In October 2014 I shared how I would start work on the second edition of Agile Project Management in easy steps. The last few months have been hectic, with my MBA studies, and starting a new job; but finally, last week, we got the final edits completed and the manuscript files have been handed over to the publishers. We’re just waiting for them to finish proofreading and giving a green light before we can announce the publication date, but it looks certain to be in May 2015.
We’ve all heard the reports that tell us how multi-tasking is not effective, how context-switching causes us unrecoverable down-time. We know from this that we need to be more tightly focused on a single goal (per sprint), one that we can organise our work around, one that more easily helps us know that what we’re doing will deliver something of value. That’s good as far as it goes.
Now I’m going to mess with that. I’m going to suggest that each and every sprint should have two goals.
Waterfall projects are more successful than agile projects. Wait! What?
For a university paper I am currently writing, I revisited the 2013 Chaos Manifesto. This report marked a watershed moment in the long history of the Standish Group and their biennial Chaos Reports that chart the factors that make projects successful.
What stood out for me, on this reading, was the diagram on page 25 that shows 49% of waterfall projects were successful, against 46% of agile projects.
You know when someone pulls out the packs of planning poker cards that you’re about to enter into a parallel universe where the normal rules of working life are temporarily suspended and we use a form of game-play to get us past the awkwardness of not wanting to estimate our backlog items.
I will be writing separately, soon, on how gamification makes Scrum, and other variants of agile projects, possible. For now, I would like us to consider those times when planning poker goes bad.