Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast

#ALIShorts Monte Carlo Simulation

August 19, 2023 Agile-Lean Ireland Episode 25
Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast
#ALIShorts Monte Carlo Simulation
Show Notes Transcript

Join us in this episode as we dive deep into the world of project management and explore the intricate art of making precise project predictions. Work estimation has always been a challenge, but we've got a powerful tool in our arsenal - the Monte Carlo simulation.

Discover how this mathematical technique, grounded in historical data and random simulations, can revolutionize the way you forecast project outcomes. We'll explore its applications in Lean and Agile project management, where certainty and throughput are paramount.

We'll answer two fundamental questions:

  1. How many tasks can you realistically complete within a specific timeframe?
  2. When can you expect to finish a predetermined number of work items?

Learn how to harness the Monte Carlo simulation's capabilities to boost your project management skills and achieve continuous improvement. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to data-driven predictions. Don't miss this insightful episode!

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Welcome to this podcast episode where we delve into the persistent challenge of estimating work in project management. Specifically, we're exploring the complex task of making accurate predictions about project completion and delivering value to stakeholders.

Project managers have turned to statistical solutions to tackle this challenge, aiming to achieve greater certainty in their forecasts. Among these tools, the Monte Carlo simulation shines as a powerful technique. This method, grounded in historical data and random simulations, provides a practical projection of future outcomes within similar contexts.

The Monte Carlo simulation seamlessly fits into Lean and Agile project management, becoming a crucial feature in software solutions tailored to these methodologies. By harnessing its capabilities, teams can now make predictions with probabilities, particularly concerning a vital performance indicator: throughput.

Two essential questions find answers through the Monte Carlo analysis:

How many tasks can we realistically complete within a specific timeframe?

When can we expect to finish a set number of work items?

To predict task completion within a chosen time frame, the simulation requires selecting a past period and gathering throughput data for that duration. Using statistical equations, the simulation extrapolates potential work item completions for future days based on the throughput of random days within the chosen period. This process entails repetition thousands of times to generate statistically reliable projections.

Visualizing these results conveniently takes the form of histograms, offering insights in percentile format. These charts demonstrate the probability of achieving specific throughput levels, with higher certainty linked to more finished tasks.

Additionally, the simulation aids in forecasting when a predetermined number of tasks can reach completion. This proves especially valuable in Lean and Agile management, where precise work breakdowns are common. Here, the simulation predicts the pace at which tasks on the Kanban board will be accomplished.

In essence, Monte Carlo simulations empower project managers to move beyond guesswork when setting deadlines. By thoughtfully considering historical data and employing intricate simulations, teams can confidently commit to timelines and embark on journeys of continuous improvement.