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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: WIP

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  • mike.dwyer1@comcast.net
    Ron: Observation: While getting the whip put down it the goal, a tactic that sometimes works is to have management perform self-flagelation by strictly
    Message 1 of 27 , Sep 1 9:49 AM
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      Ron:
      Observation:
      While getting the whip put down it the goal, a tactic that sometimes works is to have management perform self-flagelation by strictly limiting the amount of business assumptions the team and developers in particular can make.
       
      This can done by simply deferring to the business, those business rules that are not well enough understood to be expressed in boolean terms.  Many times the Product Owner (proxies in particular) has been squeezed by management to "use your best judgement" and the team ends up being guided by the product owner's 'best guess' unsupported by management.
       
      This also helps filter out 'wish list' functionality as management can't expect to see what they can't describe or vision well enough to build.
       
       
       
      --
      Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. ~Walter Elliott, The Spiritual Life


      The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground. ~Author Unknown
       
      -------------- Original message --------------

      > On Wednesday, August 31, 2005, at 8:59:12 AM, Mary Poppendieck wrote:
      >
      > > It is usually beyond the capability of a development team to limit the
      > > amount of work in its queue, but it is not beyond the capability of the
      > > management team to do so. A measurement of the cycle time from request to
      > > deployment does an good job of encouraging an organization's management to
      > > limit the amount of work it accepts to its capacity to respond. When this
      > > happens, customer requests flow through the system much faster, and this can
      > > result in a significant competitive advantage.
      >
      > While I agree entirely, Mary, on the notion of cycle time being key,
      > I've lived through a number of organizations where the management
      > team, faced with a long queue in development, would conclude that
      > development needs to go faster, and apply the whip.
      >
      > It seems to take a somewhat enlightened view to get to the next step
      > -- whatever that might be. How do we bring about that enlightenment,
      > and get those guys to put down the whip?
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Ron Jeffries
      > www.XProgramming.com
      > Sorry about your cow ... I didn't know she was sacred.
      >
      >
      >
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    • Mary Poppendieck
      I imagine that managers who get out the whip are the same folks who honk their horns in a traffic jam. Maybe they should check out their whip on servers
      Message 2 of 27 , Sep 2 8:06 AM
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        I imagine that managers who get out the whip are the same folks who honk
        their horns in a traffic jam. Maybe they should check out their whip on
        servers loaded to 90% capacity and see if it helps move transactions trough
        any faster. Or try it in a security line at an airport....

        Mary Poppendieck
        www.poppendieck.com
        952-934-7998
        Author of: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit

        Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 07:21:57 -0400
        From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
        Subject: Re: Re: WIP

        While I agree entirely, Mary, on the notion of cycle time being key,
        I've lived through a number of organizations where the management
        team, faced with a long queue in development, would conclude that
        development needs to go faster, and apply the whip.

        It seems to take a somewhat enlightened view to get to the next step
        -- whatever that might be. How do we bring about that enlightenment,
        and get those guys to put down the whip?

        Regards,

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Sorry about your cow ... I didn't know she was sacred.
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... I d love to see that last one. Nothing more fun than seeing some pompous manager strip-searched. ;- I do think that Agile methods give managers some
        Message 3 of 27 , Sep 2 8:19 AM
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          On Friday, September 2, 2005, at 11:06:08 AM, Mary Poppendieck wrote:

          > I imagine that managers who get out the whip are the same folks who honk
          > their horns in a traffic jam. Maybe they should check out their whip on
          > servers loaded to 90% capacity and see if it helps move transactions trough
          > any faster. Or try it in a security line at an airport....

          I'd love to see that last one. Nothing more fun than seeing some
          pompous manager strip-searched. ;->

          I do think that Agile methods give managers some controls that can
          actually be effective, and that the whip is pulled out for the same
          reason they blow the horn: it's something they can do to express
          frustration. Doesn't speed up traffic, of course.

          So my question:

          >> It seems to take a somewhat enlightened view to get to the next step
          >> -- whatever that might be. How do we bring about that enlightenment,
          >> and get those guys to put down the whip?

          ... is addressing the notion that measuring cycle time will bring a
          need to light, but that we need more than that to bring the
          organization to a higher level. I'm interested in learning more
          about what people do to turn the whip into something actually
          useful.

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
          who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
          -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.
        • Mike Dwyer
          Ron wrote: Nothing more fun than seeing some pompous manager strip-searched. ;- You may have the germ of the next generation of television shows. The
          Message 4 of 27 , Sep 2 10:10 AM
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            Ron wrote:
            "Nothing more fun than seeing some pompous manager strip-searched. ;->"

            You may have the germ of the next generation of television shows.

            The Apprentice meets COPS. Imagine the possibilities with Martha and Donald
            versus the TSA. We could find out all about the hair and the ankle
            bracelet.

            Michael F. Dwyer

            "Planning constantly peers into the future for indications as to where a
            solution may emerge."
            "A Plan is a complex situation, adapting to an emerging solution."

            -----Original Message-----
            From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
            Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 11:19 AM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] WIP

            On Friday, September 2, 2005, at 11:06:08 AM, Mary Poppendieck wrote:

            > I imagine that managers who get out the whip are the same folks who honk
            > their horns in a traffic jam. Maybe they should check out their whip on
            > servers loaded to 90% capacity and see if it helps move transactions
            trough
            > any faster. Or try it in a security line at an airport....

            I'd love to see that last one. Nothing more fun than seeing some
            pompous manager strip-searched. ;->

            I do think that Agile methods give managers some controls that can
            actually be effective, and that the whip is pulled out for the same
            reason they blow the horn: it's something they can do to express
            frustration. Doesn't speed up traffic, of course.

            So my question:

            >> It seems to take a somewhat enlightened view to get to the next step
            >> -- whatever that might be. How do we bring about that enlightenment,
            >> and get those guys to put down the whip?

            ... is addressing the notion that measuring cycle time will bring a
            need to light, but that we need more than that to bring the
            organization to a higher level. I'm interested in learning more
            about what people do to turn the whip into something actually
            useful.

            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
            who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
            -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.



            To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
            To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
            scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Ron Jeffries
            ... I d pay to watch The Donald get taken down a notch. You re fired, my ***. You re busted! Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com The main reason that testing
            Message 5 of 27 , Sep 2 12:00 PM
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              On Friday, September 2, 2005, at 1:10:01 PM, Mike Dwyer wrote:

              > Ron wrote:
              > "Nothing more fun than seeing some pompous manager strip-searched. ;->"

              > You may have the germ of the next generation of television shows.

              > The Apprentice meets COPS. Imagine the possibilities with Martha and Donald
              > versus the TSA. We could find out all about the hair and the ankle
              > bracelet.

              I'd pay to watch The Donald get taken down a notch. "'You're fired,'
              my ***. You're busted!"

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              The main reason that testing at the end of a development cycle finds
              problems is not that problems were put in near the end, it is that
              testing was put off until then.
            • Clarke Ching
              lovely analogy Mary! _____ From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mary Poppendieck Sent: 02 September
              Message 6 of 27 , Sep 2 12:02 PM
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                lovely analogy Mary!


                From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mary Poppendieck
                Sent: 02 September 2005 16:06
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] WIP

                I imagine that managers who get out the whip are the same folks who honk
                their horns in a traffic jam.  Maybe they should check out their whip on
                servers loaded to 90% capacity and see if it helps move transactions trough
                any faster.  Or try it in a security line at an airport....

                Mary Poppendieck
                www.poppendieck.com
                952-934-7998
                Author of:  Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
              • mwpolen
                While I agree that cycle time (the time from customer request to customer fulfillment) is the most important measure I do wonder how you can get any software
                Message 7 of 27 , Sep 4 10:35 AM
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                  While I agree that cycle time (the time from customer request to
                  customer fulfillment) is the most important measure I do wonder how
                  you can get any software organization to buy into it. I have found
                  that simple elegant measures, really anything simple, to be too
                  simple for the people with the $BIG$. The people in charge seem to
                  think "hey if it really was that simple everyone of my peers would
                  be doing it this way...NAH this can't work it's a complicated job
                  and complicated jobs require complicated ______" In this can
                  measurement is the fill in the blank.

                  So how do the people in group handle my perceived conundrum?

                  -Mike

                  ------------------------------------
                  "I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always
                  agree with them."
                  - George Bush

                  http://mwpolen.blogspot.com/
                  ------------------------------------
                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Mary Poppendieck"
                  <mary@p...> wrote:
                  > Actually, I don't think that WIP is the important measurement
                  here - cycle
                  > time is the standard Lean measurement. You can start and stop the
                  cycle
                  > time clock whenever you want (accepted story to tests passed, for
                  example),
                  > depending on what cycle really counts. However, most Lean
                  companies measure
                  > cycle time from customer order to delivery of order, since the
                  focus is on
                  > delivering customer value as fast as possible. Thus a software
                  organization
                  > taking a customer perspective would measure cycle time from
                  customer request
                  > to deployed feature. An organization with a service level
                  agreement, for
                  > example, does this routinely.
                  >
                  > Of course, there are usually more requests than a software
                  development
                  > organization has the capacity to fill, so there needs to be a way
                  to
                  > distinguish between work that is within the capacity of the
                  organization and
                  > work that just can't be accommodated. But still, IMHO, if an
                  organization
                  > cares about customer response time, the cycle time of the accepted
                  requests
                  > would be measured from the time the customer placed the request
                  (not when it
                  > was accepted) until the time the software to satisfy the request is
                  > deployed.
                  >
                  > It is usually beyond the capability of a development team to limit
                  the
                  > amount of work in its queue, but it is not beyond the capability
                  of the
                  > management team to do so. A measurement of the cycle time from
                  request to
                  > deployment does an good job of encouraging an organization's
                  management to
                  > limit the amount of work it accepts to its capacity to respond.
                  When this
                  > happens, customer requests flow through the system much faster,
                  and this can
                  > result in a significant competitive advantage.
                  >
                  > Mary Poppendieck
                  > www.poppendieck.com
                  > 952-934-7998
                  > Author of: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
                • Jeff Sutherland
                  An issue that is a lot more important than WIP is whether what is in the queue is in the right priority order or is even worth doing. For companies with big
                  Message 8 of 27 , Sep 4 11:09 AM
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                    An issue that is a lot more important than WIP is whether what is in
                    the queue is in the right priority order or is even worth doing. For
                    companies with big bucks ready to do a lot of analysis, they should
                    use Software by Numbers:
                    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0131407287/002-3446661-8579227

                    Denne and Cleland-Huang show that unless you systematically forecast
                    cost vs. revenue vs. time for each item in the product backlog you
                    will lose at least 25% of the potential revenue and in some cases up
                    to 400% of the achievable revenue.

                    There is also the issue that 45% of the WIP on the average should
                    never be built. A Software by Numbers analysis will do enough
                    micro-costing of the product backlog that it should flush most of this
                    out.

                    People should always start with:

                    1. Avoid doing this - where's the revenue time line?
                    2. Given the revenue time line, is this the most important thing to do now?

                    Software by Numbers nicely factors in architectural change and
                    maintenance into the revenue stream, something most other methods
                    avoid or do poorly leading to revenue loss.

                    Without answers to these questions you should always do nothing with
                    the WIP. Every line of code you write you will maintain for the rest
                    of your working life (or some poor proxy will maintain it). When it is
                    useless code, it is an Albatross that you will wear forever. Be
                    extreme and avoid coding at all costs.

                    Jeff Sutherland

                    On 9/4/05, mwpolen <mwpolen@...> wrote:
                    > While I agree that cycle time (the time from customer request to
                    > customer fulfillment) is the most important measure I do wonder how
                    > you can get any software organization to buy into it. I have found
                    > that simple elegant measures, really anything simple, to be too
                    > simple for the people with the $BIG$. The people in charge seem to
                    > think "hey if it really was that simple everyone of my peers would
                    > be doing it this way...NAH this can't work it's a complicated job
                    > and complicated jobs require complicated ______" In this can
                    > measurement is the fill in the blank.
                    >
                    > So how do the people in group handle my perceived conundrum?
                    >
                    > -Mike
                  • Mike Dwyer
                    Thanks for the cite Jeff. Question. How do people handle windows of opportunity ? Since we are living in a world where a product, feature or function can go
                    Message 9 of 27 , Sep 4 11:17 AM
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                      Thanks for the cite Jeff. Question.

                      How do people handle 'windows of opportunity'? Since we are living in a
                      world where a product, feature or function can go from innovative to
                      commodity in a matter of months, how do you factor in the time it takes you
                      to get to market and the time you have in the market before you are copied
                      or superceded.

                      This pushes the revenue argument to the next level stating that a long ROI
                      may in fact be counter productive.

                      Michael F. Dwyer

                      "Planning constantly peers into the future for indications as to where a
                      solution may emerge."
                      "A Plan is a complex situation, adapting to an emerging solution."

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff Sutherland
                      Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2005 2:10 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: WIP

                      An issue that is a lot more important than WIP is whether what is in
                      the queue is in the right priority order or is even worth doing. For
                      companies with big bucks ready to do a lot of analysis, they should
                      use Software by Numbers:
                      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0131407287/002-3446661-8579227

                      Denne and Cleland-Huang show that unless you systematically forecast
                      cost vs. revenue vs. time for each item in the product backlog you
                      will lose at least 25% of the potential revenue and in some cases up
                      to 400% of the achievable revenue.

                      There is also the issue that 45% of the WIP on the average should
                      never be built. A Software by Numbers analysis will do enough
                      micro-costing of the product backlog that it should flush most of this
                      out.

                      People should always start with:

                      1. Avoid doing this - where's the revenue time line?
                      2. Given the revenue time line, is this the most important thing to do now?

                      Software by Numbers nicely factors in architectural change and
                      maintenance into the revenue stream, something most other methods
                      avoid or do poorly leading to revenue loss.

                      Without answers to these questions you should always do nothing with
                      the WIP. Every line of code you write you will maintain for the rest
                      of your working life (or some poor proxy will maintain it). When it is
                      useless code, it is an Albatross that you will wear forever. Be
                      extreme and avoid coding at all costs.

                      Jeff Sutherland

                      On 9/4/05, mwpolen <mwpolen@...> wrote:
                      > While I agree that cycle time (the time from customer request to
                      > customer fulfillment) is the most important measure I do wonder how
                      > you can get any software organization to buy into it. I have found
                      > that simple elegant measures, really anything simple, to be too
                      > simple for the people with the $BIG$. The people in charge seem to
                      > think "hey if it really was that simple everyone of my peers would
                      > be doing it this way...NAH this can't work it's a complicated job
                      > and complicated jobs require complicated ______" In this can
                      > measurement is the fill in the blank.
                      >
                      > So how do the people in group handle my perceived conundrum?
                      >
                      > -Mike



                      To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                      To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                      scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
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                    • Steven Gordon
                      When the numbers indicate that we should not be implementing a particular feature today, that does not mean that the numbers might not change in 3 months, 6
                      Message 10 of 27 , Sep 4 11:52 AM
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                        When the numbers indicate that we should not be implementing a particular feature today, that does not mean that the numbers might not change in 3 months, 6 months, or a year from now.  
                         
                        Doing the requisite analysis to project the value of a feature over time is not free, so there is a tendency to not redo them every quarter.  Or worse, when updating the calculations, not taking the time to questioning whether an assumption that made sense when the value was first calcuated still makes sense today.
                         
                        So, when the numbers tell us not to implement a feature this quarter, should we tell the customer:
                        1. The feature will not be done this quarter, but we will keep it on our backlog and look at it again next quarter, or
                        2. The feature will not be done now and we will therefore remove it from our backlog - you can resubmit it next quarter if you think it makes sense then.
                         
                        The second one reduces cycle time at the expense of forcing the customer to resubmit feature requests periodically.  I prefer the first, but I am not the customer.
                         
                        One instance where I am a customer is when I submit a resume for a job.  If the response is that I am not a good fit for any of their current openings, I would rather that they keep my application on file than to ask me to resubmit my application whenever I think they might have some new openings that I would fit.
                         
                        Steven Gordon
                         
                        On 9/4/05, Jeff Sutherland <jeff.sutherland@...> wrote:
                        An issue that is a lot more important than WIP is whether what is in
                        the queue is in the right priority order or is even worth doing. For
                        companies with big bucks ready to do a lot of analysis, they should
                        use Software by Numbers:
                        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0131407287/002-3446661-8579227

                        Denne and Cleland-Huang show that unless you systematically forecast
                        cost vs. revenue vs. time for each item in the product backlog you
                        will lose at least 25% of the potential revenue and in some cases up
                        to 400% of the achievable revenue.

                        There is also the issue that 45% of the WIP on the average should
                        never be built. A Software by Numbers analysis will do enough
                        micro-costing of the product backlog that it should flush most of this
                        out.

                        People should always start with:

                        1. Avoid doing this - where's the revenue time line?
                        2. Given the revenue time line, is this the most important thing to do now?

                        Software by Numbers nicely factors in architectural change and
                        maintenance into the revenue stream, something most other methods
                        avoid or do poorly leading to revenue loss.

                        Without answers to these questions you should always do nothing with
                        the WIP. Every line of code you write you will maintain for the rest
                        of your working life (or some poor proxy will maintain it). When it is
                        useless code, it is an Albatross that you will wear forever. Be
                        extreme and avoid coding at all costs.

                        Jeff Sutherland

                      • David J Anderson
                        In my work (and my book) I modeled it as investment. The thinking it up can be time-boxed or controlled in some manner. Answer the question... How much are
                        Message 11 of 27 , Sep 6 3:25 PM
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                          In my work (and my book) I modeled it as investment. The thinking it
                          up can be time-boxed or controlled in some manner. Answer the
                          question...

                          How much are willing to invest in our next innovative idea?

                          This is usually constrained in most companies by the funding for the
                          marketing department. One of the challenges is that often cost
                          accounting prevents technical people from engaging at an early
                          enough stage to improve the quality of the ideas.

                          David

                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
                          <ronjeffries@X...> wrote:
                          > On Tuesday, August 30, 2005, at 1:15:06 PM, David J Anderson wrote:
                          >
                          > > To my mind, it is clearly not WIP unless it has been started,
                          and
                          > > that ought to involve a commitment back to the customer
                          detailing
                          > > when it will be delivered. In manufacturing terms a "due date".
                          >
                          > > Simply identifying it for the backlog does not count as starting.
                          >
                          > > The fact that the customer has dreamt it up and considers it
                          part of
                          > > their value stream is not justification for it becoming WIP. To
                          use
                          > > the manufacturing term, you could consider it "stock" i.e. it is
                          in
                          > > inventory, but it isn't WIP until a commitment is made and
                          resources
                          > > are assigned to work on it.
                          >
                          > Suppose that thinking it up was costly. Would we still not list it
                          > as WIP? I think we would. Perhaps WIP is supposed to be measured in
                          > dollars or time, not number of items?
                          >
                          > Ron Jeffries
                          > www.XProgramming.com
                          > Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.
                          > --Albert Einstein
                        • David J Anderson
                          Dollar Days is all about amplication. It s about improving signal to noise ratio in management accounting. From the perspective of this thread, it is largely
                          Message 12 of 27 , Sep 6 3:27 PM
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                            Dollar Days is all about amplication. It's about improving signal to
                            noise ratio in management accounting. From the perspective of this
                            thread, it is largely irrelevant. We're deciding where to start the
                            WIP measurement and the lead time measurement.

                            David


                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Clarke Ching" <lists@c...>
                            wrote:
                            > Ron wrote:
                            > >Perhaps WIP is supposed to be measured in dollars or time, not
                            number of
                            > items?
                            >
                            > Goldratt recommends using "Dollar-days" to measure WIP in factories -
                            thus
                            > taking into account both time and dollars. I've posted a note below
                            > describing Dollar-Days, which I originally sent to Kent Beck's
                            Software in
                            > Process yahoo group.
                            >
                            >
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