I’m writing a book and I need your help!

I’m writing a book and I need your help!

I am very excited to announce that I am writing a book! The working title is “Troubleshooting Scrum” and my goal with this book is to help software development teams to identify and resolve the issues that prevent them from getting the most out of Scrum. Help me by taking my short Scrum survey Are you using or have been using Scrum? In that case, I would love to hear about your experiences! If you have got five minutes to spare,…

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Strange things people do and still say they do Scrum

Strange things people do and still say they do Scrum

Scrum recently celebrated its 21st birthday. There are now over 400,000 Certified Scrum Masters, and that’s even before counting the ones holding the competing Professional Scrum Master certification! Sadly, with so many people using Scrum, there is also a lot of madness going on in the name of Scrum. The State of Scrum report from the Scrum Alliance contains some rather sobering reading. For example, only 15% of Scrum teams are self-organising. Even worse, only 6% are cross-functional. Can it…

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9 quick fixes that won’t solve your Scrum problems

9 quick fixes that won’t solve your Scrum problems

Improving how we do things is at the heart of any agile methodology. We’re always on the look-out for opportunities to improve. Through this continuous improvement, we’re on a constant journey towards finding the ways to delivering as much value we can, as effectively as possible. However, if we’re not looking deeply enough to find the root cause of the problems we’re seeing, the risk is that we end up attempting quick fixes. We try to address the symptoms rather than the…

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It’s probably not really a project you’re working on, so stop treating it like one

It’s probably not really a project you’re working on, so stop treating it like one

I’d like to let you in on a secret: I don’t believe in projects! I believe it’s a bad idea to use a project to deliver or maintain software. We talk a lot about products in agile. For example, we call our backlog a product backlog, not a project backlog. We talk about our teams as product teams or feature teams (or possibly component teams), rather than project teams. Still, projects still seem to be the norm for how we deliver…

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5 ways to waste development effort (and how to fix it)

5 ways to waste development effort (and how to fix it)

There are a lot of ways to waste time and effort when developing software, and it’s not even things like catching up on Facebook or playing table football I’m talking about. It is completely possible to work incredibly hard without generating of value at all. Sometimes, it’s even our own good intentions that trip up us! Sources of waste 1. Building the wrong thing The worst possible waste is probably when we efficiently and using all our expertise, deliver something…

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If your requirements don’t change, you are doing it wrong

If your requirements don’t change, you are doing it wrong

How can we possibly deliver this feature if the requirements keep changing all the time!?? We’re all familiar with the theory: one of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto is to welcome changing requirements, even late in the development. This is one of the biggest distinctions between being agile and taking a more traditional approach to project management. Changing requirements can cause a lot of frustration In practice, it can be a lot harder to enthusiastically embrace how our goal…

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Is your daily stand-up a daily waste of time? These 5 experiments may help

Is your daily stand-up a daily waste of time? These 5 experiments may help

We’ve probably all been there at some point, standing in a daily stand-up meeting, thinking “This is a complete waste of my time!”. Maybe, the stand-up dragged on forever, with someone going on and on about the day before in such detail that you start wondering whether they will mention that they went to the toilet as well. Or a couple of people were discussing how to solve some admittedly important issue which was completely irrelevant to the rest of…

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Self-selecting teams with just two teams

Self-selecting teams with just two teams

You don’t need a lot of people for self-selecting teams to be useful. Self-selecting teams is a practice where people get to choose for themselves which team they want to be in. Typically, it is associated with large scale agile implementations and obviously it does make sense to tackle the complicated task of organising 50 or 100 people into teams the same way we as so often solve complicated tasks in agile: self-organisation. But how about using self-selection on a much…

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5 things I’ve learned about Scrum the hard way

5 things I’ve learned about Scrum the hard way

I got my Scrum Master certification in 2007 and have been using Scrum in many of the teams I’ve been working in since then. It’s fair to say it’s been an educational journey and in this article I’d like to mention a few things I’ve found out along the way. 1. Scrum really does work best for small teams I’ve tried using Scrum with teams of many different sizes. Sometimes they’ve even been above the 9 person dictated maximum. In those…

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How to Treat Unestimated Product Backlog Items

How to Treat Unestimated Product Backlog Items

We all know that a product backlog is an ordered list of items we’re expecting to deliver, and it includes the estimate of the required effort to deliver each one of these items. We also know that only the team may estimate the items in the backlog. The Scrum Guide is very clear on this: The Development Team is responsible for all estimates. The Product Owner may influence the Development Team by helping it understand and select trade-offs, but the…

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