Hosk top 10 articles of the week - 6th April

S. N. Behrman meant when he said “At the end of every road you meet yourself.”

I have been interested in Systems thinking and Coronavirus

Article of the week

The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming

Larry Brilliant is a amazing and this article is great

Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking 
This is so relevant for developers and consultants who are often faced with the prospect of removing or replacing customisations

A core component of making great decisions is understanding the rationale behind previous decisions. If we don’t understand how we got “here,” we run the risk of making things much worse.

Hosk Recent articles

Top 10 articles

  1. Design thinking, Design doing
  2. Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System
  3. The Rise and Fall of Object Oriented Programming
  4. The Supersoaker Principle
  5. Second order thinking
  6. How to not get bored with life
  7. Double loop learning
  8. The economics of cruise ships
  9. Systems thinking in action
  10. The fallacy of requirements


  • Video — Masterclass with Chris Voss negotiator



  • “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” proverb
  • When the pressure is on you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your highest level of preparation — Chris Voss

Selected HoskWisdom

  • Don’t remove code until you understand what it does and why it was added #HoskWisdom
  • 50 percent of problems on IT projects are people, the other 80 percent are estimates and expectations #HoskWisdom
  • Small problems can turn into large problems if you ignore them #HoskWisdom
  • A good leader is a pricessless gift, a poor leader is a punishment #HoskWisdom
  • Sometimes the best thing to say, is nothing at all #HoskWisdom
  • Most Dynamics 365 developers are looking for an excuse to create a plugin #HoskWisdom
  • Don’t waste time making things perfect today, they will be replaced by something new tomorrow #HoskWisdom
  • No solution is right for every scenario #HoskWisdom
  • Between success and failure is trying, learning and improving #HoskWisdom

Follow the hastag #HoskWisdom or follow me on twitter BenHosk

Quote from current book(s)

The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread — and Why They Stop

The crucial change happens at the peak of the epidemic. At this point, there are so many immune people — and so few susceptible — that the epidemic cannot continue to grow. The epidemic will therefore turn over and start its decline. Adam Kucharski

The Hosk — last 5 good books

Don’t deny yourself a book, it could change your life #HoskWisdom

Last top 10 article

If you want more links, check out the link

Last top 10 article

Why IT projects estimates are wrong

Why we start IT projects as optimists and finish them as pessimists #HoskWisdom

No one starts a project thinking “this project will be late”. When we start project the requirements seem straightforward, the solution seem good and you have an eager team ready to go.

Then the project starts…………

Suddenly the assumptions are wrong, requirements are multiplying and SME’s have gone on holiday. IT projects are difficult, many of them fail, most developers have worked on at least one failed project but when we start a new project we think

This time it will be different

Hope is not a strategy

I’m not saying don’t have hope but be prepared for difficulties and don’t lose hope when things get tough (because they will). The solution you thought you were delivering will be a lot different from the project you end up delivering. This shouldn’t wear down you hope it should reinforce it because it means you have adapted to feedback and delivering what’s needed not what the high-level requirements hinted at.

High-level requirements are a guide to what the solution but without the details. High-level requirements create high level solutions, and they are always right with no gaps. They are a starter, a placeholder for everyone to learn more about and estimate what’s required both with the requirements and the solution.

The inside view of an IT project is your estimate, the outside view looks at the average length of similar projects. It’s difficult to take a statistical or average view of project lengths because every project is different, but we should use average project lengths to help review the project estimates and give it the smell test.

Estimates are likely to have been optimistic because they used high-level requirements, the more you dive in the details, the more requirements will appear. Everyone should be prepared for this, the real requirements are unknown at the start of the project, so it’s impossible to estimate them.

Estimates do not predict any problems such as

  • Technical problems
  • People leaving, starting
  • Virus pandemics which cause everyone to work from home!
  • Changes of priority/decisions
  • No SME’s

You can’t plan for unforeseen events, problems and people, but you can check for optimistic estimates by comparing it with similar projects. Compare the number of complications that occurred on similar-sized projects (team size, project length, scope)


Projects evolve and learn more about the detailed requirements, the team and the solution. It’s not the challenges which are important, it’s the projects response to them.

IT Projects are a team game and it’s not made up of separate teams (Customer, contractors, developers, different technical teams, etc). A project team is one whole team who all have to trust and work together to create one solution.

The team has to be flexible and respond to changes, mistakes and feedback to create whats best for the business.

The solution you end up with at the end of the project will be different to the solution you planned to create.


Projects will change from the initial scope. Everyone involved thinks their project will be special and with the talented people can do it quicker than other projects. 99 percent of the time they won’t, base rates guide us when are optimism tries to take over.

Use similar projects as a guide

  • how long did it take?
  • how many problems happened?
  • What extra requirements appeared?

Don’t forget estimates are not commitments.

IT projects are the fastest way to grow grey hairs” #HoskWisdom

Keep learning

Countering the Inside View and Making Better Decisions

picture from here