There are several BS detector paradigms. One of my favorites is Carl Sagan's. This one has been adapted from Reality Charting the book that goes along with the Apollo Method Root Cause Analysis process we use in our governance process in our domain. Any outage, any hard break, and disruption to the weekly release process is cause for Root Cause Analysis.
Here's Carl's check list applied to the #NoEstimates conjecture that decisions can be made in the absence of estimates
- Seek independent facts. Remember, a fact is a cause supported by sensed evidence and should be independently verified by you before it can be deemed legitimate. If you cannot find sensed evidence of causal relationships you should be skeptical.
- Writing software for money is based on making decisions in the presence of uncertainty.
- a primary process for making those those decisions is Microeconomics and Opportunity costs. What's the lost opportunity for one decison over another?
- To do this we need to estimate both the cost that results from choosing one decision over another and the benefits, opportunity, from that decision.
- The notion that #NoEstimates is exploring and seeking conversation is not evidenced.
- Any challenge questions are labeled as trolling, harassing, and unwanted.
- You'd think is #NoEstimates is the next big thing responding to any and all challenges would be a terrific marketing opportunity. It's basic sales strategy, find all objections to your products vale propositon, over come them, and the deal is closed.
- This is not the same as challenge everything.
- This is when you hear something that is not backed b tangible evidence challenge it.
- Ask the person making the claim how they know it will work outside their personal anecdotal experience?
- The self proclaimed thought leaders, agile leaders were challenged, I've been challenged, I must be a agile though leader, needs to be tested with actual evidence.
- Use this on both sides of the conversation.
- Where can non estimates be applied?
- Where is it not applicable
- Provide evidence on both sides.
- Show the numbers
- Do the math
- If estimating is the smell of dysfunction, show the causal chain of the dysfunction.
- Confirm that estimating is actually the root cause of management dysfunction.
- Is misuse and abuse of estimates caused by the estimating process?
- When conjecturing that stopping estimates fixed the dysfunction, is this the simplist solution?
- How about stopping Bad Management practices
- In the upcoming #NoEstimates book, Chapter 1 opens with a blatant Bad Management process of assigning a project to an inexperienced PM that is 100's of times bigger than she has ever seen.
- Then blaming the estimating process for her failure.
- This notion is continued on with references to other failed projects, without ever seeking the actual root cause of the failure.
- No evidence is ever presented to show that stopping estimates will have make the project successful.
Try to prove your hypothesis wrong. Every truth is prototypical and the purpose of science is to disprove that which we think we know.
- This notion is lost on those conjecturing #NoEstimates is applicable their personal anecdotal experience.
- Testing the idea in external domain, not finding a CEO that supports the notion.
- The null hypothesis test H0, is basic High School statistics.
- Missing entirely there
Use carefully designed experiments to test all hypotheses.
- No such thing in the #NoEstimates paradigm
So it's becoming clear #NoEstimates does pass the smell test of the basic BS meter
The Big Questions
- What's the answer to how can we make a decision in the presence of uncertainty and not estimate and NOT violate the core principles of Microeconomics
- It's not about the developers like or dislike of estimates. When I was a developer - radar, realtime controls, flight avionics, enterprise IT - I never liked estimates. It's about business. It's not our money. This notion appears to be completely lost. It's the millennials view of the world. We have two millennials (25 and 26) It's all about ME. Even if those suggesting are millennials, the message appears to be it's all about me. Go talk to the CFO.
The rhetoric on #NoEstimates has now reached a fever pitch, paid conferences, books, blatant misrepresentations. Time to call BS and move on. This is the last post. I've met many interesting people in both good and bad ways. And will stay in touch. So long and thanks for the Fish. As Douglas Adams says. Those with the money will have the final say on this idea.