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With Ron Lichty (Co-Author, Managing The Unmanageable).
Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 06:30 PM   Absolutely Free
Varian, 3130 Hansen Way
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There are two questions we get as VPs of Engineering from our bosses that we struggle with:
How do you know your team is being productive?, and
When is it going to be done?

Ron's answer to the first is: good first level managers all know whether their folks are productive & effective.

To the second, Ron has a solution that gets rave reviews

If only Agile had a way to predict when things would be done clients too often say to Ron.

But the thing is, Ron points out Agile does have a way to predict when things will be done. Even better... It's easy. And while his experience of the variance for results has been plus-or-minus 20%, he says that's dramatically better than anything else his teams have ever used.

He claims he even had a product owner say, I didn't know estimating could be FUN!

Relative sizing (true relative sizing) plus velocity (the averaged true experience of a stable team's accomplished work per sprint) lets anyone march down the backlog & predict: we'll be about here on June 15th, & ask, do we have the right stuff above the line? It's not magic. (But it works like magic!)

Here is an article by Ron on Agile & Estimating:

Some agilists tell us that estimating does not provide value. Unfortunately, execs keep asking us for estimates! Once everyone understands & starts doing, we can reply with remarkably useful answers based on techniques that are useful not only for estimating but also for chartering & even self-organizing team-building.

During this workshop, we'll use a simulation to actually practice estimating that works.

You'll come away able to:
understand why absolute estimating is futile
effectively execute relative sizing
understand the prerequisites for effective estimating
avoid the pitfalls agile teams too often fall into that undercut effective estimating
combine relative sizing & measures of velocity to predict what will be completed when
build stakeholder confidence in your teams

Ron Lichty, co-author, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, & Insights for Managing Software People & Teams

Ron Lichty consults with software & product teams & organizations to make software development hum. Ron's book, Managing the Unmanageable (, published by Addison Wesley, has been compared by many readers to programming classics The Mythical Man-Month & Peopleware. His Live Lessons: Managing Software People & Teams video training for managers is available via O'Reilly's Safari Bookshelf.

Principal & owner of Ron Lichty Consulting (, he has trained teams in Scrum, transitioned teams from waterfall to agile, coached teams already using agile to make their software development "hum", & trained managers in managing software people & teams. He takes on interim VP Engineering roles & to other clients provides VPE-level guidance & advice to untangle the knots in software development & transform chaos to clarity.

He has led teams & organizations at companies like Apple Computer, Fujitsu, Charles Schwab, Avenue A / Razorfish, Forensic Logic, Stanford, Check Point, & dozens of startups of all sizes. He co-chairs the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community.


6:30 - 7:00 Networking / food
7:00 - 7:10 Intro / opening announcements
7:10 - 8:30 Keynote workshop
8:30 - 8:35 Closing announcements
8:35 - 8:45 Informal networking & followup Q&A
8:50 - 9:00 Clear the room


The Varian Cafeteria, 3130 Hansen Way, Palo Alto, has plentiful parking. If you map it on Google Maps, the pointer to 3130 Hansen Way, about at the kink in Hansen Way, is actually the closest parking lot. The cafeteria building is the buff curvy-winged building due south of the kink in Hansen Way. If you prefer public transportation, it's just a 22-minute walk from CalTrain's California Avenue station.
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