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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 author…

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.

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/BusinessBenefitsOfReleasingSoftwareInMultipleIncrements/
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 understandi…

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 Egi…

Agile outside of Software

Ricardo Semler discusses the broken education system and his re-imaged school and how the children are making the same old rules - but now also enforcing them. He founded The Ralston-Semler Foundation and the Lumiar School, a democratic school where children engage in projects of their own interest. There are three such schools; one in São Paulo and two in Campos do Jordão.

Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules



TED Talk Bruce Feiler - Agile programming for your Family

Agile in Education

It appears that our education system is ripe for disruption and many people are using the software techniques to inject a bit of self-organization into the education system.


AGILE IN EDUCATION COMPASS Together, we are discoverers of the world and ourselves.
The world is no longer predictable and learning needs to be more adaptive, connected, and interdependent.
Education can respond to this constantly changing landscape with agility.
Through our journey, new paths unfold to reveal learn…

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 …

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 …

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
Look at the red line in 1984.  What happened in 1984?


A trend may change, all it takes is a desire to change.  Here is a great story of one such change in education cirruclum and the effective outcome it has had in women in STEM education.

Colleges Have Increased Women Computer Science Majors: What Can Google Learn?
heard on NPR's All Things Considered


See Also:

Why women in tech came to a 'Halt' (CNN) by Henry Hanks

The World's Top Cities for Female Entrepr…

A Review of Leadership Models

Leadership is well defined - that's not the problem - the problem is it has many, many various definitions. Leadership definitions change throughout time. Your grandfather's definition of leadership may vary quite drastically from your's - ask him if you have the opportunity.

A modern classic definition:
Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. -- Peter Northouse
Series Outline:

A brief history of Leadership
   A working definition of leadership
   Is leadership a process
   May leadership emerge from a group
   Is leadership more than a form of coercion and power
Various Leadership Approaches
   Situational, Skills, Style, Trait
Leadership Theories
   Contingency Theory
   Path-Goal Theory
   Leader-Member Exchange Theory
   Transformational Leadership Model
Servant Leadership Model
   Authentic Leadership Model
   Team Leadership Model


Disclaimer:  as this blog is a from of note keeping for me - an extensi…

Servant Leadership Model

Do a Google search on "servant leadership" and you will get plenty of hits (2.5 million for me just then). So if you don't know what it is cruise on over to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership and check out the 21st century "Cliff's Notes" on the topic.

Disclaimer:  as this blog is a from of note keeping for me - an extension of my cognitive model of the universe of knowledge - this article and the series of article may be in great flux until complete (or good enough to quit editing).

Greenleaf's enlightenment of Servant Leadership stems from his reading of  Hermann Hesse's short novel, Journey to the East. "Hesse's story is an account of a mythical journey by a group of people on a spiritual quest where the recognition of the true leader of the group takes place as a result of his acts of service and self-sacrifice for the benefit of the whole group. As Spears tells it, upon reading this story, it seemed suddenly clear to Gree…

Considering Outsourcing Software Development - a model

What are the considerations when the business wants to reduce the cost of the IT department and they want to outsource some or all of the costly software development group?  Here is a model to help you think through this decision and some additional resources.



Introduction
What decisions must be made to implement an IT Outsourcing program?  Are these decisions similar to the decisions that leaders must make for an Agile program?  How do they differ, how are they similar?  What are the expected outcomes, and the possible outcomes?  Which decisions have high stakes with no-return points along the transition map?  Which decisions are safe-to-fail and possible to repeat and iterate toward success?
Comparing and contrasting basic road maps for the implementation of major process change is fraught with generalizations that may easily be questioned.  The intent of this paper is to objectively represent the set of high level decisions and expected outcomes that lead to a success regardless of wh…

A Partnership for Innovation in the Enterprise

Apple and IBM joining forces - oh really?  Will George Orwell be rolling over in his grave - will his 1984 become truth in 2014?

Well, one must follow the news to make sense of that gibberish... and the 1984 reference.... it goes back to the famous Superbowl Apple commercial introducing the Mac.

An IBM/Apple partnership to tunnel into the enterprise walled garden for devices is a great idea.  As a consumer it works for me.  I don't know of any enterprises that can pass the Starbucks Test (test for the ubiquity of access for the digital native).

In 2005 (years before the iPhone) Apple joined forces with Motorola to launch the ROKR, a cell phone and iTunes connected music player.

It took the world a few years to recognize that the Wright brothers had flown the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, NC (first flight in Dec. 1903 to 1908 public demonstrations). -- The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
"Jointly developed with Motorola and made available on what was then the Cingular Wireless…

What's holding down your team's Velocity?

Is your "Agile Project Manager" driving the team to increase their velocity?  Has the Agile Death March begun?

Fred Brooks warned us of these dangers nearly 25 years ago in The Mythical Man-Month.

One antidote to the PM schedule crunching technique of throwing warm bodies at the problem is to remove the impediments that are known (or just under the surface) within the structure and environment that holds the team back from performing at more efficient delivery rates.  So many times the line workers (developers and testers) are well aware of these issues, and feel as if they have raised them many times and gotten little attention (mostly negative attention) from managers.  A classic game (Innovation Game) to expose these impediments is Speed Boat.

I just saw this image of the anvil holding the balloon down and thought it would make a great visual metaphor for the Speed Boat game.  See the article by Alan Dayley Velocity is Like a Helium Balloon to get a hi-res poster.

Factors that support Creativity

Many companies have initiatives to become innovative.  There are some companies that don't appear to need a leadership sponsor to get competitive innovation - wonder why.  Perhaps they have some fundamental aspect to their organization that allows them to be creative.  What would be those aspects?

Why It Feels Like We're Falling Behind It can take years to notice a life-changing invention. - Motley Fool It took the world a few years to recognize that the Wright brothers had flown the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, NC (first flight in Dec. 1903 to 1908 public demonstrations).

Here's my research on the topic of creativity.

Predicting Creativity in the Wild-- a research paper on the use of sociometric monitoring of teams by Sociometric Solutions.

Actor John Cleese talks about creativity.  It's about the open mindset of play.





Play is More than Just Fun - Stuart Brown; TED Talk
Stuart Brown has studied play in animals and humans and argues that it is a natural tool used for c…