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02
NOV
2018

Agile Retrospective Framework in Five Steps

Did you know that every well-run Retrospective follows five steps?  In my experience, the best Retrospectives follow this outline first created by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby in their book, Agile Retrospectives.  Here is a summary of each stage. 1.     Set the Stage:  setting...
03
MAR
2018

A Developer Can’t Be the Product Owner

The Product Owner on my team is also a developer on the team. Do you have any advice on using Scrum in such a scenario? SHORT ANSWER:  Yeah – stop doing it! LONG ANSWER:  In a healthy Scrum Team, each person fills only one Scrum role at a time.  Having someone be both a...
03
JAN
2018

Six Common Mistakes of a Product Owner

How do you cope with the weak Product Owner? You don’t – find a new Product Owner (PO) or stop using Scrum.  Scrum is based on the idea that an empowered, knowledgable business leader is setting direction for the product (or service) under development.  When that...
06
MAR
2017

Best Ways to Motivate Team Scrum Members

Stop doing things that demotivate people! Seriously…there are a lot of silly things that people are expected to endure in big companies that are severely demotivating. Almost all of Peopleware is spent identifying how common practices in software management demotivates...
12
DEC
2016

Yesterday’s Weather: An Extreme Programming Planning Technique Using Story Points

Yesterday’s Weather is an Extreme Programming planning technique used to estimate the capacity of a Team based on their past performance. Yesterday’s Weather is a guide to help Teams neither under commit nor overcommit to a set of Product Backlog items during Sprint...
28
NOV
2016

Estimating the Size of Scrum User Stories

In Scrum, the owner of the estimates is very clear.  Only the people who do the work, i.e., the Team, have the right to offer estimates for the Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog items.  However, like many things in Scrum, the framework leaves it up to each Team to decide on what...
19
JUL
2016

How to Improve Your Test-Driven Development

Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a fundamental programming skill in short supply today.  TDD is a powerful design technique that improves the quality and reliability of software as unit tests are automated and run more frequently.  One of the key concepts behind TDD is that the...
11
JUL
2016

Scrum Summary in Five Sentences

Alistair Cockburn has been sharing this distillation of Scrum in a recent talk called “Returning to the Heart of Agile“.  I really like the simplicity of this description since it recalls that Scrum is a simple framework. Deliver (or demo) each Sprint, with a...
30
JUN
2016

Types of Business Model Pivots in Lean Startup

Pivot is one of those words that some Agile people like to throw around to sound hip and cool, but often use incorrectly.  I have observed in many conversations where people use the word “pivot”, they tend to mean any type of course correction in product strategy...
09
JUN
2016

How to Run a Coding Dojo

At Agile Portugal, I heard Emily Bache (@emilybache) give an inspiring keynote address on the importance of coding dojos to advance the art of programmers and testers.  Emily, much like myself, is a strong proponent of test-driven development (TDD), but recognizes that while TDD...