“In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Building software, creating products and services and implementing might not be fiction. But, it is always about building things that require a narrative of change. We need to balance the unpredictable nature of discovering and creating value, and the predictability of a robust delivery method that leads to trust between stakeholders and teams.
Having a way of working that predictably delivers increments of value is one that engenders trust, engagement, momentum and alignment. When everything lines up well, it can be an incredibly productive system of work.
How might you achieve this? The answer relies on understanding the ‘batch size’ of work. Batch size matters. The world of modern, agile methods has two key ways to create predictability in delivery. The first is to create consistent time boxed lengths of work – think of a 2-week sprint in Scrum. The second is to get good at breaking work down into similar sized chunks of work that you can flow through a team – it doesn’t have to be completely uniform, but there does need to be some consistency in size. Both require you to think about different ways to break down a big problem into smaller problems. This doesn’t mean that each increment will have identical value. It just means it should take a team a predictable amount of time to complete the work item.
Which approach makes more sense in your environment? How might you bring about more predictable units of work?