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  • Industry trends Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    talking points used by NoEstimates advocates Looked at from any of these angles NoEstimates comes up way short on both its core ideas and business practicality Aside from these issues of substance let s look briefly at the behavior of the NoEstimates proponents Blunt as it may be here s my summary of the behaviors I ve seen across most NoEstimates posts and tweets Presenting and repeating via redundant tweets month after month fallacy riddled arguments consisting primarily of anecdotal horror stories jibes at evil management snide cartoons and vague declarations that there are better ways Providing little or no detail or concrete proposals on their approach relying for literally years now on stating that we re just exploring or there are better ways Consistently dodging substantive engagement with critics and at times openly questioning whether critics should even have a voice in the discussion If NoEstimates avoids engaging actively in the marketplace of ideas and debate why should their arguments be taken seriously Real progress in understanding any controversial topic requires we do more than state and restate our own views but actually engage with those who disagree Continuing to use discredited examples and statistics or even blatant misrepresentation of the stated views of recognized authorities to help prove their case Frequent use of epithets to describe NoEstimates critics trolls liars morons box of rocks and more I pointed out in my introduction that the lofty claims of the NoEstimates movement essentially that software development can and should be an exception to the natural useful and pervasive use of estimates in every other walk of life carry a heavy burden of proof Not only have they failed to meet that burden they ve barely attempted to at least not the way that most people normally set about justifying a specific stance on anything But aside from style let s return to the substance of the issue Here s my take as backed by specific examples over the course of these blog posts estimates are an important part of the process of collaboratively setting reasonable targets goals commitments Indeed whether estimates are explicit or implicit they re a reality I see them as an unavoidable and indispensable factor in business Read more Tweet Filed Under Estimating General Industry trends Process By Peter Kretzman 7 Comments The case against NoEstimates part 3 NoEstimates arguments and their weaknesses Tweet I ve spent the last two blog posts introducing the NoEstimates movement first discussing what it appears to espouse and presenting some initial reasons why I reject it I then covered the many solid reasons why it makes sense to use estimates in software development This time let s go through in detail the various arguments put forward commonly by the NoEstimates advocates in their opposition to estimates and in their explanation of their approach Full disclosure I ve attempted to include the major NoEstimates arguments but this won t be a balanced presentation by any means I find these arguments all seriously flawed and I ll explain why in each case Here we go point by point Estimates aren t accurate and can t be established with certainty Let s use Ron Jeffries statement as an example of this stance Estimates are difficult When requirements are vague and it seems that they always are then the best conceivable estimates would also be very vague Accurate estimation becomes essentially impossible Even with clear requirements and it seems that they never are it is still almost impossible to know how long something will take because we ve never done it before But accurate is simply the wrong standard to apply to estimates It d be great if they could be totally accurate but it should be understood at all times that by nature they probably are not They are merely a team s best shot using the best knowledge available at the time and they re used to establish an initial meaningful plan that can be monitored and adjusted moving forward They re a tool not an outcome As such the benefits of estimates and their contributions to the planning and tracking process exist even without them being strictly accurate per se These benefits were itemized in my last post Estimates can t predict the future Knowing the future precisely isn t what estimating is about actually It s a misunderstanding and a disservice to think it is Here s why Read more Tweet Filed Under Estimating General Industry trends Process By Peter Kretzman 5 Comments The case against NoEstimates part 2 why estimates matter Tweet Last time I provided an introduction to a very odd and very vocal recent movement known as NoEstimates which seeks ways to reduce or eliminate the use of estimates in software development I started off my discussion of it by going through some basic common sense business reasons to reject it Those reasons for rejection boiled down to estimates are flat out natural ubiquitous and unavoidable in practical life and in business expressing general reluctance to do them unfortunately reinforces the often negative perception of IT people as aloof uncooperative and unsavvy about business imperatives Let s look now at the many other solid reasons to keep estimates in the software development and project management toolbox Estimates help in project selection over a wider time frame and they assist in filling in a project portfolio evenly to align with overall team company capacity Specifically companies often need to determine which projects to sink time and company resources into e g needing to pick just three out of a list of fifteen proposed projects for a given time period This is a common and recurring dilemma in every company I ve ever worked at where demand for various business functionality always exceeds the supply of resources to fulfill it In such a ubiquitous scenario what makes anyone think that the anticipated cost and duration for delivering each potential project should not figure into the decision process that selects the

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/industry-trends/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Anecdotes Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    pointed out The point of any security system isn t to be unbreakable there s no such thing but to be fit for purpose My larger point if there s a problem or a difficulty or even a nuance to a particular approach s applicability a common IT practitioner s instant reaction is that the approach or practice is absolute junk and should be completely avoided Similarly we often reject fundamental improvements to a situation simply because they are not perfect We let best get in the way of better On this general theme an amusing tweet crossed my screen the other day rands wrote I find when an engineer says Less than ideal they often mean Complete fucking catastrophe I laughed at this of course but partly because I ve more often experienced that scenario in reverse an engineer deciding and then loudly and profanely proclaiming that a situation was nothing short of a complete disaster simply because it was less than ideal Read more Tweet Filed Under Anecdotes General Overview By Peter Kretzman 4 Comments The One True Way syndrome exemplified the overstated case against code comments Tweet I write frequently and not without some exasperation about the perennial search for the silver bullet in IT the holy grail the end all be all solution to preventing IT failure The silver bullet has a very close and similarly pernicious internal twin cousin the One True Way That s a technique or practice that is usually adopted by its IT aficionados as the key to overall success with the important insistence that it will work as long as you follow it to the letter in all cases no matter what So this post will seemingly be about a specific and low level development issue but it s only to serve as an example to illustrate this One True Way syndrome that is so prevalent in IT At core my takeaway boils down to the same old message I usually have when it comes to IT matters be wary of something promising to fix all your problems Be wary of absolutes And be especially wary of the combination Read more Tweet Filed Under Anecdotes General Industry trends Personal By Peter Kretzman 2 Comments Valuable vs fun learning to love IT Asset Management Tweet My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength Michael Jordan As with so much in life so it goes with IT the parts that are fun aren t always valuable and the parts that are valuable aren t always fun Let s talk about a hugely valuable side of IT that isn t really much fun at all And when it s not fun that means that it s often neglected and thus turns into a great weakness IT assets hardware software systems services represent a major investment for most firms today For new economy companies in particular the

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/anecdotes/ (2016-04-28)
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  • IT extremism strikes again: the odd resistance to bug tracking - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    bugs are left to fix what the severity of those bugs is etc Release readiness evaluations can t take into account the rate of bug discovery which can be key to deciding if the software is truly launch worthy A scribbled index card can t be easily consulted later to find out what was the solution And to reject all these solid reasons and yes there are lots more out of hand Or to even opine as one vocal Twitter poster actually did on this topic that memory is waste Well there goes IT again with another arrogant amnesiac self inflicted wound Bug tracking as a software development practice is tried and true with far more upside than downside in short not all overhead is waste contrary to what you ll be told Yet some firms inexplicably allow teams to reject bug tracking nonetheless and that i e misguided management is the problem In fact as cited here Much of the blame for software project failures lies on management shortcomings in particular the failure of both customers and suppliers to follow known best practice In IT best practice is rarely practiced Projects are often poorly defined codes of practice are frequently ignored and there is a woeful inability to learn from past experience Bottom line when you hear people dismissing the need for various long standing solidly understood processes in the development of software it s appropriate to be tremendously skeptical Unless you want to be part of self inflicting the next wound Lagniappe IssueTrak Top 10 Reasons Why Your Organization Needs Issue Tracking Software Sifter Why Use Bug and Issue Tracking Wikipedia Bug Tracking System Joel Spolsky Painless Bug Tracking November 8 2000 neilj Why I Don t Use Bug Tracking Software April 7 2010 neilj Why I Still Don t Use Bug Tracking Software April 8 2010 Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Anecdotes Industry trends Process Tools Comments Gene Hughson says May 27 2015 at 5 44 am I love the 3rd tweet comparing tracking bugs to adding a mugging to a crime database rather than trying to help First of all I suppose he s ignorant of the concept of and a powerful idea that allows for more than one response to a situation He also seems to be unaware that the tracking of crimes and bugs is beneficial in that it can give insight into areas that are more dangerous than others allowing preventative action to be taken I d say amazing but sadly that type of myopia is anything but Peter Kretzman says May 27 2015 at 10 53 am Agreed It s unclear to me though what drives the resistance besides a misplaced idealism of sorts an odd belief that you have to deal with a bug NOW no matter what It s kind of like thinking that you have to answer every email as soon as it comes in The

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2015/05/26/it-extremism-strikes-again-the-odd-resistance-to-bug-tracking/ (2016-04-28)
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  • The case against #NoEstimates: the bottom line - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    dozens of times in a month These especially combined with the pervasive NoEstimates rancor towards critics are veritable PTSD like behaviors frankly they should be regarded with an appropriate level of empathy for the stricken but let s work hard not to have these damaging symptoms spread to the unafflicted Don t get me wrong though all of those counterexamples those examples of dysfunction via the misuse of estimates need to be taken to heart and then assiduously managed around so they don t happen But a very quick way to lose respect in a business environment is trot them out incessantly and then have people conclude that you re dodging judicious collaborative goal setting and commitment There s not a chance you ll get that long desired seat at the table then Again to harken back to Pogo we re our own worst enemy We seem to think up all kinds of reasons not to play in the world of business realities And by doing so we marginalize ourselves we become the geeks in the corner the mocked members of the school s A V club the people who aren t expected or welcome to discuss anything of true meaning to the business Service providers Order takers Seen and resented by many as little more than reluctant and ornery mercenaries Professionals on the other hand in any field don t chronically complain that something has never been done before and simply can t be predicted They use their best professional experience and trained judgment to evaluate what it will take them to accomplish the given task and they re willing to take a stance on what that necessary level of effort could be They don t grumble that someone asking them to give such assessments is knocking the ice cream out of their hand They collaboratively establish reasonable goals with their customer they stick to them within reason absent of course new game changing information and they tend to deliver on them more often than not In IT as in life it s wise to be wary of the extreme the obsessive the one note tirades The NoEstimates arguments as I ve shown are ill considered and poorly argued and they unfortunately seem to appeal disproportionately to the inexperienced and the disgruntled If no one speaks up then even bad ideas can propagate and cause real damage especially when evangelized so persistently So it s important to push back on the NoEstimates wild claims the misinformation the misconceptions because that s indeed what they are Estimates aren t guesses and if someone starts to tell you they are look for deeper underlying motivations such as chronic disgruntlement with management or an obsessive desire not to be blamed for anything Estimates are also not plans guarantees commitments or a schedule Estimates are tools common and pervasive and useful And as tools estimates matter in business to anyone who is thinking beyond his or her immediate silo The answer should be

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2014/10/15/the-case-against-noestimates-the-bottom-line/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Tools Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    going on as most organizations do Almost as much as I ve seen organizations drop the ball entirely on cross project resource allocation essentially simply pretending that there will be no contention issues I ve seen organizations go to the other extreme they dive into the depths of intense Project Management in capital letters taken too far too fast this approach can spin up to a high level of rigor and overhead involving often expensive software packages precise low level estimates diligent collection of actuals and ornate project calculations of hours burned and hours earned At the end there you stand like Goethe s Faust no wiser than before Read more Tweet Filed Under Pillars of Purview Projects Tools Top 25 posts Tagged With approximating balance complexity PPM program management project management simple By Peter Kretzman 7 Comments The Practical CIO Difficulties in project prioritization selection part 2 Tweet OK let s assume you ve gotten great at picking the right projects to do to benefit the company How do you know you can actually accomplish the ones you ve picked with the resources you have If you re like most companies I ve seen it s done on a wing and a prayer But there s a better way Last time I wrote about ways to pick projects that satisfy the company s SHOULD do dimension ones that are strategic financially beneficial risk mitigating or legally mandated for example I set out practical guidelines for the process of selection in that dimension to ensure as level a playing field as is possible And I left it for this follow on post to discuss prioritization from the perspective of the other dimension the CAN do dimension which needs to calibrate the list of chosen projects to what can actually be accomplished by the available resources Both dimensions inform each other of course they re not independent or sequential In other words the company might be able to tackle five smaller projects rather than one huge project and figuring out if it s a good idea to actually make that trade off will be based on executive judgment of the benefits in both scenarios Read more Tweet Filed Under Pillars of Purview Process Projects Stakeholders Tools Top 25 posts By Peter Kretzman Start simple a corporate desktop laptop refresh model Tweet Here s a topic that frankly shouldn t even merit a post it s that much of a no brainer if you think about it Yet in the real world I ve found that it s anything but a no brainer at both small and large companies What I m referring to is the need for organizations to track their laptops and desktops Shockingly many most organizations don t do even close to a satisfactory job at this The U S State Department recently made the news for losing track of as many as 10 000 laptops OK chalk that up to government perhaps But admittedly in any bustling active

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/tools/ (2016-04-28)
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  • The CIO and integrity: this shouldn’t be hard, folks - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    trusted senior employee and will do the right thing I try to remember of course most people really are honest on both sides of the table Most vendors wouldn t dream of broaching the kinds of deals that are being described in this current case even putting aside the issue of core integrity the risks of such a proposal backfiring on every individual involved and permanently damaging their reputation just can t be worth it for anyone Equally I remind myself that I ve never been approached as a technology executive to do anything akin to what the executive in the current case is accused of That sort of deal has never come up even obliquely It may be that I successfully exude whatever aura attitude is necessary to make vendors realize that there would be no point in even trying I certainly like to think that s the case but I d prefer instead to ascribe it to people s core honesty But what happens when a less than full integrity executive encounters a firm with similarly low ethics a situation where greed can evoke various sorts of bad behavior The problem here is that there are few approaches and practices in place at many companies that would prevent and or detect these blatant conflicts of interest Here are some common sense fairly obvious measures for any company Pair your head technology executive with your head legal officer for any substantive deal Put checks and balances in place throughout the organization that will make sure that no one individual is alone responsible for any deal or any specific vendor relationship Google executive code of conduct Establish one based on the models you find Ensure that it s signed by anyone in a position of fiduciary responsibility Familiarize everyone in the company with that code of conduct and with the expectation that it will be followed to the letter Create a culture where any action designed to line an individual s pockets as a result of their corporate role is not just unacceptable but actually unimaginable unthinkable See the part in that code of conduct about avoiding even any appearance of impropriety Hammer that point home with your entire employee base Model good behavior from the CEO on down How many days a week do you have lunch with a vendor Play golf Etc Work on avoiding the rubber stamp syndrome that I ve written about before Scrutinize all currently operative deals regularly in other words And finally although this may sound harsh if there s a breach of the code of conduct go after it full bore this means a solid and transparent investigation of the circumstances employee dismissal if confirmed law suits filing of criminal charges where appropriate Show that there are consequences Nothing about the above seems remotely controversial These sorts of breaches can perhaps more easily happen in smaller companies with less stringent governance mechanisms yet we hear about them in large and established companies as

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2014/11/26/the-cio-and-integrity-this-shouldnt-be-hard-folks/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Avoiding the Rubber Stamp maintenance renewal syndrome - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    paid for three consecutive years with no implementation of the package and no plans to implement it The Rubber Stamp Syndrome had struck You can bet two things one we immediately stopped paying the maintenance fee and two we had a pretty unpleasant meeting with the very defensive hand caught in the cookie jar vendor Similarly at another job I learned that various additional modules had been sold to the company years before as part of the company s ERP solution Vendors seem to sense when a buyer is susceptible to the such a deal sales pitch that I also refer to as buy five of an item shrink wrapped at Costco when you really only need one With software it s because those deals have incredible legs with year after year of Rubber Stamp renewals In this case we had never used several of the modules in question and had no plans to but yet had been paying thousands of dollars in maintenance every year on those licenses Finally to give a smaller example from a dollar impact point of view I discovered that my infrastructure staff needed to make regular purchases of back up tapes We had been using the same vendor for this for several years paying about 65 per tape Have we compared prices elsewhere I asked Um no these are really low cost items I was told and besides this vendor gives us great service Well when you re buying 50 or 100 items at a time and can get the same product for 30 per tape cheaper as it turned out it s definitely worth switching vendors In a nutshell it behooves you to ask the following standard and basic questions regarding legacy renewals of maintenance and support Are we happy with this vendor and its product s in general Are we right sized in terms of the number of licenses now and for the foreseeable future Do we really need and use this support What are our other options Is per incident support available You don t buy the extended warranty I hope on every major appliance you purchase don t buy it on absolutely every element in your infrastructure either Don t buy 24 7 support if a lesser level will suffice That s obvious you say and perhaps it is except of course if people fall prey to the Rubber Stamp Syndrome If you find yourself becoming a rubber stamp it s time to get re energized Remember the C in CTO or CIO needs to stand for Cheap Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Financial Role definition Comments John R Crawford says November 4 2009 at 1 41 pm Great Quote Peter You don t buy the extended warranty I hope on every major appliance you purchase don t buy it on absolutely every element in your infrastructure either You should include that one in the list of

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/12/26/avoiding-the-rubber-stamp-maintenance-renewal-syndrome/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Ethics Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    topic to the overall issue of CIO ethics and integrity particularly with respect to financial matters As I ve written before the head of technology for many companies certainly all the firms I ve worked for stands at the rudder of a very large portion of the overall spend for that company IT infrastructure and systems spending taken broadly is often the second highest category after salaries for total annual outlay for a company The responsibility involved for the senior IT executive cannot be overstated Often when I ve come into a new CTO CIO position I ve discovered over the course of the natural archaeology that one performs in such a situation highly questionable business deals cut by my predecessors with outside vendors I ve raised my eyebrows and yes even occasionally shouted a bit at the incomprehensibility of various vendor arrangements I ve inherited Read more Tweet Filed Under Ethics General Industry trends Role definition Contact information for Peter Kretzman Ph 425 835 3487 Email peter dot kretzman at gmail dot com Social media Blog post categories Anecdotes 21 Book reviews 7 Communication 23 Education 6 Estimating 9 Ethics 1 Financial 7 General 31 Humor 7 Industry trends 23 Metrics 5 Overview 10 People 12 Performance 1 Personal 20 Personal R D 2 Peterisms 4 Pillars of Purview 43 Process 38 Projects 17 Recommended reading 8 Role definition 29 Stakeholders 15 Strategy 9 Tools 6 Top 25 posts 25 Vendor management 10 Blogroll 10x Software Development Steve McConnell s blog Archimedius Greg Ness always interesting blogs on networking security and virtualization Bridging the Gap Bridging the Gap between Business and IT Laura Brandenburg s excellent blog on crafting business analyst practices to solve business problems CIO Dashboard Chris Curran blogs on IT management issues CTOvision com Bob Gourley

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/ethics/ (2016-04-28)
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