In an ideal world we transition smoothly and consistently from one iteration to another. No revisions or unresolved defects, just progress. Yet chaos, post-mortem adjustments and defect discovery often prevent such luxuries. This is the proverbial period of “great let’s move on, oh wait, we need to take care of this and that” which can disrupt efficient teams and short term estimates. We call this phenomenon “iteration reverb”, the backlash of all that was to go as planned.
The team is now side tracked and your customer is informed that a few features must be pushed back. The following iteration is then re-prioritized. It’s a common occurrence because, naturally, we’re optimistic and eager to please. We plan for the best case scenario and then, due to forces beyond our control, fall short. Therefore it is important to mitigate the effects of iteration reverb by managing our own expectations and subsequently, our customer’s.
Once our team estimates each iteration I tack on a relatively small buffer period with an understanding this time has already been claimed by the universe. If that time is graciously given back, then we can implement another feature putting us ahead of schedule. If not, we have some space to resolve unforeseen challenges, defects, requirement changes and the like.
If we respect and accept this reality, we help to eliminate unrealistic expectations. A simple consideration that leads to greater efficiency, increased iteration stability and higher customer satisfaction.