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 […]

Self-Managing People Are Smart about Asking for Help

In my experience, people who truly excel in their careers are always self-managing. They accomplish more, they discover more opportunities for themselves, and (as Verne Harnish says in Scaling Up) they’re the sort of people that smart organizations hire and rely on. But while self-management embraces autonomy and personal responsibility, it doesn’t mean never asking […]

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 […]

Agility is about Accuracy

When you work with Atomic Object, you’ll hear a lot about Agile software development. Agile takes many different forms, but all of them are, at heart, about writing better software faster. Agile is part philosophy, part methodology, and part discipline. The Agile Manifesto emphasizes people instead of mechanical processes. But before diving into the specifics […]

What Rambling in Meetings Says about Your Team

A group of uniquely skilled individuals working towards a single goal forms a team. On a good team, every player is contributing and looking out for their fellow teammates. On development teams, I’ve found that paying attention to the things that cause rambling in meetings — that is speak about a topic for an extended […]

Pitfalls of Integrated Design and Development Burn Charts

When managing a software project that has both design and development scope, I have come to prefer using an integrated backlog of tasks and separate burn charts to track design and development efforts. Atomic continuously experiments with project management practices that help our poly-skilled teams manage their efforts and predictably deliver custom software products. I’ve […]

Time-Based Estimates Are for Suckers! (Size-based Is the Way to Go)

I gave a talk entitled “Time-Based Estimates Are For Suckers! Size-based is The Way to Go” at this year’s GLSEC on April 29. It’s meant as a call to action for those who haven’t made the leap to size-based estimation, or who have been beaten back by some of the challenges you’ll encounter when trying, […]