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RE: [XP] prioritizing stories

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  • Bryan Dollery
    Ron Jeffries wrote ... I can see that a release plan would need to have in it a fairly accurate list of what will be released when. I can also see why this
    Message 1 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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      Ron Jeffries wrote
      > Many organizations want a product shipped by some date. They want to
      > know what will be in it. A release plan lets you say with pretty good
      > accuracy what you are sure will be in, what might be in, and what will
      > almost certainly not be in.

      I can see that a release plan would need to have in it a fairly accurate
      list of what will be released when. I can also see why this would be
      desirable. I just don't see how one would/could create it. Can you
      elicidate?

      > In a product company this is especially important, as folks have to
      > line up advertising, tell customers what is coming, and so on.

      Yeah, I get it. How do I get the information, and make it accurate though.
      If I say feature X will be in, but our velocity is lower than I suspected
      then X may not be in. If I say feature Y will be in, and then, through
      discovery through out the project, the customer discovers that Y isn't so
      important, or that it's actually feature Z that they wanted, then Y won't be
      there.

      Bryan
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Do the XP release plan process. For full details see Installed or Planning . Briefly, sit down with the customer and all the stories, estimate them,
      Message 2 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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        Around Thursday, November 01, 2001, 10:04:27 AM, Bryan Dollery wrote:

        > Ron Jeffries wrote
        >> Many organizations want a product shipped by some date. They want to
        >> know what will be in it. A release plan lets you say with pretty good
        >> accuracy what you are sure will be in, what might be in, and what will
        >> almost certainly not be in.

        > I can see that a release plan would need to have in it a fairly accurate
        > list of what will be released when. I can also see why this would be
        > desirable. I just don't see how one would/could create it. Can you
        > elicidate?

        Do the XP release plan process. For full details see "Installed" or
        "Planning". Briefly, sit down with the customer and "all" the stories,
        estimate them, lay them out in iterations.

        >> In a product company this is especially important, as folks have to
        >> line up advertising, tell customers what is coming, and so on.

        > Yeah, I get it. How do I get the information, and make it accurate though.
        > If I say feature X will be in, but our velocity is lower than I suspected
        > then X may not be in.

        That's why you break it into "will be there", "might be there", "won't
        be there". And as you learn more, do the plan again and republish.
        Good PR, addresses that honesty thing that derives from the Simplicity
        value.

        > If I say feature Y will be in, and then, through
        > discovery through out the project, the customer discovers that Y isn't so
        > important, or that it's actually feature Z that they wanted, then Y won't be
        > there.

        When the customer adds stories to the plan, she must either add time
        (not recommended) or remove stories to restore the total. Either way,
        she knows what she did. And republish the plan if anyone else needs to
        know.

        But tell us how it's working for you, especially regarding people who
        want to know what you're going to deliver by when?

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Discontinue reading if rash, irritation, redness, or swelling develops.
        Especially irritation.
      • Ivan Tomek
        Thanks to all who answered my original question. I must reiterate that I was talking in an academice course context with very little time available, a
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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          Thanks to all who answered my original question. I must reiterate that I was
          talking in an academice course context with very little time available, a
          non-trivial project, and a concern that we might never get beyond story
          estimation if we estimated all stories.

          However, I still don't see anything wrong with the customer saying 'here are
          my 300 stories and I would like to implement them all, but these 50 are so
          low on my priority list that you should not be spending any time estimating
          them now'. I even feel that it agrees with the general spirit of XP, the
          principles of 'you are not going to need it' or even 'do the simplest thing
          first' although I realize that that is not their true application.

          Ivan


          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
          > Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2001 11:23 AM
          > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [XP] prioritizing stories
          >
          >
          > Around Thursday, November 01, 2001, 10:04:27 AM, Bryan Dollery wrote:
          >
          > > Ron Jeffries wrote
          > >> Many organizations want a product shipped by some date.
          > They want to
          > >> know what will be in it. A release plan lets you say with
          > pretty good
          > >> accuracy what you are sure will be in, what might be in,
          > and what will
          > >> almost certainly not be in.
          >
          > > I can see that a release plan would need to have in it a
          > fairly accurate
          > > list of what will be released when. I can also see why this would be
          > > desirable. I just don't see how one would/could create it. Can you
          > > elicidate?
          >
          > Do the XP release plan process. For full details see "Installed" or
          > "Planning". Briefly, sit down with the customer and "all" the stories,
          > estimate them, lay them out in iterations.
          >
          > >> In a product company this is especially important, as folks have to
          > >> line up advertising, tell customers what is coming, and so on.
          >
          > > Yeah, I get it. How do I get the information, and make it
          > accurate though.
          > > If I say feature X will be in, but our velocity is lower
          > than I suspected
          > > then X may not be in.
          >
          > That's why you break it into "will be there", "might be there", "won't
          > be there". And as you learn more, do the plan again and republish.
          > Good PR, addresses that honesty thing that derives from the Simplicity
          > value.
          >
          > > If I say feature Y will be in, and then, through
          > > discovery through out the project, the customer discovers
          > that Y isn't so
          > > important, or that it's actually feature Z that they
          > wanted, then Y won't be
          > > there.
          >
          > When the customer adds stories to the plan, she must either add time
          > (not recommended) or remove stories to restore the total. Either way,
          > she knows what she did. And republish the plan if anyone else needs to
          > know.
          >
          > But tell us how it's working for you, especially regarding people who
          > want to know what you're going to deliver by when?
          >
          > Ron Jeffries
          > www.XProgramming.com
          > Discontinue reading if rash, irritation, redness, or swelling
          > develops.
          > Especially irritation.
          >
          >
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bryan Dollery
          Ron Jeffries wrote ... Okay, I ve just re-read chapter-8 of Installed (BTW: I love the small chapters). I remember thinking when I first read it that this was
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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            Ron Jeffries wrote
            > > Ron Jeffries wrote
            > >> Many organizations want a product shipped by some date. They want to
            > >> know what will be in it. A release plan lets you say with pretty good
            > >> accuracy what you are sure will be in, what might be in, and what will
            > >> almost certainly not be in.
            >
            > > I can see that a release plan would need to have in it a fairly accurate
            > > list of what will be released when. I can also see why this would be
            > > desirable. I just don't see how one would/could create it. Can you
            > > elucidate?
            >
            > Do the XP release plan process. For full details see "Installed" or
            > "Planning". Briefly, sit down with the customer and "all" the stories,
            > estimate them, lay them out in iterations.

            Okay, I've just re-read chapter-8 of Installed (BTW: I love the small
            chapters). I remember thinking when I first read it that this was odd. Now
            I know why (although I could easily be wrong), but more about that later.

            > >> In a product company this is especially important, as folks have to
            > >> line up advertising, tell customers what is coming, and so on.
            >
            > > Yeah, I get it. How do I get the information, and make it
            > accurate though.
            > > If I say feature X will be in, but our velocity is lower than I
            > suspected
            > > then X may not be in.
            >
            > That's why you break it into "will be there", "might be there", "won't
            > be there". And as you learn more, do the plan again and republish.
            > Good PR, addresses that honesty thing that derives from the Simplicity
            > value.

            I've always used best, worst, and likely case scenarios. I see them as being
            analogous.

            > > If I say feature Y will be in, and then, through
            > > discovery through out the project, the customer discovers that
            > Y isn't so
            > > important, or that it's actually feature Z that they wanted,
            > then Y won't be
            > > there.
            >
            > When the customer adds stories to the plan, she must either add time
            > (not recommended) or remove stories to restore the total. Either way,
            > she knows what she did. And republish the plan if anyone else needs to
            > know.

            So, we expect (and of course, embrace) change. Most of XP is predicated on
            doing the minimum amount of work that will _need_ reworking. So, we're
            deliberately doing work here that needs to be reworked. We're providing the
            customer with an accurate estimate, based upon the information we have
            available to us at the time.

            I hate it.

            I see the necessity, business planning, investment planning, setting
            expectations, etc. But I really don't like it. We're saying

            "to the best of our knowledge you'll get X on date Y",

            and at the same time saying,

            "but if things change we reserve the right to revise this"

            When we've already said that things _will_ change, and to plan otherwise is
            dumb.

            So, unless I've missed something, we've done something here that isn't
            entirely honest. Not a lie, because at the time the estimate is as accurate
            as available data will allow, but still a dishonesty because we _know_ that
            the estimate is wrong, perhaps only in a small way, but perhaps
            substantially, and we have no way of knowing which.

            Is this right?

            > But tell us how it's working for you, especially regarding people who
            > want to know what you're going to deliver by when?

            Oh, my clients want the information. The want a release plan. I create
            estimates based upon my experience of similar systems, as many metrics as I
            can gather, and my perceptions of their organisational adaptability. I then
            add the caveat that, based upon historical industry trends, I am probably
            wrong. I usually quote the Capers Jones figures that I've been posting here
            recently.

            So, I tell them what they want to hear, and then I give the probabilities
            that I'm wrong. I follow this with a worse, best, and likely case analysis
            of the estimates.

            I see that this isn't too different to what XP does, but then, I don't like
            what I do either. I'm just fishing for a better answer.

            Bryan
          • Ron Jeffries
            ... I just tell em that this isn t what will happen, but it is a lot like what will happen, and that we ll keep em informed. Tell what you know, and tell
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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              Around Thursday, November 01, 2001, 11:12:10 AM, Bryan Dollery wrote:

              > So, unless I've missed something, we've done something here that isn't
              > entirely honest. Not a lie, because at the time the estimate is as accurate
              > as available data will allow, but still a dishonesty because we _know_ that
              > the estimate is wrong, perhaps only in a small way, but perhaps
              > substantially, and we have no way of knowing which.

              I just tell 'em that this isn't what will happen, but it is a lot like
              what will happen, and that we'll keep 'em informed.

              Tell what you know, and tell what you don't. That's the best I know to
              do.

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
              --Inigo Montoya
            • Bryan Dollery
              Ron Jeffries wrote ... I like this. It seems more honest. Do you really tell your clients that, or do you believe that they understand that it is a necessary
              Message 6 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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                Ron Jeffries wrote
                > Around Thursday, November 01, 2001, 11:12:10 AM, Bryan Dollery wrote:
                >
                > > So, unless I've missed something, we've done something here that isn't
                > > entirely honest. Not a lie, because at the time the estimate is
                > as accurate
                > > as available data will allow, but still a dishonesty because we
                > _know_ that
                > > the estimate is wrong, perhaps only in a small way, but perhaps
                > > substantially, and we have no way of knowing which.
                >
                > I just tell 'em that this isn't what will happen, but it is a lot like
                > what will happen, and that we'll keep 'em informed.

                I like this. It seems more honest. Do you really tell your clients that, or
                do you believe that they understand that it is a necessary consequence of
                their request?

                > Tell what you know, and tell what you don't. That's the best I know to
                > do.

                I think that we can agree on that.

                Bryan
              • Ron Jeffries
                ... I tell them that. Stole the idea from Beck: He told the CIO of Chrysler exactly that. This isn t what is going to happen. Ron Jeffries
                Message 7 of 22 , Nov 1, 2001
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                  Around Thursday, November 01, 2001, 11:51:06 AM, Bryan Dollery wrote:

                  > I like this. It seems more honest. Do you really tell your clients that, or
                  > do you believe that they understand that it is a necessary consequence of
                  > their request?

                  I tell them that. Stole the idea from Beck: He told the CIO of
                  Chrysler exactly that. "This isn't what is going to happen."

                  Ron Jeffries
                  www.XProgramming.com
                  The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken.
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