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risk planning

Agile Planning – Getting Punched Every Day

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Agile Planning – Getting Punched Every Day

There’s a famous Mike Tyson quote:

Everyone has a Plan
until they get Punched in the Mouth

It reminds me of the ultimate futility of estimating and planning. Or investing too much in both of those endeavors. Particularly in the area of software product development.

Another related quote is from Eisenhower. It surrounds the value of plans (artifact) vs. planning (activity):

I have always found that in preparing for battle that
Plans are Useless,
but Planning is Invaluable

That is:

  • The activity of exploring requirements via user stories and acceptance criteria;
  • The activity of minimizing (MVP) the results so as to learn;
  • The activity of making estimates as a vehicle to explore size, scope, risk, and design approaches;
  • The activity of discussing construction and deployment strategy;
  • The activity of delivering work to stakeholders and gaining their feedback.

Are all more valuable than fixed or static plans, which are intolerant of the punches that are inherent in software development - learning and discovery.

Wrapping Up

The next time you find yourself getting “stuck in” your plans or thinking that planning is more important than doing and adjusting, then please remember these two quotes. Also remembering, that Tyson and Eisenhower weren’t practicing agile software development. But they were indeed…agile.

Stay agile my friends,


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If you don’t ENGAGE your teams, don’t be SHOCKED if your estimates are WRONG

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If you don’t ENGAGE your teams, don’t be SHOCKED if your estimates are WRONG

I watch my fair share of TV shows that surround real-world business and projects. I’ve noticed a theme that I want to share to see if you see it the way I do. So here are a few examples:

Gas Monkey – Fast ‘N Loud       

Fast ‘n Loud is a show on Discovery Channel here in the US. It’s about a garage that takes in “needy” cars and refurbishes them for resale.

The owner of Gas Monkey Garage is Richard Rawlings. In the episodes he generally is scouring the countryside for fixer upper cars that have up-side profit potential.

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The Agile Project Manager—Viewing RISK Through a Different Lens

This post was originally made in PM Times in June 2010. However, I wanted to make it part of my “Agile Project Manager” series, so I’ve updated and extended it a bit…hope you enjoy v2.

 I often find myself teaching various classes on agile methods. One of my more popular sessions surrounds the mapping of traditional project management techniques towards the agile methods. I do this quite often in a wide variety of venues. One metric I’ve noticed is that the more PMP’s in the audience the more spirited the discussions become.