addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwchatcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrosseditemptyheartexportfacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgoogleimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinmagnifying-glassmailminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonplusprice-ribbonImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruseryahoo

Alternatives to Agile Estimation

Format of the session

- Presentation on Alternatives to Agile Estimation (30 mins)

Neil to give a presentation about why it might be a good idea to shift focus away from story point estimates at the team level, and practical advice on how to achieve this.

- Q&A (15 mins)

- Fishbowl discussion around portfolio level estimation (45 mins)

5 panelists, 5 minute timeboxes

After 5 minutes at least 1 panelist must vacate a seat so that someone else can join the discussion.

Starting topic: You have 5 potentially valuable projects but only 1 team. Imagine it is impossible to estimate how long the projects will take. Is it possible to pick one and proceed? How?

Join or login to comment.

  • Asif S.

    Learned a lot.

    1 · April 21, 2013

  • Pavel D.

    My most valuable take-away from the evening was the relationship between frequent/continuous delivery and the need to estimate. Loved the "no need for estimate if the bus comes every two minutes" metaphor. Even in my own experience it seems clients seem to more insist on accurate and non-negotiable upfront estimates when they are not assured about the outcomes and/or don't get enough transparency. That approach however is different from not knowing how much will be spent and on what, it is only communicating this through other means than classic effort estimates. Put working software above effort estimations ;)

    2 · April 17, 2013

  • Quoc P.

    One more thing to add, I was involved in a fish bowl for the first time and it was a wonderfully nerve racking experience.

    2 · April 17, 2013

  • Quoc P.

    For me estimation is a necessary evil - I'll be controversial here and suggest that story points can happily co-exist with value management.

    Personally I use estimates on each story as an indication of its complexity to deliver and not an indication of time (although there is an implied link there). The estimates of the collective stories assist as a FACTOR in planning (not the be all and end all) which exposes the effort that it will take to complete the project giving project managers, sponsors, C-Level, etc have some sort of grip of the effort required. Once this is achieved the story points then out live their usefulness as the play second fiddle to the features identified (requirements) and their priority as set by the business. Showcasing then takes over to allow the business to provide feedback and guidance on if they are getting what they are expecting to fulfill their goals and continual reassessment of priority of the remaining stories or new ones, focusing on value.

    April 17, 2013

  • Lizhe L.

    My own takeaway:
    1. Drip feeding an initiative to reduce the need for "accurate" estimation of the whole project
    2. Make the user stories small so they are all comparable and can be used for estimation themselves
    2. Then we can use the number of the above stories delivered (as they tend to be consistent) to evaluate the team velocity instead of story points
    3. Agile principle: Delivering (which adds value to the customer) over Estimating (which doesn't have tangible value and could probably be a type of waste)

    2 · April 17, 2013

  • Alistair C.

    Besides saying "great discussion" and 'wonderful', would anybody be willing to post a lesson, insight, future experiment or something so we can get a bit at the content?

    April 17, 2013

    • Neil K.

      Beyond teams stopping estimating entirely, I'd love to see them using a heuristic to slice cards; a slicing ritual rather than an estimation ritual, if you will. e.g. you keep slicing a story up until you hit 1 acceptance test. Trying out new heuristics and seeing how they affect throughput is a good experiment I think.

      April 17, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      My take on the discussion was that at the team/story level, we're seeing many examples of different uses of estimates/cycles times and in some cases, no estimates at all. This seemed to depend on things like team maturity, required stakeholder control or level of trust established. In short, at this level, whatever works for the individual team - if you don't need estimates, don't use them. However, the real issue that I don't think we nailed was the need for estimates at the portfolio level. There is still a need to manage expectations at this level to communicate what we are going to get for our money and when. Portfolio level estimation is probably a topic in it's own right.

      1 · April 17, 2013

  • Jennifer T.

    Great presentation and definitely learn a alots. Love the fish bowl discussion that was very interesting.

    1 · April 17, 2013

  • Tam T.

    Which is best to aim for when sizing cards: (1) one acceptance criterion per card, (2) one days work per card, (3) one "meaningful" item of business value per card (following INVEST), (4) something else?

    1 · April 17, 2013

    • Neil K.

      Hi Tam. Great question. (1) is a great idea because it's a heuristic rather than an estimate, i.e. you keep slicing until you hit 1 acceptance test, so you haven't actually estimated anything. (2) is an estimate of sorts - beware of the mythical 10-minute developer task! (3) sounds interesting; could potentially be "big", but worth exploring and measuring. Trying out new heuristics and seeing how they affect throughput is a great idea.

      April 17, 2013

  • Ed W.

    We possibly hit a new high for engagement, last night. If you want to know what you missed check #NoEstimates on Twitter, and Neil's slides http://www.slideshare.net/neilkillick/alternatives-to-agile-estimation

    Video was taken, the link for this will likely be posted here soon.

    1 · April 17, 2013

  • Abi B.

    Most interesting topic

    1 · April 17, 2013

  • Julian S.

    Controversial much

    1 · April 17, 2013

  • Chris C.

    Thanks Neil. Great discussion. And Rally for the catering.

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • Neil K.

    The engagement level and support blew me away.

    April 16, 2013

  • James H.

    Great discussion and presentation.

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for a great night and well done Neil: You handled a very controversial topic well. Good solid debate.

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good presentation with some different ideas.

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • gurjit singh t.

    Great

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • Tam T.

    Great conversations. It ended all too soon.

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • Apeksha

    That was a pretty interesting discussion with some great ideas to ponder at..:)

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great meetup everyone. Allot of good discussions and insights!

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • Reginald de S.

    Hi Neil,

    Apologies - I won't be able to make it tonight and it sounds like a great topic.

    Still getting over jet lag and a bit of a cold.
    :(

    See you soon.

    Cheers,
    Reg

    April 16, 2013

  • Craig W B.

    Neil and team, I am unable to make this session, despite it promising to be one of the more interesting meetups we have held.

    Would you be up for *live-tweeting* the conversation on the #auscrum hashtag so that us unfortunates can track the session?

    April 15, 2013

    • Craig W B.

      And teeth!

      April 16, 2013

    • Ed W.

      I'll use #noestimates

      April 16, 2013

  • Ed W.

    Neil. Where will discussions continue after we are kicked out of NAB?

    April 16, 2013

  • Clive

    I really wanted to come to this but I have got a cold now. Sorry.

    April 16, 2013

  • Jennifer T.

    Wow Neil iam so excited to come to your presentation. Look forward to see everyone there :-)

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • Neil K.

    Hi all, unfortunately we have not been able to secure catering for tonight's session, so I would advise you grab something before you come if you're likely to get hungry. There will be tea, coffee and biscuits though I hear :)

    April 16, 2013

  • Alistair C.

    Dying of curiosity - any willing/able to mention a few highlights, or Ahas! or insights? (don't need an entire recap)

    1 · April 16, 2013

  • Tad O.

    sorry can't make it tonight

    April 16, 2013

  • Alistair C.

    Building on the qustion posed by Dale Emery on FB about why we ask for estimates, I find that buried inside the question of estimates is the question of precision: To how many decimal places are we asking for the answer? I suspect that within our answers is a tacit answer to that question. I would like to make it explicit ---- so when/if you reply, consider how the # decimal places changes your answer.(e.g In home remodeling and software projects, I look for about 1.5 decimal places, something like that.) Will this aspect of the Q fit in your fishbowl?

    April 15, 2013

    • Alistair C.

      Thx Neil. Cool. Have a good discussion.

      April 15, 2013

    • Ed W.

      Perhaps an appropriate analogy from public transportation would be where the frequency of services is such that I don't have to worry when the next train/bus is.

      1 · April 16, 2013

  • Apeksha

    Hello...A software professional who has just recently moved to Melbourne.This would be my first meetup.Looking fwd for this.

    1 · April 15, 2013

  • Darren J.

    Bummed to miss this one
    Thought it was Wednesday

    April 15, 2013

  • Imran

    Waiting to see whats next ?

    April 15, 2013

  • Clive

    I'm an experienced Test Analyst looking to expand my Agile knowledge.

    1 · April 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately I forgot I was running my own meetup!

    1 · April 14, 2013

    • Neil K.

      Ha, oh no! Never mind, I'll upload the slides afterwards. Also I'll be presenting at Agile Australia on the same topic :)

      April 14, 2013

  • Alistair C.

    As one of the authors of the Manifesto, I can tell that this sentence makes my blood curdle. Have no idea how it came into existence: "if you have to tell a manager how much it will cost and how long it will take you are not doing Agile." When I hear that in a company, I often respond with, "In that case, I'll short sell stock in your company."

    April 13, 2013

    • Alistair C.

      yes, sadly, i do hear it quite often, and it never has made any sense to me.

      April 13, 2013

    • David S.

      Although I agree that the 2 aren't mutually exclusive, it seems to me as though this sentence would typically be used to prevent managers from holding IT departments accountable to their original estimates so I'm not surprised that it gets used a lot.

      April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm curious if it will be necessary to have the 5 minute time box. For most Fishbowls I've been a part of it, the transitions happen when they're going to happen. Someone may want to come in earlier than the 5 minute mark OR no one may want to come in right at the 5 minute mark.

    1 · April 13, 2013

    • Neil K.

      Who cares about whether we're agile, "doing Agile" or "being Agile" or not? Always strikes me as odd when people make "Agile" their goal rather than a way of helping them achieve their goals. I care about being effective, helping others to create value in stifled organisations, questioning the status quo and getting better at what I do.

      April 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I can help facilitate if you want. There are other suggested tips like talking to each other and not directly to the audience.

      2 · April 13, 2013

  • Alistair C.

    away from that to what?

    April 13, 2013

  • Pavel D.

    Interesting topic. Has the silver bullet been found?

    1 · April 10, 2013

    • Neil K.

      No silver bullet unfortunately :( But there are certainly alternatives to story points and other forms of deterministic estimation.

      April 10, 2013

    • Abi B.

      This has been Agile's greatest weakness from a Senior Management perspective (CIO, CEO, CFO...). I'm very keen on practical responses for Senior Management. It is not easy.

      2 · April 11, 2013

  • Neil K.

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to include a fishbowl discussion on Tuesday. I need 4 or 5 (minimum) volunteers to be on the starting panel.

    We will then timebox discussions for 5 mins, at which point someone drops out and is replaced by someone else. So if we have a starting queue that's great, otherwise people can join in on the night.

    Give me a yell if you'd like to be involved.

    1 · April 11, 2013

    • Neil K.

      Cheers mate. Perhaps you can start as facilitator and then we can swap in and out of the discussion as and when needed :)

      April 11, 2013

    • Bernd S.

      Yeah, swapping is tricky. We will figure something out on Monday.

      April 11, 2013

  • Neil K.

    Can anyone provide a venue and catering for this event?

    April 3, 2013

  • Peter H.

    Will be my third day in Melbourne.

    1 · April 3, 2013

  • Kevin B.

    When is an estimate not an estimate?
    ... When it's accurate of course.

    3 · March 12, 2013

    • Paul H.

      Ahhh, but you can only tell if the estimate was accurate after the activity has been completed, by then it's no longer an estimate its a fact... :-)

      2 · April 2, 2013

  • Neil Killick changed the date and time from Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:00 PM to Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    March 18, 2013

Our Sponsors

  • Tabar

    Community events, Training and Consulting

  • Aconex

    Aconex is proud to be a regular and reliable host to this meetup.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy