Like children in the back seat of a car, our stakeholders can be incessant at times, don’t you think? Projects seldom go as planned, or are even delivered in some nearby variant of ‘on-time, on-budget’. So how do we know when we are there, or at least able to say where there is? Here is my take on ‘when we will get there’…
1. The What.
Get into a room with your stakeholders and get on a whiteboard. Break the need down into functional areas, flesh out your epics, and find your atomic work items that you can get started with NOW. These are the “WHATS” with conditions of acceptance – not necessarily the “HOWS”. This will create a feature and function framework. Repeat as need, your mileage will vary.
2. Hindsight is 20/20.
Take a quick look back before you decide to look into your crystal ball. In terms of team and delivery, it truly is the best measuring stick for understanding team capacity. And of course, do what makes sense here- if two people are going to be out on an extended vacation, clearly you won’t be able to deliver as much had they not, yes?
3. Know what DONE means.
It’s important as a team to understand what it is exactly that you have to DO to DELIVER. Often times, teams overlook the very important step of defining what DONE means. In the absence of that definition or understanding, how does the entire team know how big something is, with some sort of collective understanding? Create it, communicate it, and infrequently, review it.
4. Rinse, Measure, Repeat.
Clear the forest for the trees. Collaborate constantly. Squeeze your backlog to make value rise to the top. Measure your results. Make it better. Do it again. Use this information to set delivery targets.