Ship new software products faster
About the Book
When building a new product, there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of pressure. Even in a larger company, where resources are theoretically unlimited, you have top-notch teams, and deep industry expertise, delivering new products requires a mix of numerical finesse in addition to team wrangling.
There’s many It’s possible to over- or under-resource teams, screw up scope with inconsistent expectations, or have unclear outcomes beyond making the new product a big success. Good starting point. But doesn’t make it clear what to do on a day-to-day basis.
This book covers velocity in significant detail using lots of real-world examples, case studies, and specific problems resolved using this framework. In addition, you will discover:
- Why your ability to release new products quickly as a company is a “do or die” factor in your company’s success
- How it’s possible for time passing to work to your benefit, rather than being something that holds you back
- How to figure out if your company’s systemic factors are slowing you down, and why this matters
- Why realized velocity lies at the root of hitting your team’s target dates
- How to approach debugging a team’s velocity, as it is a lagging metric by design
- Why progress relative to a direction matters with new products, as we should expect the milestones to shift many times on successful new products
- Why over-focusing on velocity can slow your team down, and what to do instead
Table of Contents
- 1. The one thing Steve Jobs did that turned around Apple
2. The Kindergarten, the Construction site, and the Assembly Line
- Here’s what happened
- What does this mean
- Choosing the metaphor works that best for your company
- Key Takeaways
3. Why “work time” reduction is futile
- This is most obvious in team ball sports.
- How does overemphasizing work time play out quantitatively?
- Key Takeaways
4. Why estimating cognitive effort simplifies knowledge work
- Relative Cognitive Effort is what we’re imagining.
- 1. Story points are not measures of developer time required.
- 2. Story points related to time are a lagging indicator for team performance.
- 3. Story Points assume you fix all bugs & address problems as you discover them.
- 4. One team’s trash is another team’s treasure.
- Wait, can’t Story Point estimation be gamed?
- Example: Adding technical scope to an already tight schedule
- While not perfect, Story Points are primarily a tool for capacity planning, not whip cracking.
5. The 2020 Guide to Planning New Products using Story Points
- 1. Estimate story points directly
- 2. Translate T-shirt sizes into story points
- 3. Ron Jeffries’ option of 2 days max/task
- 4. #NoEstimates
- Doesn’t all this estimation just mean there is less time to do the actual work?
- Case study: Distributed estimation
- Case study: use T-Shirts for first cut of backlog estimation, then translate to story points
- Case Study: Estimating roadmap items (to appease overachieving stakeholders)
- Case study: Nitty-gritty technical estimation in person
- Key takeaways
6. How to derive expected velocity from strategic dates
- I’ve found a simple tool to help straddle the vision with operational reality.
- An even simpler example
- The new technology case: B2B enterprise software example
- What actually needed to be built to fulfill the vision.
- Sizing the scope by numeric gut feel
- Case study
7. How to analyze the impact of velocity on your release date
- Case Study
- Step 1: Pull out the scope sizes from Jira
- Step 2: Create a key assumptions section
- Step 3: Fill out the remaining formulas to estimate your release date
- Step 4: Rinse and repeat for remaining versions on your backlog
- Step 5: Kick up the What If analysis using Excel’s scenario planner
8. How to determine if systemic factors slow down your teams’ velocity
- Local or global maximum?
- Three Examples of Systemic Factors
- 1. Resource Thrashing
- 2. Too many chiefs
- 3. Communication overhead
- Wait, so how do you get a globally optimal outcome if you can’t add either staffers or managers?
9. How to measure how much a software team is “gelling”
- What happened?
- What was different?
- Key takeaways
10. How to simplify a complicated process, so that even a 2.5 year old would understand them
- How it all started
- Wrap up and implementation
- What happened in practice
- Lessons learned
- 11. Why over-focussing on velocity causes the opposite effect
- 12. Checklist: How to speed up your software team
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