Scrum Alliance

Backlog Grooming: Part 1

Although it is simple in concept, the practice of writing user stories is one many Agile teams struggle to put into practice effectively . . .

Scrum and Kanban at the Enterprise and Team Levels

This post describes two practical examples of how, by combining Scrum and Kanban processes, improvements can achieved at two levels: the individual team level and the enterprise level. . . .

Lean Agile Process


The core idea of lean is to eliminate/reduce non-value-added activities (termed "wastes") and thus increase customer value. The Agile process itself is a lean method for the software development life cycle, and I am sharing a couple of Agile best practices adopted by many teams to make the Agile process extra lean.

A Day in Scrum as Part of the PDCA Cycle

The Daily Scrum supports the PDCA cycle at a tactical level, but there is a misconception that the Daily Scrum comprises the PDCA cycle. . . .

Can a Team Fit to a Bell Curve Be Self-Organized?

Many of the challenges in Agile and Scrum arise from the idea of the self-organizing team. Of course, many (perhaps most) of the benefits are also the result of self-organizing teams. . . .

How the U.S. Military Prepared Me for Agile

When I retired from the military at the ripe old age of 38, I had spent 4 years in the United States Marine Corps and 16 in the United States Army. . . . I knew that the military-instilled discipline and sense of honor and loyalty had made me not only a better man but also a better employee, but I had never really considered how my skills as a First Sergeant could have made me a better software engineer.

Do Organizations Fully Leverage Agile Coaches?

While Agile coaches come on board with significant experience and a broad knowledge base, there are organizations out there that are bad at leveraging Agile coach capabilities. Based on my experience, here are few areas where in-house Agile coaches are grossly misused in various organizations . . .

The Daily Scrum: Common Pitfalls and Negative Patterns

Enough is written on good stand-ups (stick to the three questions, focus on accomplishments, the team owns the meeting, etc.). Here I thought I would discuss some common pitfalls and negative patterns, based on my experience. . . .

Affinity Technique to the Max

Recently I had a chance to test the Affinity technique to classify a considerably large number of items. The problem was to look into our customers' data and analyze it to find new ways to provide better services and eventually generate more revenue. . . .

Agile Metrics

Metrics -- different things to different people, organizations, and cultures. However, the underlying focus of measurement is whether or not working software actually exists and is demonstrably suitable for its intended purpose. . . .

The Agile Golden Triangle

The Iron Triangle was very rigid during the Waterfall era. . . . Let me introduce another triangle, the "Golden Triangle" of Agile.

Mix up Your Acceptance Criteria

We all know that good acceptance criteria can make or break a story. What often goes unrecognized, though, is that acceptance criteria can take a number of different forms, depending on the story, the team, the knowledge of the product owner, the clarity of the test, and other factors. . . .

Teaching Relative Estimation by Throwing a Cat

I'm a big fan of relative measurements in software development. However, when teaching this idea, I've noticed that many developers who are used to estimating work in hours or days find it difficult to switch to using story points as the relative measurement of complexity. . . .

What Happens When a Sprint Goal Is Attained Early?

I wrote an email back in 2009 about why ScrumMasters should be discouraged from forcing their preferences on the development team and the product owner when the sprint goal is achieved before the sprint expires. . . . I wish I had kept that email around, as it is becoming a hot topic!

A Mnemonic Sentence for an Agile-Supportive Culture

As I prepared to attend my first IT job interview many years ago, I made sure I memorized the value statement of the organization, so that I could demonstrate how passionate I was about joining them. As the interview progressed, the interviewers admitted not knowing it, after my recitation. . . .

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