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HoA #51: Fast, #NoWaste Agile Estimating w/ Ron Lichty

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HoA #51: Fast, #NoWaste Agile Estimating w/ Ron Lichty



“If only Agile had a way to predict when things would be done…” clients have said to Ron.

The thing is, Ron points out, Agile does have a way to predict when things will be done. Even better, it’s remarkably easy. And in fact better (possibly an order of magnitude better!) than any other approach his teams have ever used.

He claims he even had a product owner say, “I didn’t know estimating could be FUN!”

Relative sizing (true relative sizing) combined with velocity (the averaged pace of a stable team’s accomplished work per sprint) lets anyone march down the backlog and predict: “we’ll be about here on August 26th”, and ask, “do we have the right stuff above the line?” It’s not magic. (But it works like magic!)

Some agilists tell us that estimating does not provide value. Unfortunately, execs keep asking us for estimates! It turns out, we can reply with remarkably helpful answers using techniques that are useful not only for estimating but also for chartering and even team-building.

During this workshop, we’ll use a simulation to actually practice estimating that works.

By attending this session, you will:

  • Understand why absolute estimating is futile
  • Effectively execute relative sizing yourself
  • Understand the prerequisites for effective estimating
  • Avoid the pitfalls agile teams too often fall into that undercut effective estimating
  • Combine relative sizing and measures of velocity to predict what will be completed and when.

Meet Ron Lichty

Ron Lichty, based in San Francisco and Seattle, consults with software and product teams and organizations globally to make software development “hum”. Ron’s fifth book, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams, published by Addison Wesley, has been compared by many readers to programming classics The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware. Ron also co-authors the periodic Study of Product Team Performance.

Principal and owner of Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc., he has trained teams in Scrum, transitioned teams from waterfall to agile, coached teams already using agile to make their software development "hum", and trained managers in managing software people and teams. He takes on interim VP Engineering roles and to other clients provides VPE-level guidance and advice to untangle the knots in software development and transform chaos to clarity.

He has led teams and organizations at companies like Apple Computer, Fujitsu, Charles Schwab, Avenue A / Razorfish, Forensic Logic, Stanford, Check Point, and dozens of startups of all sizes. He co-chairs the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community, Managing Software Teams in Seattle, and the Enterprise Agile Global Community.

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