Software Project Estimates – When, Why, and How?

It can seem daunting to estimate the effort involved in a large software project. And it’s easy to start thinking: “Because estimates are always wrong, they aren’t that valuable.” But there are many benefits of estimation. If you get in the habit of estimating regularly, you can turn a daunting, nonproductive exercise into one of […]

A Strategy for Release Planning

Imagine you’re building an internal business tool for your global company. This new tool will improve and streamline the work of hundreds of your coworkers. It’ll also give the business better visibility into how your bottom line is being built. You’re close to having a minimal usable product to ship, so what’s next? Because We […]

What Makes a Good Scrum Master?

Atomic does not have a dedicated scrum master position. The closest comparison is our delivery lead role, which is a blend of project management, account management, and product management. However, we often work with clients that do have dedicated scrum masters. Many times, the people in these roles were hired as traditional project managers, but […]

Bring Focus to Your Check-Ins with a Six-Step Meeting Guide

In my last post, I described a process for keeping a large Agile team focused on getting work ready for developers. The process includes a few crucial check-in meetings: product backlog refinement, design refinement, and technical refinement. Because the check-ins are so few, it’s very important to keep that time focused on the work at […]

Why Your Big-Team Software Project Needs a Utility Player

Projects with big teams introduce a slew of interesting problems–problems like keeping developers fed with multiple tracks of work, understanding areas with large technical risks, and sharing knowledge. On a recent project, we developed a role to help solve these problems. I call it the utility player. In this post, I’ll define the role, the […]

Is Your New Feature Worth It?

When you’ve created a successful application, it is tempting to relentlessly add new functionality. You think that if you stop building, you’ll fall behind. New features bring in new business. They show your existing users that you are still active and adding value. However, it’s important to step back and consider how new features will […]