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RE: [XP] Re: Win vs Lose Mentality - Agile Criteria - Capers Jones Agile/CMM3

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  • Matt Swaffer
    Jeff, Certainly learning early on that a project isn t going to succeed is a good thing. I didn t mean to qualify success as good or failure as bad. I meant
    Message 1 of 44 , Feb 4, 2008
      Jeff,



      Certainly learning early on that a project isn't going to succeed is a good
      thing. I didn't mean to qualify success as good or failure as bad. I meant
      to point out that the argument that "early failure == success" seems a bit
      odd to me.



      As for the "won" vs. "lost" dichotomy. do you feel the same way about the
      "success" vs. "failure" dichotomy? I for one am not a big fan of the
      current fad where we don't keep score at kid's soccer games because we don't
      want anyone to have to lose. I understand your point about rational
      decision making dealing with an ROI continuum rather than a red light /
      green light process, however ultimately the goal is success (however you
      might define that success!) It seems that lacking a clearly defined goal is
      more likely to lead to irrational decisions than defining a goal that
      includes "success". Certainly tools like weighted average cost of capital
      and projected ROI's, break-even points etc. are good for healthy decision
      making, but so is defining what success is for you before you get started.



      Matt



      From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff Grigg
      Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 5:58 AM
      To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [XP] Re: Win vs Lose Mentality - Agile Criteria - Capers Jones
      Agile/CMM3



      --- "Matt Swaffer" <maswaffer@...> wrote:
      > Does "less costly failure" == "success"? Everyone knows
      > it's better to get out early than late [...]. "Early
      > failure" might be preferable to "Late failure" but like
      > [...] Being the best loser doesn't make you the winner.
      >
      > I guess to be very cynical, if all Agile has to offer
      > me is 2nd place. I've been had.

      Yes, exactly: Aborting a doomed project as quickly as possible is a
      good thing. That doesn't make the project a success; all it does is
      save the company millions of dollars. But, generally speaking,
      saving millions of dollars, rather than wasting millions of dollars,
      would be considered a good thing, in most cases.

      How could this rationally be considered a success? Well, aside from
      the psychological and Corporate POLITICAL issues, the management
      decision to kill a doomed project, rather than lose millions of
      dollars in a futile attempt to "save" it is a good, rational and
      SUCCESSful act of good management. If you can discover, sooner
      rather than later, that the business justification for a project is
      inadequate, and that no one will really want to deploy or use
      the "solution" you're developing, then SUCCESSfully eliminating the
      waste is a mark of successful management. (Successful technical
      software development, in that case, would still result in a failed
      business project -- for business, rather than technical reasons.)

      Taking off /my/ cynical hat (maybe ;-) and (claiming) to don a more
      rational hat, I may see that an excessive focus on "success vs
      failure" and "win first place vs being a loser" leads to many kinds
      of irrational decision making habits. But instead of delving into
      the sordid details of how that can happen, I'll just propose that it
      will generally be more healthy to focus on the costs and benefits,
      and hence the Return On Investment (ROI) of proposed actions --
      rather than some simplistic "I won" vs "I lost" dichotomy.





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Matt Swaffer
      Jeff, Certainly learning early on that a project isn t going to succeed is a good thing. I didn t mean to qualify success as good or failure as bad. I meant
      Message 44 of 44 , Feb 4, 2008
        Jeff,



        Certainly learning early on that a project isn't going to succeed is a good
        thing. I didn't mean to qualify success as good or failure as bad. I meant
        to point out that the argument that "early failure == success" seems a bit
        odd to me.



        As for the "won" vs. "lost" dichotomy. do you feel the same way about the
        "success" vs. "failure" dichotomy? I for one am not a big fan of the
        current fad where we don't keep score at kid's soccer games because we don't
        want anyone to have to lose. I understand your point about rational
        decision making dealing with an ROI continuum rather than a red light /
        green light process, however ultimately the goal is success (however you
        might define that success!) It seems that lacking a clearly defined goal is
        more likely to lead to irrational decisions than defining a goal that
        includes "success". Certainly tools like weighted average cost of capital
        and projected ROI's, break-even points etc. are good for healthy decision
        making, but so is defining what success is for you before you get started.



        Matt



        From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff Grigg
        Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 5:58 AM
        To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [XP] Re: Win vs Lose Mentality - Agile Criteria - Capers Jones
        Agile/CMM3



        --- "Matt Swaffer" <maswaffer@...> wrote:
        > Does "less costly failure" == "success"? Everyone knows
        > it's better to get out early than late [...]. "Early
        > failure" might be preferable to "Late failure" but like
        > [...] Being the best loser doesn't make you the winner.
        >
        > I guess to be very cynical, if all Agile has to offer
        > me is 2nd place. I've been had.

        Yes, exactly: Aborting a doomed project as quickly as possible is a
        good thing. That doesn't make the project a success; all it does is
        save the company millions of dollars. But, generally speaking,
        saving millions of dollars, rather than wasting millions of dollars,
        would be considered a good thing, in most cases.

        How could this rationally be considered a success? Well, aside from
        the psychological and Corporate POLITICAL issues, the management
        decision to kill a doomed project, rather than lose millions of
        dollars in a futile attempt to "save" it is a good, rational and
        SUCCESSful act of good management. If you can discover, sooner
        rather than later, that the business justification for a project is
        inadequate, and that no one will really want to deploy or use
        the "solution" you're developing, then SUCCESSfully eliminating the
        waste is a mark of successful management. (Successful technical
        software development, in that case, would still result in a failed
        business project -- for business, rather than technical reasons.)

        Taking off /my/ cynical hat (maybe ;-) and (claiming) to don a more
        rational hat, I may see that an excessive focus on "success vs
        failure" and "win first place vs being a loser" leads to many kinds
        of irrational decision making habits. But instead of delving into
        the sordid details of how that can happen, I'll just propose that it
        will generally be more healthy to focus on the costs and benefits,
        and hence the Return On Investment (ROI) of proposed actions --
        rather than some simplistic "I won" vs "I lost" dichotomy.





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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