Forecasting Projects and Customer Deliveries - APPS Series

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Forecasting Projects and Customer Deliveries - APPS Series members

Fri, Sep 20, 2019
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Agile Pain Point Solutions

Forecasting Projects and Customer Deliveries

No estimates, No speculation, No crystal ball gazing! 

A mathematically robust approach to fact-based planning for the enterprise scale projects and programs 



Traditional deterministic planning – analysis, decomposition and fine-grained, often time-based estimation – is part of the reason the Agile movement happened. Yet, in the pragmatic real-world, customers and other stakeholders still need plans and forecast delivery dates and commitments. Agile guidance to address these real-world concerns haven’t been fit-for-purpose: overly simplistic techniques based on metrics such as velocity have been failing product owners and scrummasters the world over.

In response to this gap, two alternative paths have emerged: do it harder, deeper, and with greater intensity – get better at estimating; and at the opposite end, the #noEstimates movement. A lot of mumbo-jumbo, hockus-pockus, and pseudo-mathematical black magic and witchcraft has entered the Agile planning domain.

In this 1-day class developed by one of Kanbanland’s expert mathematician, Alexei Zheglov, we offer you a fact-based, scientific approach to planning projects and customer deliverables in a lightweight and agile fashion using the mathematics of probability and risk management. You will learn to produce robust, mathematically sound, defensible forecasts and plans, using the minimal of effort. You’ll leverage real historical data to make better plans. You’ll learn just how many historical data points you need to forecast with confidence. You’ll learn the mathematical and scientific basis for every practice you’ll use.

Learn to plan like pro, make promises you can keep and lead projects with confidence!


Learning Objectives:

  • There are 3 key objectives to this class:
    • Learning to forecast individual item delivery, setting appropriate expectations and creating Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for lead times
    • Learning to forecast projects or batches of work and monitor them while in progress
    • Learning how to validate forecasting models and modify them appropriately based upon feedback and real-world experience
  • Understanding that there are two different sets of techniques needed for forecasting delivery of individual items versus aggregations – batches of work items such as projects and product MMFs (minimum marketable features)
    • Learning to forecast individual items:
    • Understanding lead time distributions and how delay contributes to the tail of the distribution and hence the lack of predictability on individual delivery
    • Understanding how to simulate delay and forensic analysis of lead time distributions
    • Understanding patterns and shapes of lead time distributions
    • Based on the approximate shape of a distribution, how many data points are required to have a sufficient sample and confidence in a forecasting model
    • Using Kanban “dive charts” to determine SLAs (service level agreements)
  • Learning to forecast aggregations of work such as projects and minimal marketable product features (MMFs):
    • Understanding mode, median and mean and how the shape and tail of the distribution affect it – known mathematical ratios/patterns of mode or median to tail
    • Using sanity checks and “napkin forecasts” with techniques such as Little’s Law
    • Knowing when it is appropriate to use regression to the mean and how many data points are required for forecasts made using the mean to be meaningful
    • Learning the difference between “mediocristan” and “extemistan”
    • Understanding the exponential function as the inflection point in distribution functions
    • Understanding the three distribution domain areas of Pareto (“extremistan”), super-exponential, and Gaussian (both “mediocristan”) and knowing why the super-exponential region is a project forecasting sweetspot
    • Learning how to manage to keep real world results in the sweetspot, super-exponential lead time range
    • Understanding Cumulative Flow Diagrams (CFDs) and monitoring project health using them
    • Understanding the concept of “dark matter” – scope expansion
    • Understanding that dark matter is the biggest risk to any forecast and project schedule – typical ratios of dark matter mapped to project uncertainty and risk
  • Learning when and how to use the Kanban Cadences as feedback mechanisms to validate forecasting models and adjust them as necessary

The Agile Pain Point Solutions (APPS) Series is collection of 1-day classes that cut straight to the challenges people have been reporting to us for over a decade. Offering simple, yet powerful answers, each class gives you new skills and insights with which to address an aspect of Agile adoption that is poorly addressed in conventional literature.

“As a business, we measure the wrong things and our culture isn’t suitable for Agile adoption, how can we fix it?”
“We struggle to write small, fine-grained requirements, can you help us get better at it?”
“Prioritization is painful, time-consuming and stressful. We have a huge backlog. Can you help us get better at prioritizing?”
“We struggle to scale Agile because of dependencies. How can we identify them earlier and manage our capacity better? Dependency management feels like ‘Big Planning Up-front’”
“We aren’t good at estimating; can you help us get better at it?”

Are these familiar problems to you? Do you find your Agile advisors lay the blame with you? If only you followed established guidance better, harder, with greater diligence and intensity, then all would be well? The answers to these challenges always seem to be more elaborate, detailed, intense, and frustrating – big expensive meetings, more and more collaborators to coordinate, more detail, more complicated equations, more-and-more time: it all feels like you are going backwards, further and further from true agility.

For years, Kanban University has had truly elegant solutions to these problems, but they haven’t been easily accessible – buried inside our Enterprise Services Planning (ESP) 5-day training. Now, we are making these Agile Pain Point Solutions (APPS) available in easy to consume 1-day classes, specifically to address the problems and challenges our customers have been reporting to us for a decade. If you are a product owner, or involved in Agile planning for your organization, then the Kanban APPS series will give you the skills to be successful and to deliver true organizational agility.

Choose from:

  • Day 1 - Better KPIs – Metrics for Meaningful Organizational Behavior 

     Applying the Fit-for-Purpose Framework to drive congruent action at all levels 

      Learn how to define better OKRs: Build better Balanced Scorecards: Drive desirable change

  • Day 2 - Clear Product Requirements
  •      Using the Fit-for-Purpose Framework, archetypes & the universal feature template 

Day 3 - Managing Large Backlogs 

     Scheduling, Sequencing, & Selection using risk assessment frameworks and cost of delay analysis

  •        Learn to prioritize better and faster. Make better, fact-based, more defensible decision

  • Day 4 - Managing Dependencies for Enterprise Agility 
  •      Using dynamic reservation systems, capacity allocation and classes of reservation 

  •         A lightweight, probabilistic, risk managed approach to capacity management and anticipating dependencies 

  • Day 5 - Forecasting Projects and Customer Deliveries

  •      No estimates, no speculation, no crystal ball gazing 

      A mathematically robust approach to fact-based planning for the enterprise scale projects and programs 


Cancellation Policy – Please Note:

With the goal of always delivering the most current and relevant content to students, please note that the class agenda, contents and schedule, are subject to change.

Substitutions are accepted at any time. Cancellations must be notified by email and refunds will be provided according to the following:

More than 10 days prior = 80% of course fee
5 to 10 days prior = 50% of course fee
Less than 5 days = no refund provided

Lean Kanban, Inc. reserves the right to postpone or cancel this event if there are insufficient registrations or if presenters are unable to attend due to illness. If necessary, you will be notified no later than 7 days prior to the event and all registration payments will be refunded promptly.  If circumstances require, presenters may be substituted for alternative qualified presenters with equivalent experience.

Please be advised that events can be subject to changes in date and/or venue due to acts out of our control such as bad weather, civil unrest, etc. It is recommended that you purchase changeable and refundable tickets. Lean Kanban, Inc. will not be responsible for incurred costs in the event that we need to make changes due to circumstances beyond our control.

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