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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Cohort of Responsibility

Sometimes the team just isn't enough.

Delivering business value from idea to production is a complex endeavor. Development teams sit squarely in the middle of that process. Ideally, they are talking directly to the customer. Often in real life, business analysts collect requirements from customers and pass them to the development team. On the other side, development interacts with operations to deploy and run the software.

All of these groups, and more, have the responsibility to deliver the business value. But too often, there is friction between these groups on the path. Not everyone wants to move in the same direction. Some individuals or groups can slow down or altogether stop value from being delivered. They are responsible, but not always accountable.

Everyone who bears direct responsibility toward delivering business value is part of the Cohort of Responsibility in the organization. To most easily identify everyone in the cohort, we can pick out everyone who must touch a re…

Velocity is not a Business Metric

Nowadays, every Agile™ organization is intently focused on increasing velocity. It's obvious: higher velocity means more productivity and efficiency, right? Because of this, managers and team leaders and product owners the world over are tracking team velocity. With it, they demand estimates, make projections, and kick off marketing campaigns. They are often led astray by velocity.

Because velocity is not a business metric.

Velocity is an imprecise metric in the best cases. We calculate it from an estimation metric over a defined period of time. Story points are the most commonly used metric. Story points are a team's best guess at how large a story will be relative to other stories. A story is assigned a number of points at some point before development starts on it. The points are credited to the team's velocity when the story is considered done. Ideally, velocity is fairly stable over time. Using velocity (say, 12 points/week), we can extrapolate an entire project (abou…