This two day tutorial arms attendees with a new way of approaching forecasting and planning agile projects using proven (and remarkably simple) probabilistic tools and techniques. Attendees leave with the confidence to spell out delivery dates, the cost of missing those dates, and ways to find staffing options that reliably hit those targets; All whilst maximizing lifetime profitability.

Target audience:

lean forecasting block agenda

Portfolio Managers, Program Managers: Learn how to plan and forecast portfolios and incorporate risk factors into a plan.

Business Product Owners: Learn how to calculate the cost of delay and use it for prioritization and planning to maximize value.

 Lean/Agile/Scrum Project Managers and Coaches: Learn how to forecast likely staff needs, dates and cost without estimation.

Some of what attendees will learn includes:

  • How to forecast likely delivery dates and cost
  • How to calculate Cost of Delay and why it matters
  • How to incorporate risk into a forecast, and determining its impact
  • How to quantify the benefits of decreasing cycle time
  • How to calculate the cost impact of defects and blocking events
  • How to calculate the value of a proposed process change
  • How to analyze staff numbers and role imbalance
  • How to analyze and (safely) use historical data
  • What constitutes “enough” historical data
  • What to do when you have little or no historical data

Why attend this tutorial?

Humans stink at planning through uncertainty, but that doesn’t stop executives, their managers, and financial departments from expecting and acting on estimates fraught with more uncertainty than confidence.  Despite this, most project teams go through the ceremonial and demoralizing “estimation” process knowing their estimates are worthless at best, and dangerous at worst.  In fact, estimates are so untrusted by everyone that executives, managers, and financial hawks routinely dismiss them, make arbitrary changes and hold the estimates (and those who create them) with utmost disdain.

What can be done about this?

How about forecasting instead of estimating?

What’s the difference?  Estimating is typically made up of little more than a wet-finger held to the air (a bit comical, but not far off the mark.)  Some wet-fingers are well-calibrated, but the calibration doesn’t change some of the fundamental flaws of estimation. Foremost of these flaws are the flaws pertaining to the rationale behind the estimates and the ratio of knowns to unknowns to unknowable that common estimation techniques ineffectively handle.

On the other hand, forecasting is based on actual system capabilities. As importantly, forecasting can be tooled to speak to executives in the terms they already use throughout the business — except when it comes to software or IT services. Terms that speak in the language of value and cash-flow rather than the language of cost.

In this tutorial attendees learn surprisingly uncomplicated approaches to understanding system capabilities and use this understanding to express the need for resources, time, and process improvements that are quantitatively solid and statistically valid. In other words, attendees will learn how to make a case for staffing, resources, time, and even contractual commitments using basic tools, a little data and a helping of visuals in the forecasting language of executives rather than the estimation language of nerds.

Trainer: Troy Magennis

troy magennis profileTroy is an experienced executive who has been involved in many leading software organizations over 20 years. Most recently, Troy founded Focused Objective to build tools and training for simulating and forecasting software development projects, including the Monte Carlo techniques as described in his book Forecasting and Simulating Software Development Projects – Effective modeling of Kanban and Scrum projects using Monte Carlo simulation and soon to be released Lean Forecasting. Troy’s work has recently been recognized by his peers with the Brickell Key Award, an award given yearly to highlight achievement, leadership and contribution to the Lean community. Troy is a regular speaker and trainer at conferences and workshops on improving Agile processes.

Contact him at troy.magennis@focusedobjective.com and follow him on twitter: @t_magennis

 

Public Training and Events:

Coming soon to various North American and European cities.

Boston

Chicago

New York

San Francisco

Seattle

Atlanta

more coming soon…

Praise for Lean Forecasting

Participants who attended this training are surveyed before and after attending. The results of each course are used to improve future courses. Here are some comments we have received from previous surveys –

 Which topics were the most useful and why?

“I found the explanation and demonstration of risk forecasting incredibly useful because it emphasized quantifying probability and mathematically simulating impact”

“Basic forecasting; Full-board modeling; Cycle time shape; How much data do you need to forecast; Staff [skill] forecasting; Simulating process changes to see [potential] improvements”

“Detailing the Monte Carlo simulations and the fact you had a tool that works wonderfully. Definitely saves time!”

“Cost of Delay and distribution curve discussions”

“Being able to use the tools to reverse diagnose if something will be feasible”

“Cost of delay, creating models from existing data, warnings and gotchas”