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07
MAR
2024

What is a User Story?

A user story describes a small feature that one or two people can finish in two to five days.  I like to describe a user story as a chunk – or chunklette – of value that a Scrum Team will deliver and demonstrate to the customer by the end of a Sprint.   History of...
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. Set the Stage:  setting the...
27
SEP
2018

5 Steps to Better Scrum Team Agreements

Working Agreements are one of the core compacts that all good Agile teams need and use. For those of you unfamiliar with Working Agreements, they are nothing more than agreed upon protocols created by the team govern their interactions and clarify expectations. They are different...
06
SEP
2018

What is Coaching? (Cheat Sheet Provided)

Coaching is a distinct and powerful skill from the eight other essential skills of a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP).  Because coaching is an overloaded word in the English language, let me provide some guidance to describe what I mean when I am referring to coaching. For me,...
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...
14
NOV
2017

Business People Make Business Decisions . . .

Is the Product Owner part of the business or part of IT? Scrum works best when the Product Owner (PO) is someone from the business rather than IT.  When I think about the role of the PO, I envision an inspiring business leader with the responsibility to maximize the business...
28
AUG
2017

How to manage documents? Should that be a new story?

Continuing with our discussion of documentation, I wanted to address how we actually build these documents within our Sprints (or iterations).  Remember our key Agile principles related to documentation: “working software is the primary measure of progress” and...
03
JUL
2017

How does the traditional functional and technical documentation work in Agile?

In Scrum and Agile, there is not much guidance given on functional and technical documentation.  The Agile Manifesto states that Agile teams value “working software over comprehensive documentation.”  That provides clear guidance on what is the focus of an Agile team,...
22
FEB
2017

What books do you recommend reading for the Scrum and Agile practitioners?

As both a consultant and a trainer, my clients and students frequently want to know more about Scrum and Agile and they are interested to hear different perspectives on what works and what does not work.  Consequently, I often recommend a few books to help people go deeper on the...