The Heartbeat of an Agile Team

What is the one focal point that catches every team member’s attention at the same time every day?  Of course it is their Scrum board. Some teams go through the motions and use their Scrum board because they are told to; for effective teams the board is a way to collaborate, manage work in process, … Continue reading The Heartbeat of an Agile Team

Normalizing Story Points Across Teams

On a large-scale agile project/program with multiple Scrum teams working toward the same overall goal, having user stories sized in a way that makes it easier to re-assign them from one Scrum team to another provides provides a planning and execution advantage when balancing work across teams to optimize delivery dates.   Before adopting a common story points scale, there are a couple … Continue reading Normalizing Story Points Across Teams

Sprint Length – Does Size Matter?

When a team that is accustomed to working on 6, 12, or 18-month long projects adopts agile practices, the prospect of planning its work every week or two is daunting. Planning the work every month might be tolerable so the team goes with four week long sprint lengths. As the team becomes more and more … Continue reading Sprint Length – Does Size Matter?

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

Mixing New Development and Support on the Same Team

There are lots of reasons why it is good or bad to have a Scrum team handle both new development work as well as support work. When an organization determines that the best way is for support and new development to be done by the same team, careful planning and a little bit of discipline … Continue reading Mixing New Development and Support on the Same Team

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

Are You Being Agile or Doing Agile?

The starting point for adopting agile is for a team to learn the mechanics of an approach such as Scrum.  They write user stories instead of use cases, do daily standups dutifully, and replace their lessons learned meetings with sprint retrospectives. Eventually the rest of the business comes on board, and the Product Owner takes … Continue reading Are You Being Agile or Doing Agile?