Agile Estimating and Planning (2011)

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Praise for "Agile Estimating and Planning" "Traditional, deterministic approaches to planning and estimating simply don't cut it on the slippery slopes of today's dynamic, change-driven projects. Mike Cohn's breakthrough book gives us not only the philosophy, but also the guidelines and a proven set of tools that we need to succeed in planning, estimating, and scheduling projects with a high uncertainty factor. At the same time, the author never loses sight of the need to deliver business value to the customer each step of the way. " Doug DeCarlo, author of "eXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility" (Jossey-Bass, 2004) "We know how to build predictive plans and manage them. But building plans that only estimate the future and then embrace change, challenge most of our training and skills. In " Agile Estimating and Planning , " Mike Cohn once again fills a hole in the Agile practices, this time by showing us a workable approach to Agile estimating and planning. Mike delves into the nooks and crannies of the subject and anticipates many of the questions and nuances of this topic. Students of Agile processes will recognize that this book is truly about agility, bridging many of the practices between Scrum and ExtremeProgramming. " Ken Schwaber, Scrum evangelist, Agile Alliance cofounder, and signatory to the Agile Manifesto "In "Agile Estimating and Planning", Mike Cohn has, for the first time, brought together most everything that the Agile community has learned about the subject. The book is clear, well organized, and a pleasant and valuable read. It goes into all the necessary detail, and at the same time keeps the reader's burden low. We can dig in as deeply as we need to, without too much detail before we need it. The book really brings together everything we have learned about Agile estimation and planning over the past decade. It will serve its readers well. " Ron Jeffries, www. XProgramming. com, author of "Extreme Programming Installed "(Addison-Wesley, 2001) and "Extreme Programming Adventures in C#" (Microsoft Press, 2004) "" Agile Estimating and Planning " provides a view of planning that's balanced between theory and practice, and it is supported by enough concrete experiences to lend it credibility. I particularly like the quote 'planning is a quest for value. ' It points to a new, more positive attitude toward planning that goes beyond the 'necessary evil' view that I sometimes hold. " Kent Beck, author of "Extreme Programming Explained, Second Edition" (Addison-Wesley, 2005) "Up-front planning is still the most critical part of software development. Agile software development requires Agile planning techniques. This book shows you how to employ Agile planning in a succinct, practical, and easy-to-follow manner. " Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software "Mike does a great follow-up to "User Stories Applied "by continuing to provide Agile teams with the practical approaches and techniques to increase agility. In this book, Mike provides time-proven and well-tested methods for being successful with the multiple levels of planning and estimating required by Agile. This book is the first to detail the disciplines of Agile estimating and planning, in ways that rival my 1980 civil engineering texts on CPM Planning and Estimating. " Ryan Martens, President and Founder, Rally Software Development Corporation "With insight and clarity, Mike Cohn shows how to effectively produce software of high business value. With Agile estimation and planning, you focus effort where it really counts, and continue to do so as circumstances change. " Rick Mugridge, Rimu Research Ltd. , and lead author, "Fit for Developing Software" (Prentice Hall, 2005) "Finally The groundbreaking book my clients have been clamoring for " Agile Estimating and Planning " demystifies the process of defining, driving, and delivering great software that matters to the business. Mike's clarity, insight, and experience leap out through every page of this book, offering an approach that is relevant and immediately useful to all members of an Agile project. " Kert D. Peterson, President, Enterprise Agile Group, LLC "This isn't yet another generic book on Agile software development. "Agile Estimating and Planning" fills a gap left by most of the other books and gives you important, practical, down-to-earth techniques needed to be successful on Agile development projects. " Steve Tockey, Principal Consultant, Construx Software "Estimation, planning, and tracking is a trinity. If you don't do one of them, you don't need the other two. This book provides very practical knowledge for estimation, planning, prioritizing, and tracking. It should be compulsory subject matter for project managers and their teams, even if they hesitate to call themselves Agile. " Niels Malotaux, Project Coach "Effective planning is an important, but often misunderstood, part of any successful Agile project. With " Agile Estimating and Planning , " Mike Cohn has given us a definitive guide to a wide range of Agile estimating and planning practices. With his clear and practical style, Mike not only explains how to successfully get started planning an Agile project, but also provides a wealth of tips and advice for improving any team's Agile planning process. This book is a must-read for managers, coaches, and members of Agile teams. " Paul Hodgetts, Agile coach and CEO, Agile Logic "Mike's writing style captures the essence of agility-just the right amount of information to bring clarity to the reader. This book provides an excellent guide for all Agile practitioners, both seasoned and novice. " Robert Holler, President and CEO, VersionOne, LLC "It is as if Mike took the distilled knowledge regarding planning and estimation of a great Agile developer (which he is) and laid out all he knows in an easily understandable manner. M Table of Contents: About the Author xvii Foreword by Robert C. Martin xix Foreword by Jim Highsmith xxi Foreword by Gabrielle Benefield xxv Acknowledgments xxvii Introduction xxix Part I: The Problem and the Goal 1 Chapter 1: The Purpose of Planning 3 Why Do It? 5 What Makes a Good Plan? 8 What Makes Planning Agile? 9 Summary 10 Discussion Questions 10 Chapter 2: Why Planning Fails 11 Planning Is by Activity Rather Than Feature 12 Multitasking Causes Further Delays 15 Features Are Not Developed by Priority 17 We Ignore Uncertainty 17 Estimates Become Commitments 18 Summary 18 Discussion Questions 19 Chapter 3: An Agile Approach 21 An Agile Approach to Projects 23 An Agile Approach to Planning 27 Summary 31 Discussion Questions 32 Part II: Estimating Size 33 Chapter 4: Estimating Size with Story Points 35 Story Points Are Relative 36 Velocity 38 Summary 40 Discussion Questions 41 Chapter 5: Estimating in Ideal Days 43 Ideal Time and Software Development 44 Ideal Days as a Measure of Size 46 One Estimate, Not Many 46 Summary 47 Discussion Questions 47 Chapter 6: Techniques for Estimating 49 Estimates Are Shared 51 The Estimation Scale 52 Deriving an Estimate 54 Planning Poker 56 Why Planning Poker Works 59 Summary 60 Discussion Questions 60 Chapter 7: Re-Estimating 61 Introducing the SwimStats Website 61 When Not to Re-Estimate 62 When to Re-Estimate 64 Re-Estimating Partially Completed Stories 66 The Purpose of Re-Estimating 67 Summary 67 Discussion Questions 67 Chapter 8: Choosing between Story Points and Ideal Days 69 Considerations Favoring Story Points 69 Considerations Favoring Ideal Days 72 Recommendation 73 Summary 74 Discussion Questions 75 Part III: Planning for Value 77 Chapter 9: Prioritizing Themes 79 Factors in Prioritization 80 Combining the Four Factors 86 Some Examples 86 Summary 88 Discussion Questions 89 Chapter 10: Financial Prioritization 91 Sources of Return 93 An Example: WebPayroll 96 Financial Measures 102 Comparing Returns 108 Summary 109 Discussion Questions 109 Chapter 11: Prioritizing Desirability 111 Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction 112 Relative Weighting: Another Approach 117 Summary 119 Discussion Questions 120 Chapter 12: Splitting User Stories 121 When to Split a User Story 121 Splitting across Data Boundaries 122 Splitting on Operational Boundaries 124 Removing Cross-Cutting Concerns 125 Don't Meet Performance Constraints 126 Split Stories of Mixed Priority 127 Don't Split a Story into Tasks 127 Avoid the Temptation of Related Changes 128 Combining Stories 128 Summary 129 Discussion Questions 129 Part IV: Scheduling 131 Chapter 13: Release Planning Essentials 133 The Release Plan 134 Updating the Release Plan 138 An Example 139 Summary 142 Discussion Questions 143 Chapter 14: Iteration Planning 145 Tasks Are Not Allocated During Iteration Planning 147 How Iteration and Release Planning Differ 148 Velocity-Driven Iteration Planning 149 Commitment-Driven Iteration Planning 158 My Recommendation 162 Relating Task Estimates to Story Points 163 Summary 165 Discussion Questions 166 Chapter 15: Selecting an Iteration Length 167 Factors in Selecting an Iteration Length 167 Making a Decision 171 Two Case Studies 173 Summary 175 Discussion Questions 176 Chapter 16: Estimating Velocity 177 Use Historical Values 178 Run an Iteration 179 Make a Forecast 181 Which Approach Should I Use? 185 Summary 186 Discussion Questions 186 Chapter 17: Buffering Plans for Uncertainty 187 Feature Buffers 188 Schedule Buffers 189 Combining Buffers 198 A Schedule Buffer Is Not Padding 199 Some Caveats 199 Summary 200 Discussion Questions 201 Chapter 18: Planning the Multiple-Team Project 203 Establishing a Common Basis for Estimates 204 Adding Detail to User Stories Sooner 205 Lookahead Planning 206 Incorporating Feeding Buffers into the Plan 208 But This Is So Much Work 210 Summary 210 Discussion Questions 211 Part V: Tracking and Communicating 213 Chapter 19: Monitoring the Release Plan 215 Tracking the Release 216 Release Burndown Charts 219 A Parking-Lot Chart 224 Summary 225 Discussion Questions 226 Chapter 20: Monitoring the Iteration Plan 227 The Task Board 227 Iteration Burndown Charts 230 Tracking Effort Expended 231 Individual Velocity 232 Summary 232 Discussion Questions 233 Chapter 21: Communicating about Plans 235 Communicating the Plan 237 Communicating Progress 238 An End-of-Iteration Summary 241 Summary 244 Discussion Questions 245 Part VI: Why Agile Planning Works 247 Chapter 22: Why Agile Planning Works 249 Replanning Occurs Frequently 249 Estimates of Size and Duration Are Separated 250 Plans Are Made at Different Levels 251 Plans Are Based on Features, Not Tasks 252 Small Stories Keep Work Flowing 252 Work in Process Is Eliminated Every Iteration 252 Tracking Is at the Team Level 253 Uncertainty Is Acknowledged and Planned For 253 A Dozen Guidelines for Agile Estimating and Planning 254 Summary 256 Discussion Questions 257 Part VII: A Case Study 259 Chapter 23: A Case Study: Bomb Shelter Studios 261 Day 1--Monday Morning 262 Estimating the User Stories 270 Preparing for Product Research 281 Iteration and Release Planning, Round 1 284 Two Weeks Later 302 Planning the Second Iteration 303 Two Weeks Later 305 Revising the Release Plan 305 Presenting the Revised Plan to Phil 308 Eighteen Weeks Later 312 Reference List 313 Index 319

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