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[ Agile ] What if you fail to meet the iteration deadline ?

Pho Tek
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Joined: Nov 05, 2000
Posts: 761

Hi,

I've just started reading Jim Highsmith's APM book and I have a question to ask: Imagine that we've identifed a project which will take over 30 iterations. What should happen if one of the iterations with an uncertainty factor of "Routine" becomes "fluctuating". In this case, the developer might have underestimated the feature and now, he/she cannot meet the initial estimates for iteration x. What does an agile project manager do ?

Thanks

Pho


Regards,

Pho
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
I haven't read that book yet, but in my opinion the sensible way for the project manager to react is to take that new information and incorporate it into the project plan to make it more accurate. That is, correct the estimate for misestimated task, think about wether that new experience suggests to overthink other points of the plan and replan the features appropriately.

Does that sound reasonable?


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Pho Tek
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Joined: Nov 05, 2000
Posts: 761

Ilja,

Yes, in fact re-planning is the most sensible thing to do.

I personally think the possible root cause of this happening is that the developer is new to adaptive methods: in which honest communication is required. Sometimes developers want to impress their peers and can be somewhat unrealistic. A new PM who has not worked with the developer is unable to predict this.

I've been googling around and this PDF article recommends a retrospective meeting at the end of each iteration.
Pho Tek
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Joined: Nov 05, 2000
Posts: 761

By golly, this website is awesome.

A web-site dedicated to growing the practice of looking back to move forward.
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Pho Tek:
I personally think the possible root cause of this happening is that the developer is new to adaptive methods: in which honest communication is required. Sometimes developers want to impress their peers and can be somewhat unrealistic. A new PM who has not worked with the developer is unable to predict this.


Yes, that's one of the possible reasons. Another is that the developer(s) simply were mistaken with their estimates. "To err is human."

I've been googling around and this PDF article recommends a retrospective meeting at the end of each iteration.


Yes, iteration retrospective are a very powerful tool to improve the process personal practices (or to just adapt them to the current circumstances)!
Ilja Preuss
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Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Pho Tek:
By golly, this website is awesome.


The book is quite good, too: http://www.coderanch.com/t/93530/Book-Reviews/Project-Retrospectives-Normal-Kerth
Stan James
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Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
Saying there are 30 iterations planned is interesting, too. The more there are, the less certain they are for sure. You can solidly plan one or two and tentatively plan the next couple but I'd guess it's usually not much worth doing any detail on the rest. Saying that there are 30 (or any number) is betting that your velocity will hold true to some expectation. If one iteration comes in under the expectation it might be an isolated technical problem or one poor estimate. If a few in a row come in under expectation, it's time to adjust the scope or the number of iterations.

BTW: You can surely go for too few iterations, too. We had a couple releases scheduled for two iterations, way too short for our imperfect test & feedback loop!


A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
 
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