Agile, Agile Estimating

Are #NoEstimates #UnCanadian ?

playing-hockey-lake-louise

Yep, I’ve come to realize that part of my trouble to rationalize the No Estimates movement is that they are UnCanadian. There are some things that become a part of you when you live and Canada and especially in the Canadian Prairies. Let me explain.

Schedule

As Canadians in the middle of the continent, schedules define our lives. It snows in late October and is bitterly cold December, January, February, and March. If I didn’t have a schedule that let me know spring will arrive in late March I am sure I would go crazy. In many ways, a schedule is the only thing holding our psyche together when we are shoveling 30 centimetres of snow with a windchill of -40. Like how can it possibly snow when it is that cold? We as a nation as obsessed with weather forecasts. If Meteorologists turned up tomorrow and said they were not forecasting anymore beyond today, I would go to some dark, dank corner of my mind in February.

I need a schedule. I need it to give me hope. 🙂

Maps

When you live in a country this vast, a map is a requirement. Trust me, the last thing you want to do is get caught in some small town with out a Tim Hortons in the middle of winter. So as a consequence, I have this inherent need to know where I am in relation to where I thought I would be. In all seriousness, getting caught in the middle of winter not making your destination is a matter of life and death. Getting caught out in the elements will get you killed. More than anything we respect the power of nature.

So I think this Canadian life has ingrained on me that I need a map of the projects I work on. I need it to guide me and in some very real way, I feel lost and vulnerable without it.

Soccer

Canada is not a Soccer nation. Never will be. Oh sure we have some very talented players now coming up and we will continue to get better, but Soccer will never enthrall this nation like Hockey. Why? I’d hazard a guess is because part of the charm of Hockey is the combination of the skill, tenacity, and toughness. Hockey is the only sport that has a ‘diving’ penalty – where it is a penalty if you are trying to fake an infraction. Yes, I know that Soccer now has a ‘simulation’ penalty, but if you can’t even label the penalty as something shameful, how committed are you to changing the behaviour?

To be blunt, adopting No Estimates because estimates are hard to do and error prone, seems to be like falling down in the penalty area just to get a free kick. Yes, it might be easier and make projects go smoother for developers, but is it right?

No thanks. I’ll carry on, drink my Tim Hortons, fight through tackles and get better at estimating. I’d rather lose the right way than win on a penalty kick.

About Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

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