Collaborating? Frame Your Ideas with Curious Humility

Humility is a highly valued trait in our team members at Atomic Object. This is best exemplified when Atoms admit that they do not know the answer to a question—something I drive for when interviewing developer candidates. How they respond can tell a lot about how good of a fit they will be. Is their “I don’t know” defensive and argumentative, or is it curious and collaborative? Read more on Collaborating? Frame Your Ideas with Curious Humility…

How to Estimate an Agile/Scrum Story Backlog with Points

When you’re trying to get started on your first agile/scrum project, it’s easy to find arguments about why it’s a good approach. But it’s a lot harder to find clear, step-by-step explanations of the tools and processes you need to succeed. I’m trying to fill that gap by answering the question: How do you estimate story points on an agile/scrum project?
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Three Goals for Effective Backlog Management

I encourage all of our Delivery Leads to measure how effectively they are managing their backlog through the lens of three goals. These goals can be phrased as the following questions:

  1. Do you have four to six weeks of sprintable stories at the top of your backlog?
  2. Is your backlog completely estimated up to your next end-of-project milestone?
  3. Does your dev team understand the project goals through the lens of the stories in your backlog?

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Designing a Scalable Deployment Pipeline

Anyone who’s led a product engineering team knows that a growing team requires investments in process, communication approaches, and documentation. These investments help new people get up to speed, become productive quickly, stay informed about what the rest of the team is doing, and codify tribal knowledge so it doesn’t leave with people.

One thing that receives less investment when a team scales is its deployment pipeline–the tools and infrastructure for deploying, testing, and running in production. Why are these investments lacking even when the team can identify the pain points? My theory is that it nearly always feels too expensive in terms of both money and lost progress on building features.
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Why Estimate Bugs and Chores in Your Backlog?

When we’re running a client’s project using our Atomic Process, our team will assign an estimate of points to each item in the product backlog.

In general, we classify backlog items into three buckets:

  • Features (new or enhancements)
  • Chores (dev work not resulting in tangible product changes)
  • Bugs (fixing unexpected behavior or regressions)

Read more on Why Estimate Bugs and Chores in Your Backlog?…