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Re: [XP] Don't let them see our velocity?

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  • J. B. Rainsberger
    ... I see: but velocity over time does indeed show how we are doing in the sense that it allows us to project when we are likely to finish the work we need
    Message 1 of 342 , Jan 1, 2008
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      On Dec 28, 2007, at 20:34 , Charlie Poole wrote:
      > Hi Joe,
      >
      > > On Dec 28, 2007, at 14:33 , Charlie Poole wrote:
      > > > But then, I'm opposed to giving team velocity out to folks
      > > outside the
      > > > team as well. :-)
      > > >
      > > I hope I'm not taking this out of its context, but I'm
      > > intrigued and shocked by this statement. My blink reaction is
      > > to interpret it as an unwillingness to be transparent, but
      > > that doesn't fit my model of what you think, so why wouldn't
      > > you let people outside the team see its velocity?
      >
      > It's not that I won't "let them" see it, but it's not something
      > I give out to show managers how we are doing. Why not? Because
      > velocity
      > doesn't really show how we are doing, even though the word sounds
      > like it does.
      >
      I see: but velocity over time does indeed show "how we are doing" in
      the sense that it allows us to project when we are likely to finish
      the work we need to do. Is it that velocity /alone/ doesn't really
      show how we are doing? or that velocity shows something /other than/
      how we are doing?
      > Velocity is a term of art in XP. Those of us who know what it means
      > are comfortable with it, just as we are comfortable with the names
      > of various patterns and terms related to the platforms we work on.
      > I don't use those terms with outsiders either, not because I don't
      > want to be transparent but because using terms that people don't
      > understand - but which "sound like" they might mean something - is
      > a bad way to communicate.
      >
      > When an upper-level manager somehow hears we use something called
      > "velocity" in calculating estimates and asks to track it, I say
      > something like "Sure, I'll be glad to give you the info you need.
      > Can you let me know what you're hoping to do with it, so I get
      > you the precise measure that will help the most?" This leads to
      > a discussion of what XP's velocity is good for and what it isn't
      > good for. At a point, the manager will say "So, if your estimation
      > changes the velocity might go up or down? That's not what I need."
      >
      I like this very much, and I understand better. It's not so much the
      question that matters, but the question behind the question. I
      understand that all too well.
      > As a coach, I consider everyone in the organization a candidate
      > for coaching, provided they are willing to accept it. That includes
      > managers. A manager who asks for and gets the number he requests
      > will be happy, at least until he finds out it isn't as useful as
      > he thought. A manager who is helped to ask for what he really
      > needs and gets it is a convert for life.
      >
      Artful.
      > Underlying all of this is my belief that managers ask us for
      > sub-optimal information, because they think this is all we
      > can give them.
      >
      Crystal clear. (As in "understood", not "Cockburn".)
      ----
      J. B. (Joe) Rainsberger :: http://www.jbrains.ca
      Your guide to software craftsmanship
      JUnit Recipes: Practical Methods for Programmer Testing
      2005 Gordon Pask Award for contribution Agile Software Practice
    • Ron Jeffries
      Hello, Ilja. On Saturday, February 16, 2008, at 6:23:42 PM, you ... Well, it sounds like it would take a pretty narrow set of ideas on how to improve
      Message 342 of 342 , Feb 16, 2008
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        Hello, Ilja. On Saturday, February 16, 2008, at 6:23:42 PM, you
        wrote:

        > I expect this to increase our velocity in the middle run. And I'm all
        > for measuring it.

        > I doubt we would have even tried this event if we had focused on
        > improving velocity.

        > How does that sound to you?

        Well, it sounds like it would take a pretty narrow set of ideas on
        how to improve velocity. In a discussion on that, I would hope that
        ideas like learning, better tools, higher morale, and better
        communication would come up.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Anyone can make the simple complicated.
        Creativity is making the complicated simple. -- Charles Mingus
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