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Interview after the 3 day training with 3 students, asking them 3 questions: 1. "Why did you take this class?" 2. "What was your personal highlight of the class?" 3. "What will you do differently on Monday?" My final quote *should* say: "Only tests let you sleep like a baby at night" Peter ...
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Working with a range of people, it is interesting to observe how many are aiming to “Do Scrum” or “Get Agile”. The issue with this thinking is that people are focusing on the transport, not the destination.
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I'm sure you've heard of Waterfall, ever heard of Water-Scrum-Fall? Ever heard someone in a product development group tell you “they use a hybrid-agile approach”? There’s a million ways people continue using a traditional, phase gated, software development lifecycle approach and marry it with an agi...
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When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail! Huh? I don’t know; it’s something my father always said. I think he meant that if you don’t have the right tool for the job, you’ll use the tool you have. And if it’s the wrong tool, the job will suffer. Agile frameworks are too...
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The most common question I am asked at my courses is - what makes a good Scrum Master? I always answer this question with a story from my own experience working with Scrum Masters (good and bad) over the years. The 2 best Scrum Masters I ever had the pleasure of working with had a lot in common. ...
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In the past few months I've been working with a company whose products are most hardware, circuit boards, and firmware. There is some software, but it's "less than 10% of the cost and time required to release new product." So the purpose in bringing me in was speed up the hardware side of things, an...
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The most common question I am asked at my courses is - what makes a good Scrum Master? I always answer this question with a story from my own experience working with Scrum Masters (good and bad) over the years. The 2 best Scrum Masters I ever had the pleasure of working with had a lot in common. ...
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In this blog series, you will get some good practices and guidance for having better, more effective and more vivid Product Backlog refinement
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Yes, of course it is! Scrum is a framework to help teams and organisations on their path to agility, but it is by no means the only way to be agile. Back before I knew about Scrum, I worked on projects that were agile. Back then we didn’t really know what agility was all about, but that didn’t me...
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One of the most challenging activities in Scrum is Product Backlog Refinement. During training courses I get many questions on this activity. What do you do during Product Backlog refinement? How do you prevent discussions going off track or in too much detail? Who should be there? When do you estim...
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2012 In March 2012, Ken Schwaber and I felt there was room for a new Scrum event in the Netherlands. We felt the need for an event that was a platform for people practicing Scrum. We wanted to crave space to talk, connect, share ideas, experiences and challenges on Scrum. On 11 July 2012 the...
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Question from a budding Scrum Master, who is transitioning from a background as a traditional project manager: “In order to promote team bonding and self-organization, from now on I am going to try something new with the team. In the sprint planning meeting, instead of me breaking down the tasks ...
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This week I facilitated a Scrum Master training in which we gathered the most common pitfalls of the Scrum events. It resulted in a nice overview with lots of recognizable pitfalls. In this blog post I'll share the results with you, completed with some ideas of my own. As you will see, it's only a b...
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I am sure it would not come as a surprise, but our website (www.scrum.org) needs a major refresh. The current implementation has become out of date and less and less supportive of our vision and mission. As a team, we quickly realized that we do not possess the resources needed to take on a full web...
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Recently I wrote an article about the characteristics of a great Product Owner. It gave me the idea to do the same for the Development Team and Scrum Master. This blog post focuses on the Development Team; I'll describe the characteristics, skills and conditions. Great Development Teams... ...
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After downloading and studying the Nexus guide, you have questions about how the Nexus Integration Team actually works, so here are some keys to understand the role and its fit within the Nexus. It’s all about solving dependencies Nexus is focused is solving the primary source of issues and ...
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Last week I attended a workshop provided by Patrick Verheij, who is a board member of the Agile Consortium. Patrick explained the foundation of Agile and shared a characteristic of "Agile DNA" within organizations
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Recently I had a discussion with a developer about the amount of meetings we're having nowadays within organisations. Part of it was related to Scrum, "Since the introduction of Scrum all I do is attend meetings". And part of it wasn't, "Every week I need to discuss how to improve the productivity o...
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The domination of software development by a paradigm of industrial views and beliefs, a copy-paste of old manufacturing routines and theories, got us in a crisis. The attempts to overcome this crisis by fortifying the industrial approach are without result. The flaws and problems are huge, known and...
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Within companies that use Scrum properly, the organization is built around fixed, cross-functional, self-organizing teams who are given the freedom and responsibility to think of a strategy they believe will result in the best product. Everyone around the Development Team is focused on supporti...
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This is a list of 10 questions a Scrum Master may ask a Product Owner, in order to help coach them in their role.
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This blog post talks about the issues caused by unlimited budgets.
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According to the Scrum guide, sprint retrospectives are "an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint." In my early career as a Scrum Master, I used to follow this definition quite stricly. Time was taken to look for o...
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Inspiring Lessons From the Life Journey of Mr. Warrick Dunn __________ As many of us in the USA prepare for the big college football rivalry weekend, let’s take a moment to learn about Agile leadership from Warrick Dunn, retired football star with a storied career in college and...
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It is my favorite time of the year - Fall, the season of thanks, reflection and resolutions. As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I look back with thanks and appreciation at all this year has given to us. Among other things, I am thankful for you being part of my jou...
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Where do you spend your days in the workplace? Are you living in the Scrum-oriented trenches of your organization, like the vast majority of us? If so, then I celebrate *you* -- as a real Scrum Team Member -- the person who does the actual work that delivers value for the business. Allow me the h...
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Are you considered an authoritative "leader" in your organization? Do you spend your day at the top of the tower or in the trenches? Real Agile leaders abandon the top of the tower and thoughtfully empower an organization from the trenches, which fuels the connections that lead to high-performing Ag...
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A lot of people talk about scaling Agile. It’s all the rage nowadays. Everyone wants to scale Agile. But what does that actually mean? What does it imply? What are the underlying assumptions? Capital-A Agile When people refer to capital-A Agile, mostly they are referring to the value stateme...
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When Scrum is introduced in a company, most of the time, the development team embraces it with lots of enthusiasm. Scrum embodies self-organizing, autonomous, multidisciplinary teams that acknowledge individual qualities and reinforces the strengths of the team as a whole. Who doesn't want to be par...
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The role of a Scrum Master is one of many stances and diversity. A great Scrum Master is aware of them and knows when and how to apply them, depending on situation and context. Everything with the purpose of helping people understand and apply the Scrum framework better. In a series of blog posts...
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The subject of this blog post might seem unusual. But having worked with multiple development teams, I've gained some experience with team members having (symptoms) of Asperger's. I mostly contributed to the team as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach. The combination of Scrum and Asperger's hereby always...
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Before I begin, I have to make sure you’re not fixed on a misconception. The Daily Scrum is not a status meeting, nor a report back to the team. It’s a planning event. You can read some more here: [What is The Daily Scrum for?] Years back, in the beginning of my adventures with Scrum, I worked ...
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The story of the Wygat Weed Whacker goes back many years – to the time we bought our first home in the beautiful town of Allen, TX.
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Southern Fried Agile is the premier Agile event in Charlotte NC. It is a one day, content delivering, network creating conference with a focus on community and people talking. And I was lucky enough to be asked to present the keynote the last two years. This has given me the opportunity to ...
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A lack of defined engineering practices, standards and tooling is an often observed problem in software development, regardless of whether Scrum is used. It reflects the appalling lack of attention to technical excellence in our software development industry. In a context of Scrum, it is even more e...
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Many years ago I was told to be successful you have to have a personnel mission, a clear, short statement that says what you are all about. And mine is ‘to help people deliver software just a little bit better’. Actually this mission has changed from its inception with the addition of the words ‘jus...
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Just like how the Development Team role and Scrum Master role that can be easily misunderstood, the Product Owner is also easily misunderstood by organisation who are using Scrum. Over and over again I see people who are assigned as Product Owner are not really a Product Owner, either they ...
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This blog post is about a little box. A little transparent box. The box contained only one sticky note. A sticky note with a milestone. The milestone belonged to a large project that concerned a comprehensive organizational change with multiple Scrum teams. This milestone was special, because it ...
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Although the Daily Scrum seems to be a simple and straightforward event, I still encounter a lot of teams struggling with it. In this blog post, I'll share my tips & tactics. You can use it as a checklist for your own Daily Scrum, and hopefully, it helps you ensure the event to become (or stay) ...
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I notice how many people struggle when they try to improve their understanding of Scrum. I notice it in classes, on forums, at conferences, through mail. They look for detailed instructions. They ask universal questions that demand exact and precise answers. How long should Sprint Planning b...
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Update: after receiving some valuable feedback, I've added the third lesson learned. The previous week I used the Spotify Squad Health Check model to assess a team's situation and condition. One of the cards the game contained caused quite a lot of discussing during the retrospective and also ga...
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Have you ever seen a Sprint Backlog that can be reused across Sprints? I have! A reusable Sprint Backlog contains obvious tasks, like for example ’write code’, ‘make test scripts’ , ‘execute test cases’, 'investigate' and so on. These tasks are too trivial to be useful and undermine one of the fu...
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GREAT DALLAS ICE STORM OF 2013 I think it was the winter of 2013. I was at the Scrum.org headquarters in Boston, attending training on Evidence Based Management. On the last day of the training, as we were wrapping up, I got an automated call from American Airlines - my flight ...
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This blog is the sequel to my earlier blog - Enterprise Agile Transformation Part 1 - The Story of BB Watt's Lawn Service. In Part 1, I told you the story of my friend Walt and how he got fired as the President of his HOA. WALT'S PENANCE After being fired, Walt was in the doldrums. I fo...
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WALT'S CHALLENGE One of my friends - Walt, is the HOA President for a community of about 500 homes. Although it is a safe and beautiful community, they are undergoing a transition - many of the residents are empty-nesters who want to sell their homes, down-size and move to their retirement ho...
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There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love... I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been. Similarly, an organization must focus the business around tomorrow’s customer, not today’s customer. The organization must continually learn from its customers to guide the...
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A pair of recent findings from the Standish Group confirm the astonishing success and cost savings of Agile approaches over waterfall. In the "Chaos Report 2015", Standish found that large Agile projects are 6X more successful than waterfall projects. While Standish doesn't get specific on what ...
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This is the final post in a three part series. Please like, share,and/or comment. Please click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. Suppose you have a persistent group in your organization who has been completing its job the same way for a significant period of time. They refuse to change despite...
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VersionOne does an annual "State of Agile Development" survey and publishes the results for the cost of your email address. Thanks VersionOne! I recently read through the 9th annual survey results for 2015, and there's lots of good, useful data there. For now I want to highlight the top five reas...
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Scrum is a framework for complex systems development. Scaled Scrum is any instance of Scrum involving more than one team creating and sustaining a product or system. Scaled Professional Scrum is any instance of scaled Scrum that thrives on Scrum’s formal rules and roles, complemented...
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