The Math behind Project Scheduling, Bug Tracking, and Triage

Thursday, 2018, August 30 - 16:0016:45

Avery Pennarun

Abstract: 

Many projects have poorly defined (and often overridden) priorities, hopelessly optimistic schedules, and overflowing bug trackers that are occasionally purged out of frustration in a mysterious process called "bug bankruptcy." But a few projects seem to get everything right. What's the difference? Avery collected the best advice from the best-running teams at Google, then tried to break down why that advice works—using math, psychology, an ad-hoc engineer simulator (SimSWE), and pages torn out of Agile Project Management textbooks.

We'll answer questions like:

  • Why are my estimates always too optimistic, no matter how pessimistic I make them?
  • How many engineers have to come to the project planning meetings?
  • Why do people work on tasks that aren't on the schedule?
  • What do I do when new bugs are filed faster than I can fix them?
  • Should I make one release with two features or two releases with one new feature each?
  • If my bug tracker is already a hopeless mess, how can I clean it up without going crazy or declaring bankruptcy?

Avery Pennarun[node:field-speakers-institution]

Once upon a time, Avery was the lead engineer for Google Fiber's home wifi devices, building, managing, and monitoring the whole fleet in customers' homes. More recently, he's branched out into projects that are harder to explain. Before that, he started startups including one that deployed Lotus Domino in 10 minutes, and one that did unspeakable things to Microsoft Access databases. He's also on the board of directors for a Canadian bank. Nobody knows why.

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BibTeX
@inproceedings {218895,
author = {Avery Pennarun},
title = {The Math behind Project Scheduling, Bug Tracking, and Triage},
booktitle = {SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa (SREcon18 Europe)},
year = {2018},
address = {Dusseldorf},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/node/218896},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
}