New Agile Planning Video


Just released a new Agile In a Nutshell Planning video. You can see it and the other Agile In a Nutshell videos (like user stories and estimation) here.

Here are some slides from the deck.

Agile Planning

agile planning

agile planning master story list, velocity, iterations

agile planning

what kills most software projects

agile planning step 1

agile planning step 2

agile planning step 3

agile planning step 4

velocity will vary

agile planning pick some dates

deliver by date

deliver by feature set


Estimation War Story – The Double Whammy


Everyone loves a project that comes in ahead of schedule and under budget. But if you consistently too under budget, people will accuse you of sandbagging your estimates and accuse you of being a little too cautious.

This caught me once. We sized a project using the estimates as a range technique, and convinced management to use the upper numbers.


We then estimated our team velocity and again, used a conservative number around how fast we thought we could go.


Turns out we the project was simpler than we thought, and we ended up going faster than we thought we could go, and came in way ahead of where we thought we were going to be. Great news!

Now, I would way rather be on this side of a project (ahead of schedule and under budget) than the other. But when I look back and wondered why our numbers were so big I realized were conservative in our estimates twice:

  • Once for the estimates.
  • Once for the team velocity.

It’s not the end of the world. This was a really scary project, and our inception deck highlighted a lot of unknowns and first times for the company. There was also some fear and pressure to get things right. But I didn’t quite appreciate at the time that we were sizing conservatively twice here.

I don’t regret sizing it this way. Hindsight is always 20/20.

The more interesting question is now that we are aware of it, what will we do next time.

Happy planning!

New Agile Estimation Video

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I just released a new video called Estimation – The Fine Art of Guessing


It’s target at people who need to build Agile plans, and are wondering how Agile estimation works.

This is part of a new Agile video series I am starting targeted at people who are brand new to Agile (i.e. your boss, your co-workers, your mom/dad, or anyone you just want to know and understand how you work).

If you have any suggestions on topics, things you would like to see, or how to make these better I would love to here them.

You can reach me here.

Hope you enjoy this latest video. Here are some of the slides from the slidedeck.

Agile Estimation

agile estimates are guesses

agile estimation - is this project even possible

agile estimation - one number for the estimate

agile estimation - a little effort goes a long way

agile estimation relative sizing

agile estimation - point based

agile estimation - develop baseline

agile estimation - slot stories in

agile estimation - planning poker

agile estimation - planning poker example

agile planning estimation

agile planning

PragPub Nov 2010 is out

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This months edition of the Pragmatic Programmer Magazine is now out.

Inside you will find exciting articles on the importance of production readiness, tips for aspiring authors, and a remind that more is less when it comes to estimation.

This is a great edition with lots of tips and tricks for software practitioners like yourself so check out this months edition and keep that sword sharp.

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