Estimating Project Completion with Burn Charts

Micah has written before about using burn charts to track team progress. One of his tips is to use a project’s projected finish date to help the client understand what changes can or must be made to the scope and budget. I’ve long been curious about calculating when a project will finish, so after reading Micah’s post, I did some research.
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Divide Scrum Work More Efficiently with Vertical Slicing

Developing complex custom software applications is difficult, even in ideal circumstances. In a Scrum workflow, it is desirable to have as few stories as possible in progress at any given time. This helps to maximize throughput and to ensure that multiple stories aren’t partially completed in a given sprint without points to show.

Unfortunately, dividing up work efficiently can be a real challenge. Read more on Divide Scrum Work More Efficiently with Vertical Slicing…

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)

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Where to Begin? – Two Tools for Starting a Project with Intention

Starting off on the right foot, with organization and intention, can be the first differentiator between a successful and unsuccessful project.

More often than not, the beginning of a project can feel like standing at the edge of a precipice. It’s an unknown. You’re given a statement of work (SOW) detailing the goals for the project, the budget, and some background. Then you’re faced with all the questions of how to get to those goals. Where to begin? Read more on Where to Begin? – Two Tools for Starting a Project with Intention…

Stop Making Sprint Commitments!

I’ve become convinced that for most Agile projects, making sprint commitments is the wrong thing to do. I was happily surprised to find out that I’m in good company here—the 2011 Scrum Guide actually removed the word “commitment” in favor of the word “forecast”.

I have three reasons why I’d suggest you stop making sprint commitments and start making sprint forecasts instead. Read more on Stop Making Sprint Commitments!…

Negotiating Your Project Management/Development Approach with Clients

During the sales process, it’s really easy to spend all of your time talking with clients about their software needs while ignoring questions of process. But so often it’s organizational differences that causes all of the headaches. Clients often lack the authority to make quick decisions, have competing priorities, or are blocked by IT policies. This can present real challenges and perhaps some unpleasant surprises for agile teams once development starts.

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Conquering the Perils of Distributed Teams

We live in a world where co-location of team members is less and less common. Whether your organization is contracting out pieces of a project or has embraced the reality of telecommuting, there are some dangers that you should be aware of. For example, email and chat are handy forms of communication, but they leave much room for interpretation. And keeping a team operating efficiently across physical and even artificial boundaries can be very challenging, especially as project pressures rise. Read more on Conquering the Perils of Distributed Teams…

Why is Your Team Falling Behind? Ask ‘The Penny Game’

One of the chief concerns of a software development team is managing work. We even have our own jargon—user stories, tasks, chores, bugs, epics, sprints—terms we use to help juggle assignments and stay organized.

But even a smart, hard-working team full of disciplined developers can fall behind, failing to meet deadlines and feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. To understand why work piles up like this, it helps to look at a different but similar industry: manufacturing. Read more on Why is Your Team Falling Behind? Ask ‘The Penny Game’…