Regarding Agile

Go See Daniel Vacanti Talk About Agile

Recorded on March 21st, 2016

A couple of years ago, I went to Innovate Virginia, “a unique one-day conference intended to promote the use of innovative methods of delivery such as Kanban, Lean and Agile.” I saw a lot of great speakers, but by far, the best one was Daniel Vacanti, the super-sharp co-founder of ActionableAgile. His talk that day was titled, “Actionable Metrics for Predictability”, and he talked about work-in-process (WIP), Kanban, cycle/elapsed times, and how best to predict how long something will take your team to build.

One of Vacanti’s main messages was that cycle times are most heavily influenced by how many things are in WIP. This makes complete sense when you think about it, but it’s so easy to forget. You work on too much stuff at one time, all those things will take longer to deliver. Limit your WIP and you’ll see your units of work get delivered to the customer faster. Do analytics on your cycle times if you want to have any prayer of accurately predicting when you’ll deliver something.

There was a point where everyone in the room “got it”, all about the same time, and you could feel 50 mental light bulbs turning on. It was a moment I wish I could have captured. I still think about that talk now, and I’m sad to say that I’ll miss Innovate Virginia this Friday, where he’s speaking again. His talk this year is “Why Size Doesn’t Matter”, and it’s probably going to be just as brilliant or better than the one I saw. Go see him if you can.

If you can’t catch him in person, watch this August 2015 video from SolutionsIQ (above) for a teaser on what I’m guessing he’s likely to talk about. Looks like some similar themes from when I saw him before, but I imagine he’ll include great new insights he’s arrived at and tested in the years since I saw him.