Thursday 24 November 2011

Over Committed to Commitment

Interesting post by Yuval Yeret

There's a lot in there, but what resonates with me is the danger in commitment becoming at best a "comfort blanket" for product owners, at worst a stick to beat teams with.

Developers seem to be a willing bunch, and often (in my experience) are too eager to please. Now that shouldn't be a bad thing, but it is when you commit to something that you cannot deliver. It easy to skip over the risks in any piece of development work when estimating, and risk is a very hard sell to the business. "Why are you asking me to invest in anticipating problems that might not occur?". Tricky one that.
So, we settle on the "Best Case" scenario as the likeliest outcome. Inevitably, the team will soon be trapped on the "Hamster Wheel of Death", never able to meet the "commitment".

What really matters to me is prioritisation. What gives the business most value, and how can the team best use their resources to ensure swift delivery of that value?

Rather than committing to a fixed number of points, commit to delivering the highest priority item as quickly as possible. Then do the same for the next item. Focus on rapid and continuous delivery of value, and you will feel the love.

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