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Re: [XP] Re: Anchoring

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  • Cory Foy
    ... I actually thought that was the point of planning poker. Everyone puts up their cards, and the highest and lowest have to explain why. Wash, rinse, repeat.
    Message 1 of 22 , Nov 29, 2007
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      Ron Jeffries wrote:
      > I could imagine making this an actual part of the ritual. Sort of a
      > "devil's advocate" role, where someone "must" argue for a much
      > longer, and another for a much shorter, estimate.

      I actually thought that was the point of planning poker. Everyone puts
      up their cards, and the highest and lowest have to explain why. Wash,
      rinse, repeat.

      I can't imagine that a team would just take the majority without discussion.

      --
      Cory Foy
      http://www.cornetdesign.com
    • Simon Jones
      Been some interesting comments on this. Just to be clear about the point I was making. Anchoring, or convergence of opinion /might/ be a problem because people
      Message 2 of 22 , Nov 30, 2007
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        Been some interesting comments on this.

        Just to be clear about the point I was making. Anchoring, or
        convergence of opinion /might/ be a problem because people
        are /unaware/ that they are doing it.

        Perhaps it would be better to widen it from just estimates to the
        wider area of design.

        The famour quote is about firemen who naturally have a lot of spare
        time spent together. Over a period of time their opinions about
        politics, life, love etc.. begin to converge. This is not the same
        as /agree/. Its not about lots of debate leading to consenus its
        about /unconciously/ taking on other peoples opinions.

        In the context of design I have a similar example. We recently spent
        a year or so working on a product management system (a product
        database with a UI).

        The UI approach we had was very much a 'spreadsheet' style. i.e.
        users drilled into product details to make changes and perform
        management.

        Over the various iterations and releases we and our customer refined
        this interface, constantly improving its design. It took a lot of
        time and effort. Product Structures are quite complex.

        Anyway, after a year a new chap joined the team (he's on this list).
        Almost immediately he observed that what we should really have was a
        more wizard style interface that mirrors the business processes that
        the users were following.

        My suspicion is that by working so closely together, without much in
        the way of 'new perspective' we had unconciously converged in our
        opinions about what the interface should be.

        We had begun to lose the ability to question our own designs because
        no-one was fundementally disagreeing with each other.

        It can't /prove/ that was what was going on, but it certianly
        something I now consider.

        Simon

        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Cory Foy <usergroup@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Ron Jeffries wrote:
        > > I could imagine making this an actual part of the ritual. Sort of
        a
        > > "devil's advocate" role, where someone "must" argue for a much
        > > longer, and another for a much shorter, estimate.
        >
        > I actually thought that was the point of planning poker. Everyone
        puts
        > up their cards, and the highest and lowest have to explain why.
        Wash,
        > rinse, repeat.
        >
        > I can't imagine that a team would just take the majority without
        discussion.
        >
        > --
        > Cory Foy
        > http://www.cornetdesign.com
        >
      • Philip Reed
        From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Simon Jones Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 5:08 AM To:
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 30, 2007
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          From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Simon Jones
          Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 5:08 AM
          To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [XP] Re: Anchoring

          > Just to be clear about the point I was making. Anchoring, or
          > convergence of opinion /might/ be a problem because people
          > are /unaware/ that they are doing it....

          > Perhaps it would be better to widen it from just estimates to the
          > wider area of design.

          > The famour quote is about firemen who naturally have a lot of spare
          > time spent together. Over a period of time their opinions about
          > politics, life, love etc.. begin to converge. This is not the same
          > as /agree/. Its not about lots of debate leading to consenus its
          > about /unconciously/ taking on other peoples opinions.


          This sort of collective blind spot is also the reason why waterfallish
          methods insist so heavily on a QA organization that's external to the
          development team. In its strongest statement, "You can't test your own
          code," although of course that's a huge overstatement.

          I was going to go into a digression about collective blind spots, borne out
          of my own XP-ignorance, because it seems to me that there's the potential
          for customer and developers working so closely to lack a certain externality
          of perspective, as in Simon's spreadsheet/wizard example. But it will
          probably be more educational just to watch where this thread heads.

          Regards,

          Philip




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          8:32 PM




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Chris Poile
          I think you re right here. The issue is that it s unconscious, and happens whether you want it to or not. I still have a few questions though: 1) How big of a
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 30, 2007
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            I think you're right here. The issue is that it's unconscious, and
            happens whether you want it to or not.

            I still have a few questions though:

            1) How big of a deal is it, in real life situations? So we
            unintentionally converge, whether we want to or not, on things like
            estimations and opinions about the direction of the software. So
            what? Does it make that big a deal?

            2) Can we combat it? Would Ron's devil's advocate work? Maybe a
            little, but it certainly wouldn't solve it. If the DA is part of the
            group, then he's /already/ going to be conforming, whether he thinks
            he is or not.

            I can think of one reason why this would be a big deal: We know how
            group think is used as an excuse for a few recent government
            decisions... But who's agile project has that kind of result attached
            to it?

            Chris.
            http://umrg.uwaterloo.ca/cpoile/

            Simon Jones wrote:
            > Been some interesting comments on this.
            >
            > Just to be clear about the point I was making. Anchoring, or
            > convergence of opinion /might/ be a problem because people
            > are /unaware/ that they are doing it.
            >
            > Perhaps it would be better to widen it from just estimates to the
            > wider area of design.
            >
            > The famour quote is about firemen who naturally have a lot of spare
            > time spent together. Over a period of time their opinions about
            > politics, life, love etc.. begin to converge. This is not the same
            > as /agree/. Its not about lots of debate leading to consenus its
            > about /unconciously/ taking on other peoples opinions.
            >
            > In the context of design I have a similar example. We recently spent
            > a year or so working on a product management system (a product
            > database with a UI).
            >
            > The UI approach we had was very much a 'spreadsheet' style. i.e.
            > users drilled into product details to make changes and perform
            > management.
            >
            > Over the various iterations and releases we and our customer refined
            > this interface, constantly improving its design. It took a lot of
            > time and effort. Product Structures are quite complex.
            >
            > Anyway, after a year a new chap joined the team (he's on this list).
            > Almost immediately he observed that what we should really have was a
            > more wizard style interface that mirrors the business processes that
            > the users were following.
            >
            > My suspicion is that by working so closely together, without much in
            > the way of 'new perspective' we had unconciously converged in our
            > opinions about what the interface should be.
            >
            > We had begun to lose the ability to question our own designs because
            > no-one was fundementally disagreeing with each other.
            >
            > It can't /prove/ that was what was going on, but it certianly
            > something I now consider.
            >
            > Simon
            >
            > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Cory Foy <usergroup@...>
            > wrote:
            >> Ron Jeffries wrote:
            >>> I could imagine making this an actual part of the ritual. Sort of
            > a
            >>> "devil's advocate" role, where someone "must" argue for a much
            >>> longer, and another for a much shorter, estimate.
            >> I actually thought that was the point of planning poker. Everyone
            > puts
            >> up their cards, and the highest and lowest have to explain why.
            > Wash,
            >> rinse, repeat.
            >>
            >> I can't imagine that a team would just take the majority without
            > discussion.
            >> --
            >> Cory Foy
            >> http://www.cornetdesign.com
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • Matt
            ... It is a big deal only where it stifles innovation. ... After reading Tom Kelly s book The Ten Faces of Innovation, I can t use the term devil s advocate
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 30, 2007
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              --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Chris Poile <cpoile@...>
              wrote:
              > 1) How big of a deal is it, in real life situations? So we
              > unintentionally converge, whether we want to or not, on things like
              > estimations and opinions about the direction of the software. So
              > what? Does it make that big a deal?
              >

              It is a big deal only where it stifles innovation.


              > 2) Can we combat it? Would Ron's devil's advocate work? Maybe a
              > little, but it certainly wouldn't solve it. If the DA is part of the
              > group, then he's /already/ going to be conforming, whether he thinks
              > he is or not.
              >

              After reading Tom Kelly's book The Ten Faces of Innovation, I can't use
              the term "devil's advocate" without cringing. There *are* other "faces"
              that can fill the role of breaking out of the box.


              > I can think of one reason why this would be a big deal: We know how
              > group think is used as an excuse for a few recent government
              > decisions... But who's agile project has that kind of result attached
              > to it?


              :) Not to mention the group think that has led many to believe that the
              decisions were wrong in the first place. Same thing happens in
              organizations... people jump on and off of band wagons quickly enough
              that no one wants be caught on the wrong one. That's why Steve Cook (of
              Intuit) says to "celebrate failure". IMO the blame game is far more
              detrimental to an innovative mindset than anchoring.

              Matt
            • George Dinwiddie
              ... Actually, if you re using Yesterday s Weather, getting the estimate wrong consistently is just fine. It s much preferable to getting it right
              Message 6 of 22 , Dec 1, 2007
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                Matt wrote:
                > Getting an
                > "estimate" wrong isn't the worst thing I can think of... getting the
                > estimate wrong consistently might qualify.

                Actually, if you're using Yesterday's Weather, getting the estimate
                wrong consistently is just fine. It's much preferable to getting it
                right inconsistently.

                - George

                --
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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