Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Plans make us slower and worse

Over time, I've had the pleasure of working with different kinds of projects we like to call "agile".

There's ones that I absolutely love, like what my "home team" does. We frequently talk about business directions, needs and visions and contribute to those equally from a technology perspective. But we don't have a plan. We don't know what we will do next. When we are starting something, we try to figure out how we could make it smaller. When something is started, then there is an idea of a plan. And we don't do estimates. No story points, no t-shirt sizes, no hours to work on it. Again we ask if we could make it smaller.

Then there's ones that require "visibility" that I don't particularly appreciate. They start with the idea of someone outside "approving and following a plan". The plans, as flexible as we try to make them SHOULD fail in the face of reality and adjusted. But making the plans was painful. So we end up rather faking we work to a plan. We reject doing the right things that emerged, because the plan suggested an order of things. For each part of the plan, we refine and we estimate. We refine estimates. We monitor what was done and what was not. Every ceremony discourages doing the right things over doing the planned things.

The first one succeeds when you learn to deliver parts that take you days, not months. And these are parts of valuable functionality, not "an api I could use later on".

A lot of times, plans just make us slower and worse. The time you use on planning could be used on doing.