Adding Blockers to Your Backlog? Always Include a Specific Next Step

A pet peeve of mine is when progress on a story is blocked with a reason like: “Need code sample to add live chat feature.” Or: “Don’t have VPN access.” What needs to happen next? Does someone know they need to help unblock this? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be wondering […]

Dissent Is Inevitable. How Can we Make it Constructive?

Disagreement from within the ranks can be a great resource for a leader. A functional organization allows people to voice disagreement, debate the issues, and then commit. Disagreement lets you know that the people you lead trust you enough to be honest with you about how they’re feeling. When engaged in properly, disagreement can offer […]

Why Agile Adoption Fails (+ 8 Ways to Find Success)

Agile adoption failure stories are abundant, especially in large organizations. There are many vague reasons and lame excuses for this: "Our culture doesn’t support change initiatives." "Our leadership won’t adopt an agile mindset.” "Our change order process can’t integrate with an agile process." And so on. Here are some concrete things you can do or […]

How I’m Improving Predictability with Pivotal Tracker’s ‘Team Strength’

I was reluctant to embrace Pivotal Tracker when I joined Atomic because I valued Jira so highly. But over the last year, I’ve come to rely on a handy feature that I didn’t have with Jira — Team Strength. Why? It allows me to adjust overall velocity by configuring variations in my team’s schedule from […]

Two Ways to Improve Your Daily Stand-Up with a Large Team

At this point, anyone who is doing Agile software development is familiar with the daily stand-up. Traditionally, during that meeting, each team member answers the following questions for the larger group: What did you do yesterday? What did you do today? Is there anything blocking you from moving forward? This approach works well for teams […]

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 […]