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

Does Agile Make Business Analysts Obsolete?

One of the most challenging aspects of adopting agile is requirements gathering and definition. The challenge is not because agile has complex methods for describing requirements, rather quite the opposite. Agile methods such as writing a user story on an index card and then relying on conversations between developers, product owners, and users to carry … Continue reading Does Agile Make Business Analysts Obsolete?

Evolving Team Structures Through the Product Development Lifecycle

One of the most fascinating management challenges is determining the best structure for Scrum teams based on the stage of the project. This does not mean the major waterfall phases like Analysis, Design, Construction, etc. When developing software for use by customers (especially niche SAAS products) and there is some level of customization or specific … Continue reading Evolving Team Structures Through the Product Development Lifecycle

Who Should Write UATCs?

Experienced agile practitioners take for granted that detailed requirements are captured as user test cases. For organizations transitioning to agile, this is one of the more challenging practices for them to adopt. Some product owners or business analysts still view the traditional “requirements document” as the way to capture detailed requirements. Because of their attachment to … Continue reading Who Should Write UATCs?

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

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