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1981RE: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs. actuals?

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  • David J. Anderson
    Oct 6, 2003
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      I think there is a danger of "doing agile" for the
      sake of it. The real goal is to make more money by
      delivering more value faster to the end of value
      chain. If agilists lose sight of this then agile will
      be a fad rather than a genuine trend.

      I would contest your observation that making the best
      ROI or the most money is always best done using the
      very pure agile techniques you describe.

      For example, in the Boehm and Turner book they
      describe a 3 year long XP project which using more
      than 30 developers in a 50 person team produced around
      500,000 SLOC. Compare this to the CLS project at UOB
      in Singapore (the original FDD project) which was
      performed using the fine-grained planned versus actual
      which with slightly less people (47) but with only 23
      developers produced 1,500,000 SLOC in only 18 months.

      If SLOC is a reliable metric (and I don't believe it
      is but given a lack of a function point assessment of
      both projects it is all we have) then the first FDD
      project seems to be up to 6 times more effective than
      the textbook XP project reported by Boehm and Turner.

      Not only was the CLS project a huge success but after
      it was rolled live - the bank (UOB) was able to take
      over its nearest competitor. This was achieved through
      improved competitiveness and the lending system
      delivered by the CLS project played a key part in
      providing that competitiveness.

      One of the big problems with agile successes is that
      they get reported in a relative manner e.g. we
      implemented (pick a method you like e.g. Scrum) and we
      produced a four fold improvement. There are lots of
      such anecdotes. Ken even includes one in the Scrum
      book. However, none of these results are reported as
      absolute figures in a normalized manner. The success
      has a lot to do with the starting position. It's
      always easy to improve a very poor organization.

      So I fail to accept that you can assert that adhoc,
      self-organizing processes can outperform lean
      processes which still include aspects such as planned
      versus actual dates. When you can show me the metrics
      from real projects reported in a normalized fashion,
      from projects performed in large businesses with large
      value-added or revenue generation potential then I
      might start to believe.

      David J. Anderson
      author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"

      --- Marc Hamann <marc@...> wrote:


      My claim is not that your approach doesn't work; there
      a innumerable
      systems that have been built using BDUF or even ad hoc
      I'm sure that many of these conform to various sorts
      of acceptable metrics.

      However, such practices are not Agile in general or
      Scrum in
      particular. Moreover, they work against the goals and
      values that Agile
      and Scrum promote, which is counter-productive if you
      are trying to combine
      them with Agile practices.

      My implication that the team should be fired was
      provocative, but "that
      won't work here because of our culture/our
      programmers/our boss" is the
      most common objection I hear to using Agile
      techniques. This seems
      counter-intuitive to me, since I believe that the
      great virtue of Agile
      techniques is that they can be used even in adverse

      You don't have to change the culture to start using
      the techniques; just do
      your best to implement the practices, and avoid any
      practices which work
      against the goals and values you are trying to

      It's not magic, it's not easy, but if you don't at
      least try the best you
      can, you can't claim to be doing Scrum or Agile.



      David J Anderson
      Author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"

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