I’m getting very excited for the XP2011 conference coming up in Madrid in May. I was also very excited to have my lightning talk on range estimation accepted to the conference. If you’ll be at the conference, I hope you’ll stop by! My lightning talk is in the Decision Making section, room S242, on Wednesday May 11th at 15:30!
When we use single point estimates with our bosses or clients, we are falsely communicating that we believe in a certain estimate with 100% confidence. Managers have trained us to work this way, but then they wonder why they often can’t trust a team’s estimates? This lightning talk will focus on how to have a more honest conversation that accurately conveys risk and uncertainty. Of course it’s tough to have a more honest conversation if management does not see benefit in changing the basis of the conversation, and so we will also explore ways to convince the enterprise that it is in everyone’s best interest to consider a more honest way to communicate estimates.
Outline: This will be based in part on a talk I gave at Agile2010 on how to build range estimation in Scrum practices. After delivering that talk several times at user groups, I have learned that people are interested not only in the more technical aspects of how to build a range estimate into scrum practices, but also the wider implications and how to get management buy-in. Therefore this presentation will be a little more high level and will cover a wider range of ways to use range estimates and how to get buy-in on their use.
• The pitfalls of single point estimation,
• Range estimates are an information radiator – they convey risk and uncertainty,
• Techniques for using range estimates in Agile and Scrum,
• Managing up: how range estimates help your organization to make better decisions.
I will consolidate these key points into the most essential and actionable items so that they fit within the lightning talk format.