This category contains 158 posts

Deploy first, build after

There’s a lesson I learned a long time ago, and which I still find useful: deploy first, build after. Many years ago, when I was working with Mat Wall, we were building a system which, er, did something. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I think it probably involved an FTP server, which … Continue reading

Who defines your process?

When someone introduces a process it’s usually to help them. If top-level management introduces a process for people on the ground then there’s a danger it will help the top team at the expense of the people on the ground delivering effectively. In our organisations we all want comprehensible processes. We want to be able … Continue reading

Mundane success

Once upon a time it was common for my teams and I to work longer and longer days as we approached a deadline, releasing successfully, and getting a real buzz from it. That was before I learned about how to deliver things incrementally and iteratively. Then things became a lot less exciting. I remember one … Continue reading

Product owners and technical decisions

Sometimes a development team has to make a technical decision. Actually, a development team has to make techical decisions all the time, and 99% of the time those decisions are focused entirely on the development process and therefore entirely at the discretion of the developers. But sometimes it’s not so easy. Perhaps they are thinking … Continue reading

Trust from delivery

Trust might seem like a nebulous thing, but it’s based on very concrete things. Some time ago I was lucky enough to be part of a workshop run by Laurence Wood, discussing this issue of trust with some senior executives. I’ve always been struck by Laurence’s thoughtfulness and his deep concern for people’s needs, and … Continue reading


In the tech industry we’re reasonably good at capturing needs. Sometimes we skip the needs (or assume them) and go straight to requirements. That’s not great, but the intention is roughly the same: an expression of what (we believe) people need. We even have people for whom this is a significant part of their job. … Continue reading

Flat pack estimation

It’s well-established within the agile world that delivery teams—and particularly individuals—are terrible at estimation. We do estimate, still, and hopefully we get better with time, comparing forthcoming work with past examples, for instance. But it often remains a wonder to those outside the immediacy of delivery teams just how misjudged our estimations can be. “It’s … Continue reading

Evaluating prioritisation methods

The other day I was discussing prioritisation with a colleague, and in particular talking about cost of delay and weighted shortest job first (WSJF). When deciding how to prioritise it’s very useful to calculate cost of delay divided by duration (CD3). By sequencing our work by that metric we get the greatest economic benefit. WSJF … Continue reading

The three dimensional progress report

A programme manager colleague once told me about the report he created to keep his programme board up to date with progress. It was a room. On the walls of the room were all kinds of charts and pictures which collectively told the story of the work in progress. It showed the context, the high … Continue reading

Mistaking frameworks as toolkits

The other day I was watching Craig Larman discuss the LeSS framework for large scale agile development. In the video he says many prescritive frameworks address compliance by saying it’s just a buffet and you can take what you want. He went on to say that in practice that often doesn’t work, “for whatever reason”. … Continue reading