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Re: [XP] Motivation to Complete Stories

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  • Ron Jeffries
    ... Good question! I like it because it challenges me to explore what I m thinking, but works with me, not against me. I accept the challenge and I ll work on
    Message 1 of 161 , Apr 1, 2005
      On Friday, April 1, 2005, at 4:10:38 AM, Dale Emery wrote:

      >> With What Certainty
      >>
      >> We cannot have perfect certainty.

      > This says what certainty we can't have. What can we say about
      > what certainty we /can/ have?

      Good question! I like it because it challenges me to explore what
      I'm thinking, but works with me, not against me.

      I accept the challenge and I'll work on it as I revise the essay,
      which I hope to do over time.

      As a first cut, your question makes me realize that I don't believe
      in certainty at all. I am not certain that the sun will rise today
      (not because I question whether the earth goes around the sun, but
      because it might be cloudy all day, or because international
      terroxxxxx insurgents might bomb the hell out of Omaha and for me
      the sun might not rise.

      As I do not like to make promises that I cannot absolutely keep, my
      thoughts in the essay therefore push away from any certainty.

      At this moment I can say that I'd be comfortable saying that we can
      deliver three stories, subject only to Force Majeure, Acts of God,
      and other major calamities. I'd be very uncomfortable promising
      three stories absolutely.

      I'd be comfortable trying to set numbers around it, such as 95%
      certain we can do three, 85% four, 75% five. I'd want to base those on
      YW if I could, but in a conversation could be comfortable with gut
      feel and a general description of what assumptions I'm making.

      >> These examples are all over the map, but they're all true.
      >> They come at various times after getting the word, and they
      >> focus differently on the facts of the situation, people's
      >> feelings about the situation, and on the feelings of the
      >> customer when she receives the news. They are variously
      >> helpful. There might be a "best" one in the list, but there
      >> are at least a couple that are contenders for good ways to do
      >> things.

      > Here's another possible way to say it: "We have set out to
      > accomplish Feature Foo, and owing to the fact that Susie hit the
      > lottery and had to go to Kauai to pick up the money, we're not
      > going to accomplish it."

      > What I like about this is it's the way you said it to yourself.
      > Now, the way you say it to yourself may not always be a good way
      > to say it to the customer, but I'm starting to value this
      > heuristic: If the way I say it to myself isn't a good way to say
      > it to the customer, I'm probably not saying it well to myself yet.

      And that's my concern. Because from the story, it appears that at
      least in some scenarios, we knew for a long time that Susie was
      absent. We /feared/ that Foo wasn't going to be accomplished, but
      there was a time when we didn't know that.

      So I would be comfortable with an early warning like this:

      "We have set out to accomplish feature Foo. Susie is on that and she
      isn't in this morning. If she's out for long, Foo is in jeopardy."

      I would be more comfortable with a similar warning that offered
      alternatives, because I have been taught that offering alternatives
      is better than just raising a problem.

      Early, honest, complete, helpful ... there are probably a number of
      items that should be on our checklist for deciding how to say what's
      on our mind. I'm recommending trying to keep them all in mind to
      offer the team the best chance to deal effectively with what's
      coming up for us.

      We have a choice of what to express: I think that should be the
      truth. We have a choice of when: I think that should generally be as
      early as possible, but observe that sometimes a short delay allows
      us to have more truth. We have a choice of how to say things: I
      think we should try to make that choice wisely.

      Ron Jeffries
      www.XProgramming.com
      One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.
      -- Bill Nye (The Science Guy)
    • Ilja Preuss
      ... Good point, thanks! I suspect that, again, this isn t black or white, but that there is a balance somewhere. Need to muse about it... Regards, Ilja
      Message 161 of 161 , Apr 22, 2005
        extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com wrote:
        > Ilja,
        >
        > Sometimes it feels nice being around people who know my
        > quirks and are willing to cut me slack around them. But, I
        > learn more and grow around people who expect me to manage
        > myself and my reactions.

        Good point, thanks!

        I suspect that, again, this isn't black or white, but that there is a
        balance somewhere. Need to muse about it...

        Regards, Ilja
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