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Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols

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If you can, take a look at the individual people?s sense of safety and tolerance for danger, and see if you can spot ? or help them find ? a better place on the scale to operate.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 97-98 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:11:20
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When you spot an Optimistic protocol in place, dig out the assumptions being made, and see whether they hold. Similarly, look around you and spot where you see Pessimistic protocols in place. I?ll guess they?re working. However, check to see whether some people are frustrated by the slow pace of progress because they?d like to cut some corners in the protocol. When you spot a Pessimistic protocol in place, dig out the assumptions being made about what?s likely to go wrong and what bad things will happen when they do. Check whether those assumptions really hold, or whether a (more) Optimistic protocol might work, trading safety for speed.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 92-97 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:11:14
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Decider Protocol Their Decider Protocol (see p. 394) has the same properties. In the Decider Protocol, anyone can dissent or veto a proposed decision; the rest of the group are not allowed to quiz the person about what?s bothering them ? they can only ask ?What would it take to get you in??.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 72-75 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:10:50
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Planning Game, Friendly / Optimistic Version The customer writes what he/she wants on cards. The programmer says, ?That one?s going to be expensive ? I?m not sure you really want it that way at that cost.? The customer says, ?What can you suggest?? The programmer says, ?Could you get away with this? ? It?s much cheaper to implement and might have the same effect.? The customer says, ?Sure, that?s fine. I didn?t mean the other one had to be that way, it?s just how I was thinking about it.? You can see that the friendly version works much better.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 34-39 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:10:21
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Planning Game, Hostile / Pessimistic Version The customer writes what he/she wants on cards. The programmer says, ?That one?s stupid, it?ll cost way too much.? The customer says, ?Shut up, that?s what I want. Estimate it.? The programmer estimates it, the customer says, ?Don?t be ridiculous ? it can?t possibly take that long.? The programmer says, ?Shut up, that?s my estimate. Reprioritize it if you want.? The customer reprioritizes. The Planning Game actually works when played in hostile territory with the pessimistic version. You can see it?s not optimal.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 29-34 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:10:09
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You can apply this idea in many places in ordinary and working life. The basic idea is Start slow, checking your assumptions often. If you are making good assumptions with few errors, find more efficient ways to work, checking assumptions more rarely . If you find your assumptions aren?t so accurate, slow down again and check in more often.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 22-25 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:09:37
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Of course, a smart programmer would implement the system so that the computers might start with a pessimistic variation; if there weren?t many errors, generally ramp up to the optimistic version, and then, if errors started showing up, ramp back down to the pessimistic version, and so on, going faster when possible, going slower when necessary.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 19-21 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:09:25
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All of a sudden, with no change in protocols, everything ran much faster, and there was no need for new (incompatible) protocols. The former protocols made pessimistic assumptions about the players and the environment. They were safe but slow. The latter protocols made optimistic assumptions about the players and the environment. They were generally faster (when the assumptions held) but potentially slower when the assumptions didn?t hold.
Alistair.Cockburn.us | Optimistic versus pessimistic protocols - alistair.cockburn.us - Your Highlight Location 15-19 | Added on Saturday, 25 May 13 02:09:16
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