This category contains 64 posts

Granularity of project governance frameworks

I’ve worked with a few organisations that wanted to create a framework for reporting on and governing projects or programmes. The intention is generally good: we have lots of projects and programmes across the organisation; if we can standardise the approach to governing them and reporting upwards then we can ensure they are run to … Continue reading

Ensure degrees of success

The other week I was on a train going across the country, and while it was stopped at a station the train manager made an announcement. “I realise this is unusual,” he said, “but we’re running ahead of schedule…” There was some laughter from the other passengers. But I was slightly surprised by what followed, … Continue reading

Seeing the product as a constraint

Last week I wrote about separating the value of a project from the constraints that set its context. But sometimes it’s also useful to see the development of a product as a constraint for a larger goal. Some time ago I was discussing success metrics with a team that was developing a product. The product … Continue reading

Distinguish value and constraints

In the past I’ve spoken about the importance of a value statement. This is how we express, in quantified terms, how we measure success. Ensuring success is measurable brings huge benefits to any stream of work. But the process of identifying our measure of success can be difficult. In doing so we may consider and … Continue reading

The cost of new technology

When a development team introduces new technology to solve a problem, they are adding a long term cost, too, even though it may not be obvious. This is one way that a technical decision is a business decision. Last week I was speaking to a friend about Erlang, a technology designed in the telecoms sector … 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

Should we stop to address technical debt…?

One of the questions that arises with many teams I work with is: Is it worth spending an iteration (or more) not delivering any features but just working on our technical debt? This is by no means the only way to deal with tech debt—most people (and I) favour addressing it a bit at a … Continue reading

Specific risk guidance is troublesome

I’ve been (re)reading a bit about “risk appetite” again recently. Some of the reading includes messages saying it’s a confusing term, it’s a bad idea, or that it’s a good idea that’s really important to manage properly [pdf]. One of the things that occurred to me during this is that it’s actually very difficult to … Continue reading

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