Agile Decision Making: Good Decisions & Agile Plans
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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2w ago
While it's true that agile teams value "responding to change over following a plan," high-performing agile teams do make plans. In fact, agile planning is built into the Scrum framework, from daily scrums to sprint planning. The reason? Because good agile plans lead to good decisions. But what makes a decision good?  Does a commitment to agile decision-making and building accurate agile plans mean making perfect guesses every time? The answers to those questions are found in the video below. (I've included the text of the video as well so you can read instead of watch if yo ..read more
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Boost Creativity by Embracing Scrum Framework Constraints
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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3w ago
I’m the first to say that established agile teams sometimes find approaches that work for them outside the rules of Scrum. But I also believe there is value to be found in teams thinking and working inside the Scrum "box". Why? Because frameworks (e.g., Scrum) enhance creativity. Want proof? The video below uses William Shakespeare, the TV show Friends, and the Wile E. Coyote cartoons as examples of how frameworks boost creativity. I’ve included the text as well if you prefer to read instead. Shakespeare and the Sonnet Framework In addition to all his plays, William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonn ..read more
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7 Ways to Get the Best Estimates of Story Size
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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3w ago
I hear from a lot of teams that they struggle to estimate well: “We’re really bad at estimating,” they say. They know the reasons to estimate product backlog items, so they want to get better. Too often, though, these teams will attempt to improve by trying harder. They don’t identify problems in their approach and systematically fix them, they just try harder. I’m a mediocre chess player. I’m not going to win more games by just trying harder. To win more games, I need to identify where I’m weak and work to improve in those areas. A team that just “tries harder" to estimate well won’t change m ..read more
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GoatBot Answers 5 Questions about Retrospectives
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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1M ago
At a recent retrospectives webinar, participants asked a ton of questions around how to remind teams and outsiders alike about the value and purpose of sprint retrospectives. My team wrote down the questions but wasn't able to capture the answers in real time. Luckily, we have an agile AI tool called GoatBot, available to all Agile Mentors Community members. GoatBot has been trained on every book I've published, every elements of agile report entry I've created, every blog and I've ever written, and every course I've ever taught. That’s a ton of content! My team asked GoatB ..read more
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Unfinished Work Every Sprint? 3 Ways to Break the Habit
Mountain Goat Software | Mike Cohn’s Blog
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2M 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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2M 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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3M 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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4M 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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4M 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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5M 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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