Effective Projects: A Series

The art and science of shipping.

How to Go Over Budget

August 1, 2022

On working within an estimate.

Assembling a good project estimate can be hard. Unless you’ve shipped something similar before, you’ll probably need to consult experts, investigate risks, do product definition work, and gauge a thoughtful “iteration and surprises” buffer that considers the chance of external surprises, scope grenades, and shark attacks. There’s a reason many...

6 min read →

What Doesn't Need to Be Done

February 1, 2022

Finishing things requires simplification.

Project management is, roughly, the art of ensuring a team gets what needs to be done, done. Given that, a lot of the focus ends up being on those needs. Checklists, breakdowns, schedules, updates – all focused on the things that need to be done. While that’s all very important,...

2 min read →

The Principle of Least Surprise

March 31, 2017

An iceberg looms, and we take evasive action.

The status meeting is going well. Your demo was well received, the new feature is looking great, and you’ve been nailing your estimates. The product manager glances at her notes, and remembers one last thing. “Oh also, a lot of customers are asking for offline editing support on this screen.”...

5 min read →

Being Less Wrong

October 31, 2015

Estimation is hard.

Estimating software development is hard. There are a mind-boggling number of variables and tradeoffs involved - which is part of why we love software in the first place. Great software is built with experimentation, intuition, and iteration. This makes it both very satisfying to ship, and famously hard to predict....

5 min read →

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