Experienced delivery folks can have surprisingly good instincts for macro-level estimation, as long as we are careful to manage blind spots and cognitive biases. This can be an important tool in early project investment discussions, and can remove roadblocks where people are uncomfortable or unwilling to provide estimates.
The goal of software delivery is to minimise the lead time to business impact. Everything else is detail.
A curious phenomenon ¶
At the end of 2009 I left the world of agile delivery and consulting to join a small team in a trading firm. I was member number three. The team grew to five in the next few weeks. This team was the most insanely effective delivery machine I’ve ever been a part of. A handful of programmers sitting in amongst a handful of traders, producing state-of-the-art trading systems—with all the integration pain (back office, risk management, connecting to electronic exchanges) that involves—in weeks. Not months, weeks. This is, of course, impossible.
I am delighted to announce my new independent consulting company, Dan North & Associates, which has the handy abbreviation of DNA. Take a look around the new website - I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions, especially in terms of the direction I’m taking. Going independent has been on the cards for a while now, and the timing feels right after successfully carrying out a Lean transformation programme with my current employer, DRW Trading.
I’ve just come back from the excellent NDC 2012 event in Oslo, where they published my article about opportunity cost in The Developer magazine ahead of the conference.
It’s November, and it seems I haven’t posted anything here since January. Partly that’s because I have a Proper Job™ these days, which means I spend a lot less time writing and blogging. Partly I’ve rediscovered the joy of actually programming, which means I get to spend most of my time hacking on code.
The brittleness of tests or specs is a recurring topic in BDD (or acceptance test-driven development, specification-by-example, or whatever you choose to call the thing where you write acceptance criteria, automate them and then make the application match). This is a tricky area, and there are probably as many styles of defining and grouping acceptance criteria as there are teams automating them.
The aspect I want to focus on in this article is domain language, because there’s a failure mode I encounter surprisingly often, which seems to have a common root cause.
Well, I certainly didn’t expect that kind of interest in my last post. In the past I’ve tended to have a few hundred people reading my infrequent mumblings. In the last few days nearly 20,000 people have popped by according to my site statistics, leaving nearly 150 comments. Crikey!