Roger Swannell

Tag: uncertainty

Risk assessment by certainty of cost and value

When assessing the risks of a new piece of work the questions should be around how certain are we about the cost and value of the work. The more certain we are about the cost of a piece of work and the value of the outcomes, the lower risk of the work. This leads to prioritising more certain work over less certain, and making more uncertain work less uncertain.

Certainty and uncertainty in value and duration

John Cutler tweeted about how he approaches forecasting with a team, and shared a Google Doc explaining the method.

One the second page was this:

This is important. It made me realise that initiatives can / should be considered / assesses / prioritised / forecasted on how certain or uncertain the value they will deliver is, and how certain or uncertain the duration is. Initiatives of unknown duration and unknown value are high risk compared to those of known value and known duration.

So, we need to have a reliable method for forecasting cycle time (not estimating effort time) to arrive at a known duration, and for establishing value (including cost of delay) as a known quantity.

Making these method of prioritisation explicit, reliable and robust is vital for across the organisation (not just within the digital department or within the scrum team) in order to be part of the mind shift towards delivering value continously.

Agile or not: dealing with uncertainty

After going to a ‘Scrum of scrums’ meeting this morning, and then watching how we tried to deal with an uncertain situation by trying to find certainty this afternoon, I was thinking about what it means to be ‘doing Agile’.

And in one of those synchronous moments (with the help of Twitter) I stumbled across a blog post called ‘Agile is dead‘. It wasn’t the post, it was the name of the blog that gave me a little light bulb moment; Extreme Uncertainty. It made me remember what Agile is really about. Agile is about dealing with uncertainty.

If you work in two week sprints but your way of working doesn’t help your team or organisation dealing with uncertainty, you aren’t Agile, whether you like it or not. If you do things that help your team or organisation deal effectively with uncertainty, then you’re Agile.

Copyright © 2019 Roger Swannell

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