Science has finally approved it: Forecasting complex projects is a deception. Moreover, forecasts hinder innovations. Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences and psychologist verified in many cases, that forecasting of complex projects is impossible. Yet still, we keep losing time trying to do exactly that. Beyond Budgeting (see e.g. http://www.bbrt.org/) came empirically to the same findings and offers a concept for controlling corporations without budgets. Additionally Beyond Budgeting provides advice for controlling even long-term complex projects. Agile methodologies generally recommend developing a long-term plan on a coarse-grained level only and coming up with detailed short-term plans iteratively.
I’m working on large and complex agile projects for more than 10 years. However, learning about Kahneman’s and the Beyond Budgeting folks’ work helped me a great deal in better understanding how planning, estimating and budgeting relate and why the traditional approaches don’t work. Of course, we all know how this works in the small, how to plan and steer a project by iterations. Yet, how will you get the budget for starting a large agile project, how do you know how your tiny iterations (across many feature teams) fit the long-term project goal?
This is not about small simple projects. It is about complex projects, e.g. projects with 50-300 developers, taking 3-5 years to finish or similarly large product (line) development.
In this talk I want to provide insights in the latest scientific research and show as well how Beyond Budgeting and Agile principles can be combined so that even complex projects remain controllable.