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.

Andrew Mitchell: Lessons in Change Management from Story Points to Flow Metrics in a Scrum Team

In this episode, Andrew discusses his change process of transitioning from traditional story point refinement to flow-based metrics and #NoEstimates. He faced resistance at the team and organizational levels. Andrew conducted an experiment using two years’ worth of data, showing that story points were not superior to throughput. He presented the results to leadership and the teams, emphasizing the importance of holistic metrics and their impact on predictability and team dynamics. Andrew introduced t-shirt sizing for simpler estimation conversations and highlighted that counting stories was more predictive than relying solely on story points. The episode emphasizes lessons in change management, including metric selection and fostering collaboration and predictability.

Want to Improve Your Change Management Results? Discover the Lean Change Management Approach Today!

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

About Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn

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