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Reality Check Tool

An agile way for managing deadlines and dependencies in digital product development

Get to know the summary

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What is this?


The Reality Check Tool is an agile way to check if a deadline is feasible considering the context of the project. It works by formulating a hypothesis, which can be updated every week by the technical team, where they organize all demands and the weeks before the delivery date (it's not a schedule). It only requires a simple board, physical or virtual. This tool is an alternative (or complement) for Burnup charts, Monte Carlo simulations, or other practices and techniques.

How does it work?


Scope mapped

Map the scope of the next delivery at some details level. Write all demands on pieces of adhesive paper (or on a virtual board). Write each week before the deadline from the next delivery, and organize the weeks in a timeline.


Board created

Now, you'll need to distribute all demands on your timeline. The idea isn’t to have precision in item distribution on the board, but to identify if it’s possible to achieve the goal if reality were to happen that way.


Keep the board

Find a location to keep the board. At this moment, the team needs to create a hypothesis (it's not a compromise). Assume the necessary premises, respect the restrictions, and finish the distribution of these items on the board.

Why use it?

Make it clear what is happening in that delivery. No surprises. No status reports.

No estimates. Every week the team will have a new situation mapped to keep expectations aligned.

Map dependencies, react quickly in context changes, and better prioritize the work.

Thinking about

In my opinion, most often, it's more relevant for the project to keep the delivery date expectations well-aligned than to accomplish a deadline initially forced for project delivery.

About the tool

This tool was created during my work at Plataformatec (acqui-hired by Nubank in 2020). The first structure was devised in 2017 while developing software for a client with a tight deadline to release a new digital product. I would like to express my thanks to Plataformatec for the opportunity to develop myself and as well as this tool. We were amazing!

Many people have helped to improve this tool. It is essential to keep the idea suitable for when we have a deadline to be managed during the development of digital products.

I hope this tool will be useful for you, and I would love to receive feedback about your experience using it. Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know the tool.


Henrique A. de Oliveira

Agilist and project management specialist

  • LinkedIn

2020-2023 | Reality Check Tool -
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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