Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Your Optimistic Bias won't Allow Your Estimate to Improve

When asked, many people wish to get better at estimation by tracking actuals and then assuming that some form of reflection upon those actuals will lead to better estimation.  I've long held a belief that it doesn't happen quite so simply in reality.  There are many assumptions in that proposal that are just glossed over.   Let's list a few (just for fun):  Actuals are accurate and precise representations, time will be allotted to reflections and learning,  people (teams of people) will all arrive at similar conclusions and learn from the reflection of estimate not equal to actual, future behavior will change significantly and quickly, among other assumptions.



Well finally science has something to say about this.  A study: "How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality" by Tali Sharot, Christoph W Korn & Raymond J Dolan published in Nature Neuroscience (2011) has some fMRI proof that these behaviors are hard to change.

In the study the authors find:
"Unrealistic optimism is a pervasive human trait that influences domains ranging from personal relationships to politics and finance. How people maintain unrealistic optimism, despite frequently encountering information that challenges those biased beliefs, is unknown. We examined this question and found a marked asymmetry in belief updating. Participants updated their beliefs more in response to information that was better than expected than to information that was worse. This selectivity was mediated by a relative failure to code for errors that should reduce optimism. Distinct regions of the prefrontal cortex tracked estimation errors when those called for positive update, both in individuals who scored high and low on trait optimism. However, highly optimistic individuals exhibited reduced tracking of estimation errors that called for negative update in right inferior prefrontal gyrus. These findings indicate that optimism is tied to a selective update failure and diminished neural coding of undesirable information regarding the future."
So, is this scientific challenge to your ability to get better at estimation enough for you to quit tracking actual time spent on stories/tasks?  The evidence is that your bias will keep you from learning except in the cases that prove you are faster/better/more awesome than you estimated you were.  Which leads many managers to decide that there teams are sand-bagging and just not as good as "we were in the older days," a different human behavior to study.

See Also:
Your Brain won't allow you to Believe the Apocalypse could actually happen


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The ROI of Multiple Small Releases

In a few minutes how do you explain the benefits of multiple incremental releases to someone new to this agile mindset?  I'm convinced that if I try to use words (which is typically the case when caught in a hallway conversation) or even words and a few quick sketches - I will not do justice to the complex concept.  Why?  Because this concept deals with multiple what if scenarios that play out in long timeframes with little feedback.

So needing to have this conversation today, I had the time to do a search for some help.  And I found this wonderful article and video with a voice over explanation.

Business Benefits of Software Release in Multiple Increments

And there is an interactive Wolfram graphic you can play with yourself.


Now with this link and the video explanation (done with a german accent I think, gives it real authority) - I can solve the problem of coming to that shared understanding.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Puzzle Game:: The Impossible Room

My progress in The Impossible Room - iOS app puzzle game by Maruf Nebil.

“Only one room
 Only one way
 Key is alive
 Leave or stay"


Spoiler Alert --- some puzzles are solved below.


Day 1.

Collected Items 
————
paper scrap
lamp shade
screwdriver
tesla book
USB cord


Book Shelf  - opens Screwdriver
-------------------------------------
Aristotle  384 BCE
Roger Bacon  1214 - 1292
Leonardo Da Vinci  1452 - 1519
Copernicus  1473 - 1543
Galileo  1564 - 1642
Newton  1642 - 1727
Faraday  1791 - 1867
Tesla  1856- 1943
Alan Turing  1912 - 1954
Stephen Hawking  1942





 3 Stars - 5 points; ball on one point - 1 missing star;  color of stars & books may signify the overlap of authors lives
shark - pinguen - robot   - got a  USB cord in drawer
(^^^)   <(“)   :|]


Bird - Dog - Elephant - Dolphin   (brown yellow gray blue)
A-Z  4-char
blue red green  3 colors
0-9   7 numbers
4 greek letters -  Theta, Sigma, Psi, Omega
Th, S, Ps, O
9, 200, 700, 800




Picture of sheep man dog house trees clouds
by Egidio Graziani
6 places  (sheep, man, dog, house, tree, cloud)
alphabetical order  (cloud, dog, house, man, sheep, tree)
order in picture  left to right, eye flowing, front to back

buttons rotate in this order:
   cloud, sheep, dog, tree, man, house....










Table with Globe - gave a board with numbers (1-6)
golf ball  micro phone  oscar statue  W
7 letters A-Z
phonic alphabet   Golf, Mic, Oscar  GMOW    GMO  over Whiskey

Globe - six symbols


mirror over 4 drawer chest
drawer 1 top  8 point double ring w 4 push buttons
drawer 2  3 blocks, 7 bundle, CBA, dart board   4 digits
drawer 3  4 x 4 buttons
drawer 4 4 x 4 buttons labeled ABCD  1,2,3,4  (Nice Room)


left side of bed 
clock with one hand
000  000  00
dial lock

above bed - picture of man and sheep  (moves left right up down)  center above bed

right of bed
box 
9 box form letters  two buttons


5 x 7  white gray black buttons on box
empty shelf
box with  cyan red yellow  triangle


dart board  score = 172
triple 18 
double 15
triple 16
double 14
twelve


8 segment clock with 3 hands   3:5:7  =  3/8 : 5/8 : 7/8
big hand on 3
med hand on 5
small hand on 7

Day 2.

Largely learned nothing... except there is a really good cheat site:  AppUnwrapper

Yeah, OK, I used a few of the cheats - but that's not a lot of fun...

Oh - and many of the puzzles have additional clues or items to pick up once opened.  These items/clues are not visible until the lock is opened.  For example a clue written on the back of the door.

Day 3.

I have two games running.  So I took the opportunity to run a few experiments.

I had the Globe open in game A.  In the second game, B, I keyed in the sequence of buttons for the Globe but it didn't open. Then I went over to the picture on the sheep, man and dog and applied the number overlay - POP! the Globe opened.  What does this tell us?  That locks are turned off by default and actions must turn the locks on.  Such as the Globe, which was turned on by the number overlay being applied to the painting.

So... off to solve a 4 equation; 4 variable problem.

The bottom drawer (right of bed):

1) 48 x + 88 y + 2 z + 7 a = 86
2) 55 x + 4 y + 71 z + 86 a = 23
3) 6 x + 87 y + 28 z + 88 a = 4
4) 3 x + 26 y + 81 z + 74 a = ?

OPPS that didn't work out


CBA code is solved by hint
2a + c = 113
a + 2b = 93
b + 2c = 61

a = 47; b = 23; c = 19  -->  192347 = CBA




Monday, December 8, 2014

Agile outside of Software


Agile in your schools, an announcement from Agile Learning Centers.




Our Agile Learning Centers are growing and we're preparing to support the launch of several more ALCs this summer! Rumor has it that we may be going international.

Read on to find enrollment information for our two full-time schools in NYC and Charlotte, film screenings, and some really juicy featured blog posts from our growing community of Agile Learning Facilitators.



ALC NYC

Learn about our enrollment process here

Attend a Parent Interest Night to begin exploring enrollment options for the current year and/or the 2015-16 school year.
January, 15th 2015
March, 5th 2015

RSVP to a Parent Interest Night here!


ALC Mosaic

Learn about our enrollment process here

Attend a Parent Interest Night to begin exploring enrollment options for the current year and/or the 2015-16 school year.
February, 18th 2015
March 24th, 2015

RSVP to a Parent Interest Night here!


Film Screenings

The Agile Learning Center in NYC will be hosting a screening of Race to Nowhere on February 12th at 7pm!

Tickets are quite limited and only $10 -- reserve yours here now before we start advertising on our website and social media.

A bunch of the Agile Learning Facilitators were able to catch screenings of Class Dismissed in NYC and Charlotte this past week and loved it! Highly recommended!



Check out some featured blog posts from facilitators across the ALC Network!




The Weekly Sprint (in review):

Ryan highlights some of the popular learning activities at the ALC - WikiTrails, GeoGuessr, Philosophy, Chronology, #NoCheats, and more.





Daily Rituals: The Heartbeat of Intentional Culture Creation: Tomis talks about the afternoon candle ritual at the ALC in NYC and importance of intentional culture creation.




The Opportunity in Conflict: Nancy shares examples of how our tool, the Community Master Board, is used for community-wide problem solving.




GeoCaching Treasure Hunt: Dan shares a summary of the GeoCaching adventure he set up and facilitated at ALC Mosaic.





Catch Me In Transition: How to Lorax so Kids will Listen: Bear reflects on the importance of tuning in and right-timing for effective ALFing.





Week in Review: Drew shares a detailed writeup of a recent week at ALC Everett, including the beginnings of the ALC egg drop challenge.




Why I'm Cool With Day-Long Dr Who Marathons: Abby shares her reflections on the value of storytelling and intentional engagement with "screens".





Painting, Pasta, Parent Interest Night, and Past=Present: Nina shares some amazing ALC offerings and thoughtful reflections on her journey to open ALC Oahu.




Mosaic Monday: Charlotte gives an update on some happenings at ALC Mosaic, as well as a beautiful write up of her ongoing offering, Ecology Club.




Clinkity, Clink, Clink: Extended Inquiry into Marble Mazes: Lacy dives deep into the marble maze projects from the kids at Roots of Mosaic.





Answers Are Truly No Better Than Questions: Art talks about the importance of asking valuable questions.





ALC Everett - Last Day: Abe shares the highlights of his month-long stay at ALC Everett.

We hope you enjoyed this update from Agile land!

With love and agility,

Agile Learning Centers

Copyright © 2014 Agile Learning Center, All rights reserved. You expressed an interest in the Agile Learning Center.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finally - Disruptive Innovation in Construction

Otis did a wonderful thing back in the 1850s and sparked the verticalization of cities.  Ever wonder why Paris is such a wonderful feeling city?  It's because most of it was built before there were elevators.  So the practical building was limited to about 5 floors.  And the top floors were the cheeper rent, because you had to huff your groceries up all those stairs.

So here's what lack of true innovation does to an industry... it sets it's sights on just the one single solutions.  That is to make vertical buildings with duplicate floor plans, story after story for 100 or so floors.  And that results in the architectural wonder known as the sky scraper.  Good for little else but setting height records (and then fighting over what to measure at said height - a living floor or a radio antenna).

Wait a few decades (or 8 score in this case) and someone comes up with a disruptive innovation.

Is this it?  The disruptive innovation in buildings that allows architects to think in other dimensions?



MULTI - an elevator that has no rope, and moves horizontal also.

ThyssenKrupp hails its technology called MULTI "as the greatest innovation in the field since Elisha Otis and his demonstration of emergency breaks in 1854."

By-the-way, we do this type of disruptive innovation in the software fields every few years - yet people still compare developing software projects to constructing a sky-scraper.  A joke to prove the point:

For Christmas, the JavaScript community will be bringing out a new framework that you should re-write all your projects in.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Coal in your bug tracking stocking this Christmas?

What is your plan for being a better developer next year?  What's the technique that will repay your efforts many fold?  Testing - automated test to be specific.  There are all types of automated testing.  The agile mind set thinks of testing first, not in a reactive manner, but as a preventative and design effort.

For three years, The Container Store has been using application performance management (APM) technology from AppDynamics to locate bugs in the website, target them immediately and fix them.

Sometimes there's a slowdown in a particular region. Other times it's from a certain database and often from a single line of code. Just this year, the Container Store upped its contract with AppDynamics, buying more software so the company can test new features before deploying them and minimize the number of live fixes necessary.

"We said we want to be more proactive instead of reactive," said A.J. Azzarello, a quality assurance engineer at The Container Store in Dallas. "We can catch errors and slow response times in test prior to production so they never impact our customers."
From CNBC's article: Don't let software bugs ruin Christmas by Ari Levy


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When Women Stopped Coding : Planet Money : NPR


What happened in the mid 1980s?  Previously women were in the hi-tech industries at the same rates as any other industry - but then it all changed.  Women fled the compute sciences field.  Is this the rise of the computer geek era?

Was it the geeks that ran the women away?  Or was it the lack of women that attracted the geeks?  Was there cause and effect or just an interesting correlation?




Planet Money has an interesting investigation and some answers - give it a listen.

When Women Stopped Coding :: Planet Money - NPR