Accommodating the Unexpected

As I write this, much of the world is in a state of disarray. Many businesses are shut down for fear of spreading the Covid-19 virus, and others have suddenly switched to distributed work over the internet. Most software developers are working in physical isolation. Even those accustomed to working remotely are reporting that the current situation is affecting their ability to get things done.

I think it is safe to say that no software development organization expected this to happen. No IT department accounted for the disruption in their estimates and plans. While epidemiologists could predict that there would eventually be a worldwide pandemic, even they could not predict the severity or timing of such a disruption.

How has this affected your work? Are you still expecting to meet the plans made before this happened? Have you given up planning altogether, just trying to get something, anything, done? Or have you looked at how things have been progressing in the last 2 or 3 months and adjusted your expectations?


The Importance of Detailed Planning

I recently wrote on The Importance of Precise Estimates.  This is a related topic.

Mark Levison called my attention to an article by Michael Hugos subtitled ‘Agile projects require more planning and coordinating than waterfall projects‘ on  In this article he advocates answering the question, “Has the scope of any project task changed?” at every daily standup.  He uses this information to update a detailed Gantt chart to provide to senior management.  In Michael’s words,

It also gives senior managers who are not on the project (but who are still ultimately responsible for what happens) the information they need to feel comfortable. And that saves project team members from being distracted by endless management questions and misplaced advice (and nothing kills agility faster than endless management questions and misplaced advice”¦).

Michael, in LOLspeak, “Ur doin it wrong.” (Continued)