Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Improve, Then Brag

One of the hallmarks of new (as in New Year), is ambition. This year, after all, will be different! This year we will be better, stronger, more efficient, and just all around great. Plus, we've all just gotten off a relatively slow time, maybe even had a vacation. It's time to get back to normal and to get back to work.

There's a temptation to take the zeal a bit too far. After all, the velocity points you got in December were slowed down by vacations, holidays, time off, etc. So we can increase the amount we think we'll do!

Just be careful that everyone on your team agrees.

It's fine to think you'll be better, stronger, faster; we all want to improve. But wait for some actual evidence of it before you go making claims based on being improved. See your velocity go up before you start bragging about those features that will be ready earlier than planned, or the extra features that will make it in. After all, not all improvements happen as fast as we want.

It's simple:

Improve first. Talk about it second.

Get those two backwards and you'll just depress your team and anger your customers by setting another set of unrealistic goals. So avoid unrealistic goals, don't make promises you aren't sure you can fit, and look for improvements before you assume they're out there.

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