This category contains 56 posts

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

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

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

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

Traffic lights, roundabouts and decision-making

Last week I saw a presentation from Bjarte Bogsnes of Statoil, at a meeting about Beyond Budgeting, which offers “a management model that is more empowered and adaptive [and] releasing people from the burdens of stifling bureaucracy”. Part of they ethos of Beyond Budgeting is to bring decision-making back to the people who have direct … Continue reading

Agile teams have more responsibility with less planning

Some people think agile teams have less responsibility because the plans are looser. In fact the opposite it true. When organisations start their agile journey, there are—inevitably—slips and confusion along the way. One thing that often happens is that the reduced up-front detailed planning leaves those outside a team to think there is “no planning” … Continue reading

Burn-up charts create trust

Burn-up charts are very powerful—they show progress against reality very clearly. A colleague once told me that his boss much preferred the burn-up charts he saw than the more traditional reports other managers gave him, because the burn-up charts gave him confidence based on hard data, whereas other reports were more vague and had milestones … Continue reading