Some Design Up Front: Why ‘Sprint Zero’ is Not Enough

Over the past several years, agile software teams have recognized the necessity of welcoming designers into their ranks. At the same time, organizations throughout the industry have struggled with and offered different perspectives on the “best way” for designers and developers to work together on agile teams. Read more on Some Design Up Front: Why ‘Sprint Zero’ is Not Enough…

Successful Sprint Retrospectives: Tips and Tools

A sprint retrospective is a brief collaborative exercise that teams can do at the end of each sprint—typically as part of the sprint review meeting. Its purpose is to reflect on what happened during the sprint with the goal of improving the team, but there are other benefits, like building team chemistry, sharing knowledge, promoting a sense of team ownership, and having fun.

This post covers what’s involved in a sprint retrospective, touching on some “dos and don’ts” and sharing a few software tools that can make them easier—especially for remote teams.
Read more on Successful Sprint Retrospectives: Tips and Tools…

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.
Read more on Estimating Project Completion with Burn Charts…

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)

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

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.

Read more on Negotiating Your Project Management/Development Approach with Clients…