Software Development Best Practices Blog

It’s Effort, Not Duration

A discussion on the LinkedIn Certified Scrum Master board led me to read an article on Mike Cohn’s blog titled, “It’s Effort, Not Complexity.” Mike argues that stakeholders don’t care about how hard it is to do something,...

  1. Posted on August 24, 2010 8:29:PM by Application Administrator to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, planning, estimation, Management

Dear Construx: Story Point Inflation Causes Ever-Expanding Project!

Dear Construx:   How do you deal with the risk of Story Point inflation throughout a Scrum project? My team goes through release planning, ending up with a backlog where each item has been estimated using story points. Based upon our estimates of story points and team velocity, we predict, and commit to, a release date. So far, so good. As our project progresses, the Product Owner breaks larger ‘epics’ into...

  1. Posted on August 9, 2010 6:22:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, planning, estimation, Management, practices

Determining Duration on Scrum Projects

One thing I’m often asked is, how do you come up with valid project estimates in Scrum? After all, Scrum doesn’t want you to worry about more than the current sprint, does it? The basic rule of estimation is, estimate size/effort/complexity and then derive duration. For Scrum, we follow the industry best practice of using story points, an arbitrary measure of relative effort/size/complexity that is not time-based. Let me explain by using one of the analogies from my training. It’s...

  1. Posted on August 6, 2010 5:41:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, Agile, Scrum, planning, estimation, Management


Welcome to the first post on my new software development blog! Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm an experienced software developer, tester, program and project manager, QA manager, and development team manager, with over two decades of experience in high tech. I've worked at small startups and the world's largest software company. I've written device drivers, OS portability layers, libraries, utilities, and UI components, for environments including CP/M-80, MS-DOS, Windows...

  1. Posted on July 14, 2009 5:53:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, planning, Management, practices

Estimation Does Matter

Recently, Mark over on the Agile Project Management Yahoo discussion list posted this little remark. “A feature will take *exactly* the same amount of time whether the estimates are "good" or "bad"! “I swear I'm going to print that on a 10 foot banner and hang it over my desk for our entire organization to see. “As a community, I believe we spend way too much time talking about estimation. A "good" estimate is never going to get a feature...

  1. Posted on April 20, 2009 11:17:AM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, planning, estimation, Management

Late Expectations

I don't like being late. I have never gotten into the habit of arriving well after the party starts (under the euphemism of being "fashionable", like you couldn't get your clothes on) nor sending birthday cards after the fact (though I do admit the belated birthday cards are often funnier). I tend to arrive to meetings a few minutes early, be one of the first guests at a party, and make my trains. (With my recent trip to Switzerland, being on time really helped with the train thing.)...

  1. Posted on August 21, 2007 9:00:AM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, humor, planning, estimation, Management

Lights... Camera... Arrrgg!

There seems to be a third thing certain in life besides death and taxes. That thing seems to be the fact that the moment some moron uses the product or software that I have been working on, they are going to do something stupid. My brilliant work of pristine intellectual purity which functions just the way I want it to will behave like a brakeless car in the hands of a drunken driven; it is going to crash. I don't know about you but when I release a product I have been working on, I want...

  1. Posted on April 28, 2007 7:52:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, humor, increments, defects, planning, Management