of public funds. 

Using NoEstimates to increase accountability

Continue reading BONUS: Enabling accountability with NoEstimates in government, with Craeg Strong

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: The Joy of Agility, looking at Business Agility with Joshua Kerievsky

As Joshua started to research his book, he discovered many stories of people applying the principles and ideas behind agility to their lives, and their businesses. The Joy Of Agility is a book that collects those stories and explains what agility is really about. And it’s not about Scrum, or any other process framework. 

Joshua starts by telling us a story of a young Richard Branson who, having been left stranded on an airport, came up with an idea to get to his destination while helping other fellow passengers who had also been left stranded. This is a story of a person being resourceful in the face of adversity. Being resourceful is one of those aspects of agility that we often don’t discuss, but is – as Joshua puts it – at the core of Agility.

The art of perfecting your act

Continue reading SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: The Joy of Agility, looking at Business Agility with Joshua Kerievsky

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