[This is an edited version of a post originally entitled  Creating an Agile Contract] Writing an agile contract, without changing your procurement process, is like forcing a square peg into a round hole.  As an industry, we’ve tried to do so for more than decade, and we have to accept it doesn’t work.  We need… Read More

I see two main things going wrong when agile projects are done under traditional contracts. The first problem is that the parameters of the project – cost, scope and time – are set far too early. The result is often an infeasible project.  No contract, no matter how it’s worded, can fully protect you in that… Read More

Recently I wrote about Target-Driven Agile.  Now, I’d like to outline what a Target-Driven agile project actually looks like.  Of course, as discussed previously, there are many possible variations.  This is the way I like to do it. (Note: These are just the key steps/phases in a Target-Driven project. I my next post, I’ll outline some… Read More

There are many forms of agile. Some do support setting price and scope up front.  Here, I outline two overall flavours of agile – one which supports fixed scope and price, and one which does not. Background Much as the Old Town in a European city is the center of the city, but doesn’t itself… Read More

At today’s IITP Lightning Talk/Panel Discussion, I promised to post some links about how each agile project tends to need its own process, tailored to its own particular situation. Here are those links, and some rough notes on a few other things too: Tailoring process to each project The main author on this is Alistair… Read More

Most software engineers have an intuitive sense that the industry is approaching pricing and estimation in the wrong way.  But we’ve lacked data to prove, or disprove, our intuitions. Magne Jørgensen and his colleagues, at the Simula Research Laboratory, are doing awesome research to fill the gap. Some of what they’ve found will support your… Read More

Here in New Zealand we’ve had a lot of press recently a Novopay, which is a system to pay school teachers that has suffered from significant, embarrassing (and very widely-publicised) problems. I was recently asked to write an article on the subject for the Institute of IT Professionals (IITP), explaining how I believe the emphasis… Read More

I spent over 16 years working for IT consultancies.  Organisations who needed software would come to us, generally negotiate an up-front price, and we’d write the software for them.  This kind of work, outsourced software development, was the focus of my working life… until 9 months ago.  That was when I moved to an internal… Read More

It’s over 7 years since my first post on contracts for agile projects.  During the years since I’ve worked almost exclusively on agile projects with fixed scope, learning some real-life lessons along the way. So here are some of the key points that now I keep in mind when considering estimation, pricing and contracts for… Read More

Humans are bad at understanding large numbers.   Our education system successfully trains us to understand the relative magnitudes of small numbers,  but for larger numbers we tend to fall back on an intuitive logarithmic scale.  So we underestimate the real difference between, say, a million and a billion. Here’s a wee table I put together,… Read More