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

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  • Marc Hamann
    ... I don t think this is a planning problem but engineering practices problem. If the team is failing to meet their commitments due to procrastination, you
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 5, 2003
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      At 03:35 PM 10/5/03, David J. Anderson wrote:
      >Also the team
      >mentality tended towards another time delivery problem
      >- student syndrome - the idea that a task is started
      >at the last available moment and any safety buffer is
      >used up first through procrastination.

      I don't think this is a planning problem but "engineering practices" problem.

      If the team is failing to meet their commitments due to procrastination,
      you have to ask yourself if you have the team you need.
      If you decide not to fire them immediately, you can use the daily meeting
      to expose that progress is not being made early in the sprint, and to push
      them to use techniques that produce more regular increments of value. (One
      such technique is test-driven development.)

      As an alternative, reduce the length of your sprint until they don't feel
      there is any buffer.

      I think that baby-sitting the team into behaving like professionals through
      micro-measurements can only have deleterious effects in the long run, and
      will neutralize the benefits of using an agile development methodology.

      If on the other hand, the team IS meeting its commitments, in spite of
      procrastinating, let them procrastinate, I say. Maybe that just works
      better for them, and so be it.

      Either way, you encourage the wrong adaptations by instituting an
      estimation improvement regime.

      Marc
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Probably not, but I ll try. Some folks have touched on some of these thoughts already. My initial reaction is that for some reason, someone doesn t trust
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 5, 2003
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        On Sunday, October 5, 2003, at 2:35:20 AM, Daniel Gackle wrote:

        > At my company, some managers believe in tracking estimates vs. actuals. They
        > like what my team is doing with Scrum, but they'd like it better if we gave
        > them a spreadsheet every month matching the estimate for each task with the
        > hours actually spent on that task.

        > I feel bad about this and don't want to do it. It feels contrary to the
        > spirit of self-organizing teams, like someone is looking over our shoulder.
        > Yet I can't fully articulate what's wrong with it.

        > Can anyone help me get clearer on this?

        Probably not, but I'll try. Some folks have touched on some of these
        thoughts already.

        My initial reaction is that for some reason, someone doesn't trust you. I
        hope that's not the case, but if it is, I'd try to figure out some way to
        deal with it directly.

        Second, it probably really doesn't do any harm if you collect this
        information. They might try to use it to set objectives to make the numbers
        match. If they did, I'd respond thusly:

        1. Seems to me that what's important is that the project is on schedule.
        (If it is. If it isn't, that's what's important.) When we schedule things
        into a Sprint, the team looks at the whole picture, not just the
        individual tasks, and rallies around to get the best possible combination
        of software does that meets the Sprint Goal. That's what's making this
        work. We don't really even know who is going to work on some of these
        tasks, until the time comes to do it. The purpose of the estimates is to
        be able to add them up and come close enough to a Sprint Goal that can be
        attained. We're not trying to get them "right", we're trying to use them
        to estimate the overall cost of gaining the business value represented by
        the next Sprint Goal. Here's how well they're working for that <drawing
        their attention back to the point of how the whole project is going>.

        2. When we look at these numbers, we see two things: we see a general
        (under/over) estimate component, that looks like about (X) percent. And
        around that systematic error, we see a random component that is about (Y)
        percent. So long as the random component is reasonable (and it is (unless
        it isn't)), the laws of large numbers cancel the errors out. That's why
        the burndown chart looks so straight <drawing their attention back to how
        well burndown is going>.

        3. We are concerned about systematic error. [At least I guess that Scrum
        must be concerned about that. XP is not.] Here's how it is varying over
        time. Each Sprint we look at how we did and we adjust our estimates
        basically proportionately, taking into account anything we've leared
        about specific requirements that might make their estimates go up or down
        relative to the others.

        4. The most important thing, boss, is this: we're new at Scrum. Scrum has
        been designed by people who are much smarter than we are about these
        things, and it has been tested in many situations like ours. Until we get
        more experience with doing the process out of the box, chief, I recommend
        that we stick with the basic Scrum. We should take a look at making it
        better once we can do it in its standard form. After all, it's delivering
        us good results.

        Or something like that.

        Of course, having collected the information and showed it to them, we might
        find out that it's completely harmless to do so. That's always possible ...

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Master your instrument, master the music,
        and then forget all that *!xy!@ and just play. -- Charlie Parker
      • Anko Tijman
        ... wrote: Your managers are thinking of simple processes, not complex processes. ... Traditional approach: thinking of a simple process,
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 6, 2003
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          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Ken Schwaber
          <ken.schwaber@v...> wrote:
          Your managers are thinking of simple processes, not complex processes.
          > Ken

          Traditional approach: thinking of a simple process, and developing
          complex software

          Agile approach: thinking of a complex process, and developing simple
          software



          What a contradiction....
          ;-)


          Anko Tijman
        • David J. Anderson
          Marc, It s always interesting to speculate on what works and doesn t work. In this case, I know that both approaches work with different teams. I have run more
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 6, 2003
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            Marc,

            It's always interesting to speculate on what works and
            doesn't work.

            In this case, I know that both approaches work with
            different teams. I have run more than 15 projects in 4
            Fortune 1000 companies (more than 10 of them at Sprint
            and Motorola - both Fortune 100).

            Hence, I just don't buy into the "one way works and
            the other way doesn't" belief. I have the metrics and
            the released systems to prove it.

            You're suggested approach of "just fire them" is
            seldom an option for a manager in a big company - nor
            should it be. Getting people to change can be
            difficult or impossible - changing a culture can be
            harder.

            Regards,

            David

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

            I think that baby-sitting the team into behaving like
            professionals through
            micro-measurements can only have deleterious effects
            in the long run, and
            will neutralize the benefits of using an agile
            development methodology.

            If on the other hand, the team IS meeting its
            commitments, in spite of
            procrastinating, let them procrastinate, I say. Maybe
            that just works
            better for them, and so be it.

            Either way, you encourage the wrong adaptations by
            instituting an
            estimation improvement regime.

            Marc



            =====
            David J Anderson
            Author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"
            http://www.agilemanagement.net/

            __________________________________
            Do you Yahoo!?
            The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search
            http://shopping.yahoo.com
          • Marc Hamann
            David, My claim is not that your approach doesn t work; there a innumerable systems that have been built using BDUF or even ad hoc methodologies. I m sure that
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 6, 2003
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              David,

              My claim is not that your approach doesn't work; there a innumerable
              systems that have been built using BDUF or even ad hoc methodologies.
              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 circumstances.

              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 promote.

              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.

              Regards,

              Marc

              At 01:12 PM 10/6/03, you wrote:
              >Marc,
              >
              >It's always interesting to speculate on what works and
              >doesn't work.
              >
              >In this case, I know that both approaches work with
              >different teams. I have run more than 15 projects in 4
              >Fortune 1000 companies (more than 10 of them at Sprint
              >and Motorola - both Fortune 100).
              >
              >Hence, I just don't buy into the "one way works and
              >the other way doesn't" belief. I have the metrics and
              >the released systems to prove it.
              >
              >You're suggested approach of "just fire them" is
              >seldom an option for a manager in a big company - nor
              >should it be. Getting people to change can be
              >difficult or impossible - changing a culture can be
              >harder.
              >
              >Regards,
              >
              >David
              >
              >--- Marc Hamann <marc@...> wrote:
              >
              >I think that baby-sitting the team into behaving like
              >professionals through
              >micro-measurements can only have deleterious effects
              >in the long run, and
              >will neutralize the benefits of using an agile
              >development methodology.
              >
              >If on the other hand, the team IS meeting its
              >commitments, in spite of
              >procrastinating, let them procrastinate, I say. Maybe
              >that just works
              >better for them, and so be it.
              >
              >Either way, you encourage the wrong adaptations by
              >instituting an
              >estimation improvement regime.
              >
              >Marc
              >
              >
              >
              >=====
              >David J Anderson
              >Author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"
              >http://www.agilemanagement.net/
              >
              >__________________________________
              >Do you Yahoo!?
              >The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search
              >http://shopping.yahoo.com
              >
              >
              >To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
              >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              >scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
              >
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            • David J. Anderson
              Marc, 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
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 6, 2003
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                Marc,

                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.

                Cordially,
                David
                --
                David J. Anderson
                author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"
                http://www.agilemanagement.net/

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

                David,

                My claim is not that your approach doesn't work; there
                a innumerable
                systems that have been built using BDUF or even ad hoc
                methodologies.
                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
                circumstances.

                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
                promote.

                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.

                Regards,

                Marc



                =====
                David J Anderson
                Author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"
                http://www.agilemanagement.net/

                __________________________________
                Do you Yahoo!?
                The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search
                http://shopping.yahoo.com
              • Marc Hamann
                David, ... I agree that doing agile is not an end in and of itself. Providing return on investment and return on expectation is the real goal. We do this by
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 6, 2003
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                  David,

                  >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.

                  I agree that "doing agile" is not an end in and of itself. Providing
                  return on investment and return on expectation is the real goal.

                  We do this by producing working software that fulfills the needs of the
                  customer. I'm quite skeptical that we can do this by producing "metrics".

                  The only metric that counts is how many of the customer's requirements we
                  clear out of the backlog by delivering well-made, working software for a
                  given cost.
                  Any other metric may or may not be a helpful guideline to help you
                  accomplish that primary goal, but some metrics are blatantly
                  counter-productive because they encourage the wrong behaviour.

                  I'm glad you agree that SLOC is not a good metric; crappy code can eat up
                  WAY more lines than good code. ;-)

                  >One of the big problems with agile successes is that
                  >they get reported in a relative manner

                  I suppose part of our disagreement comes from our different concerns. You
                  want to bring a scientific study to the successes of particular cases.
                  Though I'm skeptical that you can ever factor out all the variables that go
                  into a large project and isolate with absolute objectivity that one method
                  is better than another, I can understand why you want to do this.

                  However, I'm in the trenches, and the only reason I give a fig about the
                  Agile methodologies is that they offer approaches and techniques that solve
                  my real day to day challenges in building good, reliable, low cost
                  software. What Chrysler did, or some offshore bank, though perhaps of
                  academic interest will not sway me one way or another as to whether those
                  techniques will work for me. If they work for me, I use them, if they
                  don't, I won't.

                  >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.

                  Well, since we are unlikely to find mutually satisfactory metrics for
                  determining performance, I don't think I would make that claim. ;-)

                  However, I do know that professionals who are too valuable to be fired are
                  smart enough to tell when they are being micro-managed or babied, and
                  neither of these brings out high morale, creativity and "can do" spirit.

                  Remember that people will focus their energies on whatever you measure to
                  evaluate them. If you measure their ability to estimate rather than their
                  ability to produce working software, you will encourage them to pace their
                  work to the plan, rather than doing the best they can always, to avoid
                  taking risks that might throw their estimations off, even if it would
                  improve the product.

                  I can't see how that will improve productivity. In fact, I wouldn't
                  believe it were so even if you showed me some metrics. ;-)

                  >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.

                  When the Buddha was asked "Why should I believe what your saying?", he
                  replied "Don't believe it. Try it for yourself ."

                  I can't improve on that. ;-)

                  Marc
                • Daniel Gackle
                  Thanks to everyone who replied on estimates vs. actuals. The best thing for me was seeing the diversity of opinion on it, which helped me realize we can just
                  Message 8 of 20 , Oct 10, 2003
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                    Thanks to everyone who replied on estimates vs. actuals. The best thing for
                    me was seeing the diversity of opinion on it, which helped me realize we can
                    just be pragmatic. Both Jeff's and Ron's reply of "why not give them what
                    they want if it doesn't cost you anything" (my paraphrase) seems applicable
                    to our situation. For me this is part of learning to distinguish the
                    essential stuff from the secondary stuff (which can just flex).

                    I remain perplexed about exactly what people think they're going to get out
                    of such numbers. Maybe my problem is that word "exactly". Maybe they just
                    have a fuzzy idea of what they think they'll get... something vague but
                    comforting, like "more control".

                    Daniel
                  • David J. Anderson
                    ... I remain perplexed about exactly what people think they re going to get out of such numbers. Maybe my problem is that word exactly . Maybe they just have
                    Message 9 of 20 , Oct 11, 2003
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                      --- Daniel Gackle <gackle@...> wrote:

                      I remain perplexed about exactly what people think
                      they're going to get out
                      of such numbers. Maybe my problem is that word
                      "exactly". Maybe they just
                      have a fuzzy idea of what they think they'll get...
                      something vague but
                      comforting, like "more control".

                      Daniel

                      -=-=-

                      Daniel,

                      There is a real danger that some mangers/directors
                      will try to use the data for staff evaluation and use
                      it to filter out targets for layoffs. I worked with a
                      director at Sprint who tried to do this. I (somewhat)
                      successfully turned this into athe more benign,
                      monitoring of our ability to estimate. This made it
                      more a metric measuring line managers like me, than a
                      metric measuring my staff. I saw that as part of my
                      job - taking the heat away from the workforce.

                      Hence, I think that you are right to be wary. I don't
                      think that anyone believes they have more control from
                      metrics like these - other than they believe that they
                      will get early warning of slippages.

                      People I work with who believe in short-time window
                      planned versus actual, i.e. only planned out up to two
                      weeks ahead, believe that it provides commitment and
                      focus when that can't be achieved through other means
                      such as daily standups.

                      I don't know anyone who genuinely believes that
                      fine-grained planned versus actual dates works beyond
                      that time period. Trying to make a full release plan
                      in advance is just inviting Gantt Chart hell and
                      providing busy work for project managers anxious to
                      keep their jobs and their PMI qualifications.
                      Sometimes, you should look to the personal motivation
                      and the extremely local optimum for an explanation of
                      why something is the way it is.

                      David



                      =====
                      David J Anderson
                      Author of "Agile Management for Software Engineering"
                      http://www.agilemanagement.net/

                      __________________________________
                      Do you Yahoo!?
                      The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search
                      http://shopping.yahoo.com
                    • Ken Schwaber
                      In some instances we re going to be stuck with tracking actuals. Mel Pullen pointed out that this may be a symptom of displaced management trying to figure out
                      Message 10 of 20 , Oct 12, 2003
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                        In some instances we're going to be stuck with tracking actuals. Mel Pullen
                        pointed out that this may be a symptom of displaced management trying to
                        figure out how they are adding value, and relying on what they have used in
                        the past to add that value. They have always tried to improve predictabity
                        in the past, let's try to do it in the future.

                        I've always tried to get management to do another job. I've tried to get
                        them to see how well or badly a team does, what it can produce Sprint by
                        Sprint. Then I ask them to actually do the job of management - figure out
                        what to do based on what the team has been able to build. Should release
                        dates be changed? Should the project be decommissioned? Should functionality
                        be dropped from this release? Should the team's expertise be improved in
                        some areas? To me, these are all reasonable areas of management expertise,
                        not throwing the problem back on the team by saying, "improve your
                        estimates."

                        Ken

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                        Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 9:57 AM
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs.
                        actuals?


                        I'd say you shouldn't do it because it doesn't add value commensurate with
                        its cost. Don't argue with your bosses that it "adds no value" because
                        comparing what you originally thought a task would take with what it did
                        take can help make you a better estimator.

                        But, it can be time-consuming to track actuals, especially for a full team
                        where some on the team are probably already decent estimators.

                        Because Scrum already has solid mechanisms for monitoring whether all the
                        work gets done in a sprint (high team commitment, daily burndown charts,
                        daily scrum, and so on), Scrum does not have the same reliance on early and
                        accurating estimating that a predictive or waterfall approach does.

                        So--the cost to gather actuals is the same in Scrum or waterfall. The
                        benefit in Scrum is greatly reduced.

                        --Mike



                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: Daniel Gackle [mailto:gackle@...]
                        > Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 12:35 AM
                        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs.
                        > actuals?
                        >
                        > At my company, some managers believe in tracking estimates vs. actuals.
                        > They
                        > like what my team is doing with Scrum, but they'd like it better if we
                        > gave
                        > them a spreadsheet every month matching the estimate for each task with
                        > the
                        > hours actually spent on that task.
                        >
                        > I feel bad about this and don't want to do it. It feels contrary to the
                        > spirit of self-organizing teams, like someone is looking over our
                        > shoulder.
                        > Yet I can't fully articulate what's wrong with it.
                        >
                        > Can anyone help me get clearer on this?
                        >
                        > - Daniel
                        >
                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: "Gamble, Ken" <ken.gamble@...>
                        > Subject: New Scrum Article Available
                        >
                        > No matter how well someone measures past estimates against actuals even a
                        > small change in the estimate can have a big effect on the outcome of a
                        > chaotic/complex process no matter how good the model is or the resolution
                        > of
                        > the measurements.
                        >
                        > What this means for software development is that even though we can use
                        > previous estimates as part of a process model for delivering software we
                        > have to keep a sharp eye (Scrum management) on the process because it can
                        > wonder off course simply because of these small values, even if the
                        > process
                        > model is very tightly defined.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-
                        > unsubscribe@...
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/




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                      • Steven Gordon
                        I have worked on many projects in the past where the elimination of labor was considered a significant benefit, if not the greatest benefit of the resulting
                        Message 11 of 20 , Oct 12, 2003
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                          I have worked on many projects in the past where the elimination of labor was considered a significant benefit, if not the greatest benefit of the resulting process and/or product.

                          Why would the elimination of unnecessary management labor not be a benefit to a client? Maybe, the case needs to be made further up the food chain?


                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Ken Schwaber [mailto:ken.schwaber@...]
                          Sent: Sun 10/12/2003 4:03 AM
                          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                          Cc:
                          Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs. actuals?

                          In some instances we're going to be stuck with tracking actuals. Mel Pullen
                          pointed out that this may be a symptom of displaced management trying to
                          figure out how they are adding value, and relying on what they have used in
                          the past to add that value. They have always tried to improve predictabity
                          in the past, let's try to do it in the future.

                          I've always tried to get management to do another job. I've tried to get
                          them to see how well or badly a team does, what it can produce Sprint by
                          Sprint. Then I ask them to actually do the job of management - figure out
                          what to do based on what the team has been able to build. Should release
                          dates be changed? Should the project be decommissioned? Should functionality
                          be dropped from this release? Should the team's expertise be improved in
                          some areas? To me, these are all reasonable areas of management expertise,
                          not throwing the problem back on the team by saying, "improve your
                          estimates."

                          Ken

                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                          Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 9:57 AM
                          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs.
                          actuals?


                          I'd say you shouldn't do it because it doesn't add value commensurate with
                          its cost. Don't argue with your bosses that it "adds no value" because
                          comparing what you originally thought a task would take with what it did
                          take can help make you a better estimator.

                          But, it can be time-consuming to track actuals, especially for a full team
                          where some on the team are probably already decent estimators.

                          Because Scrum already has solid mechanisms for monitoring whether all the
                          work gets done in a sprint (high team commitment, daily burndown charts,
                          daily scrum, and so on), Scrum does not have the same reliance on early and
                          accurating estimating that a predictive or waterfall approach does.

                          So--the cost to gather actuals is the same in Scrum or waterfall. The
                          benefit in Scrum is greatly reduced.

                          --Mike



                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: Daniel Gackle [mailto:gackle@...]
                          > Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 12:35 AM
                          > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                          > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs.
                          > actuals?
                          >
                          > At my company, some managers believe in tracking estimates vs. actuals.
                          > They
                          > like what my team is doing with Scrum, but they'd like it better if we
                          > gave
                          > them a spreadsheet every month matching the estimate for each task with
                          > the
                          > hours actually spent on that task.
                          >
                          > I feel bad about this and don't want to do it. It feels contrary to the
                          > spirit of self-organizing teams, like someone is looking over our
                          > shoulder.
                          > Yet I can't fully articulate what's wrong with it.
                          >
                          > Can anyone help me get clearer on this?
                          >
                          > - Daniel
                          >
                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: "Gamble, Ken" <ken.gamble@...>
                          > Subject: New Scrum Article Available
                          >
                          > No matter how well someone measures past estimates against actuals even a
                          > small change in the estimate can have a big effect on the outcome of a
                          > chaotic/complex process no matter how good the model is or the resolution
                          > of
                          > the measurements.
                          >
                          > What this means for software development is that even though we can use
                          > previous estimates as part of a process model for delivering software we
                          > have to keep a sharp eye (Scrum management) on the process because it can
                          > wonder off course simply because of these small values, even if the
                          > process
                          > model is very tightly defined.
                          >
                          >
                          >
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                        • Edmund Schweppe
                          ... What will the client do with the managers whose unnecessary management labor will be eliminated? Or, more to the point, what do the affected managers
                          Message 12 of 20 , Oct 12, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Steven Gordon wrote:
                            > I have worked on many projects in the past where the
                            > elimination of labor was considered a significant benefit,
                            > if not the greatest benefit of the resulting process and/or
                            > product.
                            >
                            > Why would the elimination of unnecessary management labor not
                            > be a benefit to a client? Maybe, the case needs to be made
                            > further up the food chain?

                            What will the client do with the managers whose "unnecessary management
                            labor" will be eliminated? Or, more to the point, what do the affected
                            managers *think* the client will do with them?

                            If the particular client has a history of dealing with "unnecessary"
                            positions by firing the persons therein, the affected managers are going
                            to be *very* strongly motivated to make sure *their* positions are seen
                            as "necessary".

                            --
                            Edmund Schweppe -- schweppe@... -- http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
                            The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
                            those of any past, present or future employer.
                          • Steven Gordon
                            The main difference is whose position is being eliminated. It bothers me that projects which reduce how much labor it takes to do production
                            Message 13 of 20 , Oct 12, 2003
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                              The main difference is whose position is being eliminated.

                              <Rant mode on>

                              It bothers me that projects which reduce how much labor it takes to do production will lead to reductions in force, but projects that reduce how much management is required just leads to managers with time on their hands.

                              And managers with time on their hands leads to micromanagement activities like tracking estimates vs. actuals in a process where the metric is not highly correlated to success. Next, they will try to weigh the process down with collecting even more metrics that are not success factors, and start applying 6-sigma optimizations on them. Will anybody notice that these measured metrics will improve, but actual productivity and true successes will decrease? Probably not, because they will define productivity and success in terms of the metrics they are collecting and analyzing.

                              <Rant mode off>

                              Sorry if I offended any managers here.

                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: Edmund Schweppe [mailto:schweppe@...]
                              Sent: Sun 10/12/2003 10:21 AM
                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                              Cc:
                              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] What's wrong with tracking estimates vs. actuals?

                              Steven Gordon wrote:
                              > I have worked on many projects in the past where the
                              > elimination of labor was considered a significant benefit,
                              > if not the greatest benefit of the resulting process and/or
                              > product.
                              >
                              > Why would the elimination of unnecessary management labor not
                              > be a benefit to a client? Maybe, the case needs to be made
                              > further up the food chain?

                              What will the client do with the managers whose "unnecessary management
                              labor" will be eliminated? Or, more to the point, what do the affected
                              managers *think* the client will do with them?

                              If the particular client has a history of dealing with "unnecessary"
                              positions by firing the persons therein, the affected managers are going
                              to be *very* strongly motivated to make sure *their* positions are seen
                              as "necessary".

                              --
                              Edmund Schweppe -- schweppe@... -- http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
                              The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
                              those of any past, present or future employer.



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                            • David J. Anderson
                              Steve, You are defining what bad managers do - managers who don t know what management is and probably have never been trained as proper managers. For the
                              Message 14 of 20 , Oct 12, 2003
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                                Steve,

                                You are defining what bad managers do - managers who
                                don't know what management "is" and probably have
                                never been trained as proper managers.

                                For the rest of us good managers - we just tune you
                                out :-)

                                David


                                --- Steven Gordon <sagordon@...> wrote:

                                The main difference is whose position is being
                                eliminated.

                                <Rant mode on>

                                It bothers me that projects which reduce how much
                                labor it takes to do production will lead to
                                reductions in force, but projects that reduce how much
                                management is required just leads to managers with
                                time on their hands.

                                And managers with time on their hands leads to
                                micromanagement activities like tracking estimates vs.
                                actuals in a process where the metric is not highly
                                correlated to success. Next, they will try to weigh
                                the process down with collecting even more metrics
                                that are not success factors, and start applying
                                6-sigma optimizations on them. Will anybody notice
                                that these measured metrics will improve, but actual
                                productivity and true successes will decrease?
                                Probably not, because they will define productivity
                                and success in terms of the metrics they are
                                collecting and analyzing.

                                <Rant mode off>

                                Sorry if I offended any managers here.



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