Seminar: Dial “M” for Metrics: Agile Metrics and Data Science Full Day

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We are proud to work with great partners. In this power-day of Agile metrics and analytics, Focused Objective’s Troy Magennis has teamed up with Larry Maccherone, formally of Rally Software where he led the team responsible for their metrics and analytics features.

This first seminar will be held in Seattle, 14th October 2014. This seminar is very competitivly priced, and you would rarely get two industry leaders for one day at this price. Please book early because we are limiting the number of attendees to ensure quality interactions with attendees.
Eventbrite - Dial "M" for Metrics: Agile Metrics and Data Science Full Day


Dial “M” for Metrics is a one day seminar that covers the entire lifecycle of an Agile metrics process, from metric selection through to reporting data in compelling ways. After this seminar, participants will be well versed in all aspects of Agile metrics and basic data science for use in their own IT organizations.

The day is structured with multiple lecture style presentations from industry experts on all metric topics from selection, capture, analysis, forecasting to reporting. The presenters are all experienced in the practical application of metrics for IT organizations from team to portfolio and organization perspectives.

This seminar is suited to you if you –

  • Struggle to know what metrics are useful and which ones are misleading
  • Suffer from data quality through poor capture and gamed values
  • Find analyzing and presenting data to get action is harder than it ought to be 

Target Audience –

  • Executives or mangers wanting a better understanding of Agile metrics and analysis
  • People responsible for Agile project planning and reporting
  • People interesting in expanding their knowledge on Agile metrics and analytics who are using Scrum, Lean, Kanban or ScrumBan as their IT process

Topic areas –

  • Metric Selection – picking the right metrics that add value and avoid gaming or poor performance
  • Metric Capture – identifying errors and cleaning noisy or gamed data
  • Metric Analysis – forecasting and interpreting variation in data that is significant
  • Metric Presentation – presenting data to get action and avoiding common presentation mistakes
  • Making Analytic Decisions / Q & A – wrap-up combining all the practices into a useful management program
Coffee povided (it is Seattle). Lunch will be on your own at one of many downtown locations. We suggest joining your colleagues for networking time or joining the speakers for vigorous discussions. This is not a sales conference. This is a training course with lots of time for specific questions. The speakers will be available during the breaks and specifically at lunchtime for one on one advice. 
Detailed Agenda
Subject to change on the day based on audience feedback!




90 min

Metric Selection
by Larry Maccherone

– Seven Deadly Sins of Metrics

– Metric Selection Strategies: ODIM/MIDO

– Big Data Science versus Tactical Metrics

– Value of Different Metrics vs Cost of Acquisition

60 min

Metric Capture

by Troy Magennis

– Capturing Data Correctly

– Cleaning Data from Errors and Bias

– How Much Data is Needed

– Capturing Data Context

90 min

Metric Analysis

by Troy Magennis

– Analyzing Data Integrity (error checking)

– Analyzing Variability

– Forecasting and Prediction

 – Regression

 – Monte Carlo

– Limits of Certainty

– Sensitivity Analysis

60 min

Metric Presentation

by Larry Maccherone

– Presenting accurate and compelling data

– Lying with Statistics and knowing others have

– Comparing Data Across Teams Safely
– Presenting uncertainty in results

90 min

Making Analytic Decisions / Q & A

by Larry and Troy

– Starting Organization Wide Metric Programs

– Quantifying the Impact and ROI of Metric Programs

– Industry Progress – What tools do things well

– Where does Big Data fit with Agile


Forecasting Hands-on  Tutorial (optional, runs Wednesday)
Agile Forecasting by Troy Magennis. This will be a hands-on day building probabilistic forecasting models for Agile (Scrum, Kanban, ScrumBan) teams and projects. PC or Mac running Windows in emulator if you want to follow-along during the exercises. By the end of this day attendees will be well versed in building probabilistic models and forecasting their own IT projects.
About the Speakers
Larry Maccherone

Larry is an industry recognized Agile thought leader. Larry most recently served as Rally Software’s Director of Analytics and Research where he led a team using big data techniques to draw interesting insights, provide software development performance metrics, and provide products that allow Rally customers to make better decisions with data.

Before coming to Rally Software, Larry worked at Carnegie Mellon with the Software Engineering Institute for seven years conducting research on software engineering metrics with a particular focus on reintroducing quantitative insight back into the agile world.

Larry is an accomplished author and speaker, presenting at major conferences for the lean and agile markets over the last several years, including the most highly rated talk at Agile 2013.

Agile 2014 Interview

Troy Magennis – Focused Objective LLC

Troy has been involved with technology companies since 1994, fulfilling roles from QA through to CTO over the last 20 years. Troy speaks at many Agile conferences and has played an Agile training and mentoring role for executives in small and large organizations (Walmart, Microsoft, Sabre, Siemens being previous clients).

Troy currently consults and trains organizations wanting to improve decision making on software portfolio and project questions through Agile and Lean thinking and tools. Applying Scrum and Lean techniques appropriately and where they are going to make this biggest benefit through quantitative rigor.

Agile 2014 Interview

Agile 2014 slides

Interview “Projects at Work”


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Liquidity and Pull Transactions

Posted by in Announcements, Featured, Reference, Tools |

David Anderson has been presenting his thoughts on using the number of card pulls (Pull Transactions) as a metric for measuring the health and liquidity of a Kanban process. He starts the conversation here –

Our software has always charted the number of empty positions and queued positions over time which is a close proxy to this measurement and found the sum of Empty and Queued each time period a reliable indicator for forecasting where the stress points are in the Kanban board process. We decided that this liquidity chart might add an easier dimension for people to understand the impact of changes when they are experimenting with our simulation software. So we added the chart.









We are still refining the way it looks and going to add trend lines to make it easier to discern the running average, and we are also building a set of examples that show how it adds value. Remember -this is the ONLY chart where higher is BETTER. All of our other measure are lower is better – causing us some stress internally!

This is in the latest version (v1.3.1)  you can download now.


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KanbanSim and ScrumSim v1.1

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We have just made our latest simulation tool available on our download page.

This edition is a major upgrade from version 1.0, some of the new features and enhancements are –
  • Performance is improved by over 10 times for forecasting
  • Scrum and Kanban models co-exist in the one application (our intention going forward)
  • 35+ example files built-in to kickstart learning
  • New data reverse engineering tools (fitting data from samples)
A full list of enhancements are documented in our knowledge base.
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New Version (1.0.44) Download

Posted by in Announcements, Tools |

The next beta version of the simulation engine has been uploaded to the Downloads page.
** If you are running the previous beta version downloaded December 2011, please un-install and download and install this version. **

This version contains many new features and bug fixes that were reported by our early adopters. A full description of the new features can be found in the release notes, but to summarize:

Multiple project phase support – you can specify any number of project phases and apply fixed multiplier adjustments to estimates and occurrence estimates (e.g. make estimates during the ramp-up phase take a little bit longer), and have events target specific phases (e.g. have more defects reported later in the project).

  • New command line application – allows you to automate and integrate the simulation engine with other tools and combine the results with other analysis tools.
  • Customizable HTML Report Templates – you can now edit and customize all of the HTML reports using a templating language. There was a lot of feedback that you wanted these reports to be completely customizable, so we have opened up complete control.
  • Scrum HTML Reports now included – these missed the previous beta, all reports are now available for all simulation commands for both Agile/Scrum and Lean/Kanban.
  • Scrum Simulation examples – these missed the previous beta. There are now Scrum examples for every simulation command installed into the Examples folder.
  • Custom and Built-in Distributions – there are now over 20 built-in random number distributions, and two powerful custom distribution types that allow complete control over how random numbers are generated. This is an advanced topic that will be documented and explained in future posts.
  • ALPHA: Batch transfer rates for starting and completing work: To model work being started as a batch every so often, and work only being moved forward in a batch every so often, each Kanban column can specify a replenishInterval and a completeInterval. Cards will only be started after the number of simulation steps specified in the replenishInterval for a column, and will only be allowed to move to the next column or backlog after the number of simulation steps specified in the completeInterval for each column has passed. The counter resets after each trigger.

Examples and more information can be found in this versions release notes.

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Training Course: Effective Modeling and Simulation

Posted by in Announcements, Events |

We are pleased to announce a new training course to accelerate understanding and to reduce the time to being effective.

Effective Modeling and Simulation (2 Days)
This 2-day training course gives the participants an intermediate to advanced grounding in modeling and forecasting software development projects. This course is based on our simulation products and the Forecasting and Simulating Software Development Projects: Effective Modeling of Kanban & Scrum Projects using Monte-carlo Simulation book, this hands-on course gives more background and advanced lessons that mean forecasts will be more reliable and accurate. Suitable for Scrum and Kanban teams (tailored for the audience).

Sample Book Chapter: Example Modeling Scenario

Posted by in Announcements, Featured, Forecasting |

As a preview of our new book: Forecasting and Simulating Software Development Projects: Effective Modeling of Kanban & Scrum Projects using Monte-carlo Simulation, here is a sample chapter. This chapter is a walkthrough of a modeling and simulation scenario of a project that proposes to build a new website.

This chapter shows how a model can help get a project approved, and them monitor progress on that project. It demonstrates how to initially create a quick model, and understand what staff and costs will be needed for various delivery options.


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