Nik

Nik has written 392 posts for niksilver.com

Delivering incremental value in an investigation

How do we tackle a piece of investigation in an incremental manner? It’s much easier when we’re delivering a tangible thing—we stand up at our show and tell, and say “Last time we showed you we could do X, now we can show you we can also do Y.” But for investigation work it’s not … Continue reading

There’s trouble in MoSCoW

Most project teams I work with prioritise their work in a simple order: most important, second most important, etc. But sometimes people still use the MoSCoW method, and I find this leads to problems. MoSCoW stands for Must, Should, Could, Won’t—it’s a way of categorising deliverables into one of four buckets. The Musts get done … Continue reading

Expressing value statements with measures

A short time ago I wrote about the importance of having a value statement, which is a short statement of the value that a project (or programme or team) is accountable for delivering, and which allows us to measure that value. But in practice it’s often difficult to have a short statement which also describes … Continue reading

The reusable component is the team

I was talking to some colleagues once about how to help a team move on from their current product and focus in a new direction. The team’s latest development was well received, but they were having trouble leaving it behind—they wanted to continue working on it according to their earlier plan when other priorities said … Continue reading

Separate strategic assumptions from goals

Previously I wrote about the importance of having a clear goal, in the form of a value statement. But in practice it’s tempting to confuse a goal with what I call a “strategic assumption”—and we shouldn’t do that. When I ask a project team what their goal is they usually suggest a number of things, … Continue reading

Being accountable for delivering value

There are lots of things that make an effective team, but one of the most important, I’ve found, is to make sure they have a clear and meaningful goal. Part of this is to separate the goal (or the benefit, or the value)¬†from the way they’ll achieve it (the solution), and then make them responsible … Continue reading

Justifying the time to collaborate

I was speaking to my friend Matt Hosking, recently, about the problems with making the time to collaborate when an organisation is in the process of adopting agile. We often speak to people who feel that collaboration, as emphasised by agile approaches, is an additional time sink. They feel they need to do all their … Continue reading

Quality assurance and testing

Quality assurance and testing are often confused in the digital world. People often talk about QAs being the people who test, and debate the merits of whether QAs should exist as a role separate to that of developers. But prior to that I find it’s important to distinguish between quality assurance and testing, so here … Continue reading

Moving from “if” we’ll deliver to “when”

On too many projects it’s easy to get caught in a debate about if we’ll deliver. There is some fixed point at which we’ll be judged—very likely a specific date—and when that happens we’ll look at what we’ve produced and see whether it matches our pre-defined threshold of “acceptable”. If delivery of “acceptable” is in … Continue reading

The value statement

Over the last 12 months I’ve worked increasingly with people to create what’s been termed a “value statement” for their various projects and programmes. Value statement isn’t my term (although it’s been used before for similar things [1], [2]) and I like it a lot. A value statement is a very simple statement of the … Continue reading