Managing Capacity – Limiting Work In Progress.

Mike Cottmeyer has a post on limiting work in progress which is a topic I’ve wanted to write on for a while now, but haven’t had the time to do so.  While I differ with Mike (and many others) that Kanban is an “agile method” – I think we need to do better as an industry and distinguish between these methods so as to not misinform – his point on the need to limit work in progress needs to be made and be made very often.

I’m no Scrum aficionado, so I can’t speak to it as a project management methodology with all the authority in the world, but I have been involved in agile software development in some capacity or the other over the last decade and would suggest that most teams leveraging agile methodologies and methods struggle with managing capacity, in spite of iteration planning and estimation based on velocity.  In my experience, estimating based on the past work is only really relevant if upcoming work is very similar, if it’s not, then you’re really guessing but this is a a topic for another day.

This is why I’m big proponent of Kanban – it makes limiting working in progress an explicit property.  You have to constrain your development system (and beyond as is possible) to fixed amount of activity based on the individuals in the system (and not necessarily on estimates of previously done work) and manage work in a pull based manner.  This would seem like a no-brainer, but many development teams thrash because their are no limits to how much work the team is actually doing.  Items get dumped on team members and they are expected to complete everything on time with the highest of quality, sorry ain’t going to happen.

One of my favorite John Wooden quotes is:

Don’t mistake activity for achievement

If your team is working real hard, but doesn’t seem to be getting much done, maybe you need to try limiting how much work is being done in the first place.  Limit work in progress explicitly.  You might just learn something.


It’s all the about the hair, girl!

I happened to be on CNN and came across this piece on weaves and wigs in the motherland.  Now to say that I am completely unaware of the popularity of these hair-dos would be to claim complete social unawareness (and I like to believe that I am aware) as my inner circle is dominated – yes dominated – by African females, however I had no idea that it was this big back home.  I mean its to the point where there are hair braiding competitions.  Is this for real?

Now there are a couple of ways to possibly look at this, but to me, something just doesn’t seem right about large quantities of hair (natural and synthetic) being imported from Japan (and the US) into Nigeria for the purposes of hair styling.  I’m not a female, so I won’t even suggest I understand why this is so important but I can’t get the “I just had a shower but still feel dirty” feeling off of me.  Is this some form economic exploitation?   I don’t see countries importing my hair!!  What’s wrong with our natural hair?

Wonders shall never cease….

I am on Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter for a while now. I think I’m too busy to post as frequently as I probably should. In case you’re interested in following me (that just doesn’t sound right), I’m @eikonne.