September 19, 2006

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Predictability - Red Herring?

One metric I should be collecting when teams play the Agile Governance game is predictability. How close do teams get to their original plans in the execution of the game?

I'm quite convinced that predictability is a big red herring in software development, or any process of innovation. But I lack the evidence to back that view up. I'd like to know if teams who are more predictable score significantly higher overall. I suspect they don't. Indeed, I have a hunch that seeking predictability might actually hamper them in some way.

If you ask me to deliver in as predictable a way as possible, my instinct is to take the least risky path, regardless of the potential rewards. If a good plan is the optimimum balance of risk and reward, seeking predictability might upset that balance. Ask an accountant which he'd prefer - 100% chance of $1 a day or 50% chance of $100 a day, and - if his goal is predictability - he'll choose the dead cert for the lowest reward.
Posted 14 years, 3 months ago on September 19, 2006