Don’t just double up your estimates, there is a more reliable approach

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Today, many a project is a suitable fit for the agile methodology. Instead of promising to ship a fixed scope of features at a specific date at a pre-agreed price, we acknowledge that reality and requirements tend to vary over time and offer flexibility in one or several of those areas.

Doing this is, in essence, to acknowledge the ever-present elephant in the room in the world of project management: the iron triangle.

You have probably seen it before. We can deliver a project within a tight deadline, at a low price point, and with excellent quality — but never…

And how can we developers and creators get better at it?

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If there is one thing that we software developers are infamous for, it is our inability to estimate our work accurately.

The problem is so commonplace that many project managers consider it best practice to multiply developer estimates by a factor of two — at least.

Whether you are a software developer or not doesn’t matter; if you have been in the vicinity of a software project, you probably know what I am talking about.

Why has it come to this? Why is the simple question “how long will it take to build this?” so hard to answer?

Apart from…

Regardless of your business model, time will be a factor in your profitability — so optimize it!

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A couple of days ago, I talked to a friend of mine who is running a small website development agency. Despite COVID, 2020 had been an excellent year for business.

The only problem? They were charging by the hour, and they had maxed out their capacity.

So. In an attempt to become more scalable, they were in the process of switching over from hourly rates to value-based pricing.

What Is Value-Based Pricing?

If you’re not familiar with the term, value-based pricing is basically about fixed-rate projects or services, with a twist. …

Organizations that foster a culture of openness will stand the best chance of outrunning their competition

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Milton Friedman used to say that nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.

The same phenomenon is commonly seen in the business world when it comes to defining processes and metrics. What usually starts as a “let’s implement this and see how well it works” quickly becomes a habit and, often sooner than later, a regulation.

Once a process has been established, it can be very challenging to replace it — even when hard facts prove that the process isn’t providing optimal value or accurate results.

What usually happens instead?

The process becomes subject to investigation and optimization…

And, more importantly, how could it benefit your business?

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Picture this. You’re a small business owner running a digital advertising and promotion agency with 8 employees.

After a year of trying to make ends meet during the pandemic, the situation is — to say the least — strained.

Everyone is working hard and trying their best to keep the remaining clients happy, but you can’t rid yourself of that nagging suspicion that the effort doesn’t match what you read on the bottom line. Not to mention that the bottom line isn’t updated as frequently as it should be.

The staff has already been trimmed down to the bare essentials…

Optimal efficiency is futile if it doesn’t contribute to your goals

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“Work smarter, not harder” is a staple quote in the world of business and startup inspiration porn. At face value, I think we all can agree that this is nothing short of a solid piece of advice.

After all, getting more done with less effort or fewer resources is the very definition of being efficient.

But what happens if you invest a lot of time and effort to “work smarter” on the wrong things? What if you are barking up the wrong proverbial tree?

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

In my experience, it almost always pays off to be on the lookout for process optimizations…

And how you can do it too, if you set your mind to it.

Empty auditorium — photo by Merch HÜSEY on Unsplash

Picture this: you are attending a workshop. You are sitting in a room with twenty people, most of which you haven’t met before. The facilitator opens by saying,

“Before we get started, let’s go around the table and have everyone introduce themselves.”

After gazing around the room, in a way that reminds you of the Eye of Sauron, he casually stops at you. The physical reaction is immediate. Your heart starts pumping faster, and you feel how your face turns red. For what feels like an eternity, you sit there, paralyzed.

Until he smiles and says, “I can go first.”

Enter Glossophobia — Fear of Public Speaking

Boost your productivity by committing to writing things down

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If you want to be genuinely productive, you need to focus 100% on what you are doing. With tasks perceived as fun and interesting, that shouldn’t be too hard; since you enjoy doing them, the focus comes for free.

But if you need to deal with something you don’t feel like doing, like a not-so-interesting work task, then the game changes completely. Depending on how strong your self-discipline muscle is, your mind will start to wander, and it will be harder to stay focused.

How can we deal with this? Often, the biggest hurdle is that we haven’t yet decided…

On how good intentions can backfire and the dark side of Agile

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In the beginning, the Agile movement was mostly about a set of values and disciplines aiming to help software development teams to build small to mid-sized products. The focus was on craftsmanship, close customer collaboration, and to bridge the gap between developers and management.

The primary measure of success? Working software. And the ability to keep a sustainable pace to keep delivering.

To boil it down to a single word: Trust.

Today, most managers and developers still subscribe to the ideas in the manifesto, at least in theory. …

What I would tell my younger self if I could travel back in time.

Match almost burning out — photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

So, you have decided to pursue that business idea you’ve been pondering for so long and build a SaaS. Good for you!

To develop your own software can be one of the most rewarding endeavors out there, especially when you get that initial traction and your first customers. Finally, all those evenings and weekends you spent on endless problem-solving instead of watching Netflix are paying off.

But beware — while it’s easy to realize your software concept in theory, it might be just a little bit more demanding in real life. …

Fredrik Holm

Founder of Flowmine: Helping and inspiring entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level.

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