Unfinished Work Every Sprint? 3 Ways to Break the Habit
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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1w ago
Several years ago, I was working with a company in California, coaching and training them on agile planning and user stories. I came across this one team. They were phenomenal. Truly. Highly collaborative, highly skilled. But they never finished all of the work in a sprint. Not once. I observed a few of their sprint planning meetings and soon discovered the reason why they couldn’t deliver their sprint goal. It all boiled down to the influence of one of the unofficial leaders on the team. I’ll call him Marc. Marc is brilliant, funny, and hard working. He’s also one of those people who is overl ..read more
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How to Overcome Resistance to Change
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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3w ago
A transition to Scrum or an agile way of working can bring great benefits but also great upheaval. And, as with any change, some people will balk, drag their feet, or actively oppose a new way of doing things. The reasons for resistance to adopting agile and Scrum are as varied as the individuals involved. (I wrote about some of the most common fears people have when facing the transition to Scrum in Five Scary Things about Adopting Agile.) Whatever the fear, and however it manifests inside your organization, you must understand it to overcome it. 4 Reasons Your Team Might Be Resistant to Chan ..read more
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The Just Right Size for Agile Teams
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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1M ago
People ask me all the time, "What size is optimal for a Scrum team? Is there a recommended agile team size? We all know that Scrum recommends small, cross-functional teams but why is small better? And what exactly does it mean to be small?"  In my book Succeeding with Agile, I write about the many advantages of small teams: Less social loafing More constructive interaction Less time spent coordinating effort No one can fade into the background More satisfying for members Over-specialization is less likely I also mention that I subscribe to Amazon's "two-pizza" team-s ..read more
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How Much Can You Really Tinker with Scrum?
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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2M ago
I used to love to tinker with things. One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was take something apart, see how it worked, and then put it back together again. And I’m pretty sure every time I did I had an extra part or two hanging around that didn't seem to affect the overall operation of the gadget at all. It always left me wondering, which parts are truly necessary? And which are just nice to have? So it’s no surprise to me when people want to tinker with the Scrum framework. But just like my transistor radio, VCR, and VW bug, some parts of Scrum are more essential than others ..read more
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Sprint Review Agenda
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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2M ago
The most discernible activity during a sprint review is a demonstration of the functionality built during the sprint. But, a good sprint review includes more than just a demo.  Watch the video or read on for an example sprint review agenda that works for me. Welcome Participants & Set the Stage for the Sprint Review The product owner starts by welcoming everyone to the sprint review. This can be as simple as saying, “Thank you for being here.”   If participants are unfamiliar with one another, the product owner may have attendees briefly introduce themselves. Introduct ..read more
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How to Engage & Help Busy Product Owners
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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3M ago
Being a product owner is a tough job. Product owners often carry a heavy burden because they have to get a succession of decisions exactly right. And they usually need to do this while being extremely busy. Everyone seems to need some of the product owner’s time. And that includes the Scrum team–not just during sprint planning and sprint reviews, but throughout the sprint! But finding and pinning down product owners in a timely manner can seem impossible, especially if the product owner is unaware of how vital it is that the team have frequent access to them. Two videos follow that are designe ..read more
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Sprint Review: More Than Just A Demo
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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3M ago
Want to succeed with agile? Do me a favor. Stop referring to the sprint review as the sprint demo. Not only is it wrong, it also takes away from the true purpose of a sprint review. Learn more by watching this video. Or if you’d prefer, read the video transcript that follows. Sprint Review vs Sprint Demo Calling the sprint review a demo is wrong. A well-run review is much more than just a demo. When I think about a demo, I think of a slick salesperson on a stage showing off the new product. That type of demo is one directional. The person is presenting. They aren't asking for feedback. They d ..read more
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Troubleshooting Nightmarish Daily Scrums
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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4M ago
The daily scrum is meant to be a brisk, fast-paced team synchronization meeting. They can quickly turn into the stuff of nightmares if people talk too little or too much. As Scrum Masters, our job is to facilitate daily scrums so that they achieve their purpose and stay within their timebox. Two videos follow. And you might need to watch both, depending on your team! The first video introduces four things you can try to get the meeting moving when someone is dominating the conversation. The second video discusses things to try when certain people give vague answers (or fail to talk a ..read more
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Daily Scrums Not Working? Try This Instead.
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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4M ago
If your daily scrum feels more like a status meeting than a synchronization opportunity, you're probably doing your daily scrums wrong. And that might be one reason why team members are asking questions like, do we really have to do daily scrums every day? If all of your daily scrums are currently about asking each team member to give an update on their progress, plans, and problems (What did you do yesterday, what will you do today, what impediments do you have), there is a better way. The method I share in the video below (and the transcript that follows) helps team members be more engaged ..read more
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Daily Scrums: Synchronization Meetings, Not Status Meetings
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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5M ago
The daily scrum: It's not a status meeting, it's a synchronization meeting. The term status meeting conjures images of sitting around a table with each person giving an update to a project manager while everyone else feigns interest (In reality, they're either mentally preparing for their own upcoming update or wondering how much longer the meeting will last.) In contrast, the daily scrum meeting is designed for team members to synchronize their effort. You don't want two designers working on the same screen without each knowing about it. Similarly, someone better be working on a critical task ..read more
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