Never attribute to malevolence what is explicable by incompetence. - Robert J Halon
When we hear all the bad things that go wrong with projects. The misuse and abuse of data, people, tools, and processes, I get a smile when I remember Halon's quote.
Removing things, changing things, installing new things will not address the root cause of bad management and especially bad project management. Only replacing the people will fix the root cause when they are willfully ignorant of how to do it right.
While this quote appears inverted in our self-centered world, the expert has eliminated the nonsensical, naive, amateur, simple minded options and narrowed the choices based principles, practices, and processes of her profession. It is trivially easy to assert I'm exploring new ways of doing things when there is no bounding governance principles to guide your exploration. If the exploration takes place in a de minimis world, the options are boundless.
Thought interferes with the probability of events, and in the long run therefore, with entropy - David L. Waston (1930)
All project work is probabilistic, driven by underlying uncertainties, both reducible and irreducible. Willing an outcome in the presence of these uncertainties does not make is so. The only useful process to manage in the presence of uncertainty is to estimate the outcome of any decisions made by the participants of the processes by which the project operates
The perfect symmetry of the whole apparatus - the wire in the middle, the two phones at the ends and the two gossips at the ends of the telephones - may be very fascinating to a mere mathematician - James Clark Maxwell (1878)
Trust is a core attribute of Agile Software Development. But any non-trivial business venture will also what to verify that to outcomes of the work effort are going to meet the needs of those paying, at the time those capabilities are needed, for the expected cost.
When you hear agile is all about trust, make sure you have a appropriate verification process in place as well. This is called governance where we work. It's risk management and Risk Management is ow Adults Management Projects (Tim Lister).
Many want us to trust but any credible governance process requires a verification process. With that verification, that trust cannot be trusted.
I forgot something important that you must remember until you go six feet under…. There are only two kinds of people in the whole wide world, grifters and suckers…. [With suckers,] let their stupid brains stay asleep in their chump world. Keep your own brain honed to razor sharpness in the secret world of con. –Iceberg Slim
If you can't explain what you are doing as a process, then you don't know what you are doing - Deming
Process is the answer to the question How do we do things around here? All organizations should have a widely accepted Process for making decisions. "A New Engineering Profession is Emerging: Decision Coach," IEEE Engineering Management Review, Vol. 44, No. 2, Second Quarter, June 2016
A skeptic will question claims, then embrace the evidence. A denier will question claims, then reject the evidence. - Neil deGrase Tyson
Think of this whenever there is a conjecture that has no testable evidence of the claim. And think ever more when those making the conjectured claim refuse to provide evidence. When that is the case, it is appropriate to ignore the conjecture all together
It's common to misquote famous quotes. The #NoEstimates advocates love to use a Deming quote
It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.
This is used in support of the fallacy that estimates aren't needed to make decisions in the presence of uncertanty. They are for, all the reasons listed in the 100's of blog posts here and other places.
But more important is the use and misuse of quotes without checking on the validity of the quote. This too seems common among those quoting without confirmation, attribution, or establishing the proper domain and context of the quote. It's just sloppy thinking at best and willful ignorance at worst.
I spent the week speaking at the College of Performance Management conference where government and industry come together to work on the issues of cost, schedule, and technical performance management process improvement needed to increase the probability of program success.
This community of program controls, cost analyst, earned value managers and program managers is accountable for providing information to decision makers on enterprise and complex projects and programs. It would be unheard of to make statement that aren't based on well researched background and principles. The antithesis of the rogue agilist currently populating the #NoEstimates community, spending other people's money (which I doubt takes place on anything but de minimis projects) with no consideration for the principles of managerial finance.
To learn more about the Deming quote start here and check for yourself when you hear or read any quote that doesn't make sense in practice. It's likely wrong, misquoted, misattributed, or taken out of context.
"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision that the nature of the subject admits, and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible." Aristotle
Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there. — Bruce Lee
Any new innovative or revolutionary suggestion in the software development world, needs to be anchored on the established principles of how to manage the spend of other people's money. If it's your own money, spend as you please - no one cares.
But if you're spending other people's money to produce value in exchange for that money, those providing the money likely have a fiduciary obligation to know something to some level of confidence how much it will cost, when it will be done, and what they'll get for that that cost and time.
To suggest otherwise without a foundation of principles by which this new and innovative idea can be tested is selling snake oil to the uninformed. That approach has worked since the dawn of time - I have the solution to your unnamed ailment, just try this magic elixir and all will be better.
Predictions are always difficult - especially about the future ― Niels Bohr ― Neandertal's Guide to Cost Estimating, Naval Aviation Systems
This is a quote often used by those conjecturing that estimating is a waste. The quote is true of course. Making predictions about the future is difficult. But that has nothing to do with the need for predictions and the estimates that support them. When making decisions in the presence of uncertainty about some outcome in the future - this is the basis of Microeconomics of decision making.