Backchannel Discussions Might Create Serendipity

When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, we suggested teams add a text backchannel. Even when the backchannel is asynchronous, the information in it increases the value of all the team’s communication. The backchannel helps everyone see all the information. That helps all the team’s communication. Some of my …

Estimates Anchor Expectations; Forecasts Include Uncertainty

What happens when you use the word “estimate?” For many of my clients, “estimate”== guarantee. Which is not what those words mean. Even if you update the estimate based on data, too many managers still want to know, “When will it be done?” Emphasis on done. And, while managers might not remember the assumptions you …

Summary for a Project’s Boundaries: Drivers, Constraints, & Floats

In my experience, too many projects are under too much pressure. The sponsors want all of the features, completed in too-short time, with no defects. And, if possible, the sponsors think the project should cost nothing, the team should not need any training, and the team can work in any way, regardless of the desired …

Create & Manage the Project’s Bounds, Part 3 (Constraints and Floats for Infrequent Delivery)

I wrote about how to pick a driver in Part 1. In Part 2, I wrote about how you might finesse some of the constraints and floats if you can release frequently. What if you’re like this organization, Acme? Acme has been working towards agility for the last couple of years. However, they still have …

Create & Manage the Project’s Bounds, Part 2 (Constraints and Floats)

In Part 1, I wrote about the origins of drivers, constraints, and floats. I needed them when we only could release the project once to the customers. You saw the questions that help people choose the project driver. What about the constraints and floats? I think of constraints as bounding the project inside the driver, …

Create & Manage the Project’s Bounds, Part 1

Do you know your project’s bounds? Do you know what your sponsors want from your project? For many years, I heard about the “iron triangle.” Sometimes, the triangle was “Scope, Quality, Cost.” Sometimes, it was “Scope, Date, Cost.” It was always three things out of a minimum of four possibilities. I never saw a triangle …

Agile Approaches Can’t Save Impossible Projects: Fixed Cost, Scope, Date

You’ve got an impossible project. You have no flexibility. The project is a fixed-price, fixed-scope, fixed-date project. And, you have a specific team to do the work. (There are other impossible projects. Such as when you have a collection of people who multitask among several projects.) Can an agile approach save these projects? No. An agile …