Agile KC, August: Forecast Completion Dates with Monte Carlo

Agile KC
Agile KC
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The guesswork involved in estimation is not working out well in software development. Even relative estimation techniques rely a lot on guesswork that later turns out to be inaccurate. In the quest for the holy grail of "reliable estimation techniques," a number of agile software teams are turning to Monte Carlo simulations. Monte Carlo relies solely on your team's actual speed with no guesswork involved and can let you know about potentially missed deadlines months in advance.

Although tools exist to run Monte Carlo simulations, many people don't know you can do them in Excel, or even with dice and a pencil! Once you understand the simplicity of how Monte Carlo works, you'll be able to apply it to a variety of scenarios (stay away from the race track, though). In this session, Phil Ledgerwood will show you how Monte Carlo works by using the last Kansas City Chiefs season to forecast the Super Bowl, then applying the same principles to forecast when a batch of user stories will be done. If you've ever had tense conversations about deadlines with your team or stakeholders, Monte Carlo simulations can help.

Phil is a Senior Partner at Integrity Inspired Solutions where he manages projects, coaches clients and teams, transforms organizations, and codes like a fiend.

He has seen software development agility in Kansas City evolve from a new concept that needed selling to a foregone conclusion. Still, many organizations still need mentoring, practical direction, and quantifiable results in this area, and that's why we still can't get him to shut up.

Professionally, his interests are in the evolution of agile project management and software architectures that facilitate agile workflows. Personally, his interests are in the category of Nerd Stuff.