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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...
08
DEC
2017

Webinar: How to Prioritize a Backlog

The Product Backlog: It’s that ordered list of everything known to be needed in the product.  Ordering means prioritization, and the Scrum Alliance ® Collaboration at Scale webinar series will be hosting Carlton Nettleton, CST® and president of Look Forward Consulting, and Luke...
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...
07
OCT
2015

When Will You Be Done? The Release Burndown Chart

The work will get done when it gets done.  Demanding that a new product, service or upgrade be completed by January 23, 2016 is just not helpful.  Arbitrary deadlines simply cause too much stress and anguish for everyone – developers, customers and managers.  The people...
27
NOV
2013

Where are the System Specs in Scrum?

This was a really good question in the Scrum Practitioners LinkedIn group.  What started out as a short response, became a blog post so I decided to share my ideas here as well. Scrum is silent on the topic of specifications – it neither requires them nor prohibits them.  I...
08
OCT
2013

Avoid Sprint Zero – Try Liftoff

I have never been a big fan of the concept of Sprint Zero.  Recently, I heard a story from a colleague that got me thinking about Sprint Zero and I wanted to share her story with you.  She told me on the first day of working with a new client she was invited to attend their...
04
APR
2013

Integrating Innovation Games Into Certified ScrumMaster

Last week I had the opportunity to co-teach a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course with Jason Tanner.  Jason is a candidate to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and has deep connections with the Innovation Games® community.  When I work with CST candidates my goal is to create...
07
FEB
2011

Writing Good User Stories

User stories are tool that originated from Extreme Programming and have become the de facto way Agile teams document and collect their requirements.  There is a lot written on user stories (link, link, link), so I am just going to talk about what I consider important in writing...
04
SEP
2009

Definition of Done in Scrum

I was looking back at some old notes of mine from China and I came across a number of questions from the people I worked with about the Definition of Done.  The Definition of Done (DoD) is a very important concept in Scrum and not spending time to construct a DoD is a common...
24
AUG
2009

Agile 2009: Advances in Release Planning

Stopped by to see Jim Highsmith’s session to pick up a few good ideas.  Not surprisingly, there was a good deal of focus on release planning, some focus on value and discussing features along a continuum.  In many traditionally managed products, there is an emphasis on the...
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