Backlog Grooming: Scrum’s Red Headed Stepchild

Backlog grooming differentiates good scrum teams from ones that are just scraping by. Viewed by some people as optional, there is often a temptation to skip it in favor of remaining focused on the current sprint. Experienced teams understand that backlog grooming can have an impact not just on the next sprint planning meeting but … Continue reading Backlog Grooming: Scrum’s Red Headed Stepchild

Essential Agile Skills

As organizations adopt agile practices, there are several key skills that differentiate high-performing teams from mediocre teams: 1) Working in short timeboxes For a team that is accustomed to delivering working code every six or eight months, two or four week long iterations can be unfathomable. But doing this is essential to the success of … Continue reading Essential Agile Skills

Getting Started with Story Points

A mature agile team intuitively knows what a story point means in terms of the relative size of a user story compared to other stories that it has sized in the past, but how does a new team that perhaps even has people who are new to agile get started with story points? As I … Continue reading Getting Started with Story Points

Story Points or Ideal Days?

Sizing user stories is a key part of understanding the overall effort required to create a product release. Getting started is simple: pick a baseline story and assign a number of Story Points or Ideal Days that it will take to complete the story. Next, look at other stories in the backlog and decide whether … Continue reading Story Points or Ideal Days?

Introducing Scrum to a Team

For a Scrum Master introducing agile to a team, there is a balance between implementing concepts and practices at a pace that does not overwhelm the team and demonstrating the benefits as early as possible to build momentum and support within the organization. Each situation is different, but let’s assume that an organization wants to use Scrum and there … Continue reading Introducing Scrum to a Team

Developers are from Mars, Product Owners are from Venus

Jenny was a seasoned product manager who was growing into the Product Owner role.  She liked her additional responsibilities as Product Owner and the flexibility of the organization’s agile approach.  But after a difficult backlog grooming session she asked Tim, the Scrum Master, if they could speak privately. Imploringly, she threw her hands up in … Continue reading Developers are from Mars, Product Owners are from Venus

Lean Requirements with User Acceptance Test Cases

The Agile Manifesto extols the virtues of working software over documentation as a true measure of progress and business value. Teams in the early stages of agile adoption sometimes misinterpret this to mean that they should not write anything down.  Other teams that are accustomed to waterfall and documentation-heavy methodologies continue creating extensive and redundant … Continue reading Lean Requirements with User Acceptance Test Cases