Agile Book Club: Forecasting & Roadmaps

“When will you be done?” It’s a question programmers have come to dread. Software development has so many details, it’s impossible to know exactly what’s left to do, let alone how long it will take. Yet stakeholders have a genuine need to know. Forecasting and roadmaps are ways to provide them with what they need, and the focus of this book club session.

In this session, we’re joined by Todd Little, the author of the noteworthy IEEE Software article, “Schedule Estimation and Uncertainty Surrounding the Cone of Uncertainty,” which is the basis of the date and scope forecasting technique described in The Art of Agile Development. Todd was a founder of the Agile 20XX conference series and past member of the Board of Directors of the Agile Alliance. He is currently Chairman of Kanban University.

📖 Forecasting
📖 Roadmaps

🎙 Discussion prompts:

  • Love ’em or hate ’em, forecasting and roadmaps are a common feature of software development. Tell us a story about when they’ve gone particularly well... or particularly poorly.

  • The book recommends steering your plans to meet predefined release dates rather than making date and scope forecasts. What are some pros and cons of this approach?

  • What have you done when your team’s forecast hasn’t matched your stakeholders expectations? How did it turn out?

  • What are your preferred approaches to sharing roadmaps with managers, stakeholders, and customers? How do electronic tracking tools such as Jira fit into it?

About the Book Club

From October 2021 to August 2022, I hosted a call-in talk show based on the second edition of The Art of Agile Development. The series used the book as a jumping-off point for wide-ranging discussions about Agile ideas and practices, and had a star-studded guest list.

For an archive of past sessions, visit the book club index. For more about the book, visit the Art of Agile Development home page.

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