Combining Traditional and Agile Estimation

Can you combine traditional and agile estimation? There is nothing magical about “classical” estimation. There are a few basic concepts to keep track of:

  • Bottom up versus top down
  • Expert estimation versus parametric estimation
  • Best – worst – expected case

I think the most common method for traditional estimation is to go top-down using successive estimation which means that when something is to big or uncertain, you break it down into component tasks and estimate them recursively. If you are familiar with Planning Poker you can easily combine it with this approach:

  1. Start with your user stories + other backlog items then FOR EACH
  2. Estimate it with PP, if too big or to wide spread it is an Epic. Break it down into smaller stories (this creates your WBS) and GOTO 2
  3. Now that your item is sufficiently small, think about the worst case and estimate it again
  4. Now think about the best case, estimate again
  5. Calculate the weighted average as (best + 4* “normal” + worst) / 6

Not so different from “pure” Planning Poker, is it? There are a few improvements you can do though — instead of using three estimates for each item, you could use the spread of estimates you already have from PP as a basis for your probability distribution.

What is the proper size and time for an Agile Retrospective?

I often hear the same complaint about Agile Retrospectives: They are not held at the right level in the organization! Or, at least, that is the conclusion that people draw from one fact: Many issues brought up in the Retrospective need resolution at a much higher level in the organization. There is no one in the room who can address or resolve them. Continue reading

Evidence Based Software Engineering

Is it possible to do controlled process experiments in software? That was the question asked in the Kanbandev group over at Yahoo groups. We need evidence to support the practices we use in software development. After all we are talking about a serious business with an annual value of about 500 TUSD.

How detailled should a test case be?

I sort of remembered a very interesting article about one-liner test cases at testzonen.se. I have blogged about it before, but perhaps it is worth repeating myself? The idea is that detailled (manual, scripted) test cases are uninteresting, limit creativity and are expensive to maintain. The solution is to create “one liner” test cases instead. What about test documentation? If testing actions are recorded during execution then the documentation can be created afterwards.

I guess this goes to show that there is no one size fits all in testing. The right tool should be used at the right time to reach the right goal – which of course is to find bugs early rather than late.

Agile is Always Appropriate

Sometimes, people tell me that “Agile is not appropriate” in this or that context. I believe that’s plain wrong. Agile, as seen from the basic principles, is always appropriate. That doesn’t mean that all versions of agile are appropriate in all situations. And it doesn’t mean that you will be sucessful just because you use agile. And saying that you are agile doesn’t mean that you are. Are you agile? Perhaps this is the source of the confusion?

A good meeting? Using a good meeting invitation template? Perhaps. But the setting is nice.

Use a Good Meeting Invitation Template

Have you ever been to a really good meeting? The kind of meeting where you gain a sense of direction and unity? Perhaps a few, but if your experience is anywhere like mine most meetings you visited have felt like a waste of everybodys’ time. I’ve noticed that organizers who use a good meeting invitation template have better meetings. I’ve decided to share my meeting invitation template here. Continue reading

Test Driven Development: Ten Years Later - Steve Freeman, Michael Feathers

TDD Improves Quality

TDD improves quality! That might sound obvious, but evidently it isn’t. Test driven development (TDD) is often cited as a key agile practice (1,2). But still, the evidence has been equivocal until now. Continue reading

Does corporate inertia keep you on Windows 98? Virtualization may help but upgrade might be even better.

Corporate Inertia – No Special Needs for IT

In 2000, I worked on upgrading our laptops and desktops from Windows 95 to Windows 98. The project was completed in 2001. By that time it would have been much better to have moved directly to Windows 2000. That was my first but certainly not my last encounter with corporate inertia. Why do corporations accumulate this kind of inertia? Why don’t they strive to remain agile at all costs? Continue reading

Oscar Wilde - author of the quote "What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

To know the price of all things, but the value of none

I keep getting annoyed by how corporations are so compartementalized that income and cost are handled by totally different departments. What is the effect? The effect is that the cost departments focus solely on cost at the expense of income.

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Oscar Wilde
Continue reading

A selection of repeating tiles.

Regression Test Selection Twenty Years

Last year Regression Test Selection celebrated its twentieth year as a field of research. It was in 1993 that G Rothermel and MJ Harrold published their seminal paper on regression test selection. With Continuous Integration being the top agile practice, RTS remains important. How did scholars celebrate “regression test selection twenty years”? Continue reading

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