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Kanban Global Summit

San Diego — Week of March 14 2022


Originally scheduled for spring of 2020, the Global Kanban Summit was yet another causality of the pandemic. Rescheduled for later in the year, and then pushed into 2021, we now have a firm date of March 14 through 16 2022 at the Rancho San Bernardo Inn, San Diego. Kanban Global Summit will be a live event!

It’s be great when the time finally comes to raise a glass together! My talk will be about Service Discovery.

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Feedback and the Story of Phineas Guage

Flowconf Istanbul — Online 2020


If an Agile Transformation Initiative is going to improve our ability to deliver value to the business, then we should be able to tell the story of that value in the P&L. It’s true that, under the best of circumstances, the P&L traditionally aggregates cost accounting metrics, while being blind to the value delivered by productivity initiatives. These shortcomings of tradition cost accounting have been taken by Agile advocates as license to just tell a good story in place of doing the hard work of verifiable quantitative analysis.

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Operational Definitions

Drupalcamp Colorado — Online 2020


The goal of an IT organization is to help the business show a profit through the delivery of valuable software. As we consider our process, instead of thinking in terms of projects, think in terms of capabilities needed to complete the work. The concept of capability implies measurability. Measurements taken from a stable process establishes a baseline for predictability. Predictability is needed to support planning, including budgeting. Yet we find that accurate communication about what is meant by capability is a significant problem.

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Feedback and the Story of Phineas Guage

Enterprise Agility Europe — Online 2020


We started with the highest of hopes. We were destined for great things. We were going to plow that green field. We weren’t going to be bound to any rigid process. I’ll spare you the details, because if you stop and reflect for just a moment on your own experience with these sorts of things, you probably already known where we were headed.

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Continuous Delivery as Agile Successor

Atlassian Summit — Online 2020


Agile is effective and has become the standard of practice. Embracing change, coding in short sprints, an emphasis on automated testing and short feedback loops; all these things lead to improvements in quality and productivity. A decade from now, we’ll still be improving on it, but the principle benefits are realizable today by organizations and teams that take it seriously. But you’ll have noticed that software teams today haven’t exactly run out of problems as a result.

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Tuning into Predictability

Covid Cancellation


The whole point of estimation is to support decisions. If an estimate doesn’t help resolve uncertainty about a decision we have to make, then it doesn’t have any value. When pro forma estimates are taken as performance targets it tends to result in negative value. But there is substantial value in the estimation process when is is understood as a a quantitatively expressed reduction of uncertainty based on observations.

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Avoiding the Best Practices Trap

Covid Cancellation


Agile development process is routinely overlaid in an attempt to bring order out of chaos, sometimes to good effect, but often resulting in fragmentation of important but undeclared processes. The future value of some fully-realized agile work-place may not make up for the losses incurred in laying down a new process. The problem is not necessarily in the new process but in how it is applied.

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Tuning into Predictability

Kanban Eurasia — Minsk, Belarus 2020


You might recognize him as the figure on the US fifty dollar bill. Ulysses S. Grant, the general who ultimately led the Union victory over the rebel army of Robert E. Lee, one hundred and fifty five years ago. Grant started as a commander in the West at a time when most of the fighting was way back east. He showed some initiative and won some battles, and was promoted, but he was still under the control of the general back east. The committee of Washington generals sent him his orders: occupy the railroad lines to deny their use to the rebels. Back in Washington, that had big table top maps complete with cities and the connecting rail lines, with little figures to represent the soldiers.

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Continuous Delivery

Clujhub — Cluj-Napoca Romania 2020


Agile is effective and has become the standard of practice. Embracing change, coding in short sprints, an emphasis on automated testing and short feedback loops; all these things lead to improvements in quality and productivity. A decade from now, we’ll still be improving on it, but the principle benefits are realizable today by organizations and teams that take it seriously. But you’ll have noticed that software teams today haven’t exactly run out of problems as a result.

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Estimation as Uncertainty Reduction

Laracon Amsterdam 2019


What is this estimation thing anyway? The whole point of estimation is to support decisions. If an estimate doesn’t help resolve uncertainty about a decision we have to make, then it doesn’t have any value. When pro forma estimates are taken as performance targets it tends to result in a negative value. But there is substantial value in the estimation process when is understood as a quantitatively expressed reduction of uncertainty based on observations.

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