When Can We Start Sprint 1?

Question How long should we time box the prep time before the first sprint starts – i.e. the time used to decide on a product that has a good chance of meeting the goals, make effort and business value estimates and get the top product backlog items to be sprint ready? Answer I would look […]
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Scrum Retrospectives With Cathy Simpson

Our own Cathy Simpson talks about how to do an agile retrospective with your scrum team in this video. The 5-step retrospective agenda she talks about comes from the book Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great.
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Estimating Tasks and Management’s Role in Scrum

Here’s an interesting question that just came in from a local scrum master. It’s about estimating tasks and management’s role in choosing the practices that a scrum team uses. Question Chris, The team I am working with wants to do an experiment where they will stop estimating task in hours. Their sprint burn down will […]
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Should Engineers Take Scrum Product Owner Training?

I was recently asked if engineers or other members of the scrum team would get value from a Certified Scrum Product Owner workshop. Our Certified Scrum Product Owner workshops are designed to build knowledge and skill in three main areas: How scrum works and how to use it effectively How to build shared understanding of […]
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Stabilization Sprints and Velocity

Here is a question that just showed up in my in-box regarding how to calculate a scrum team’s velocity when they are doing stabilization sprints. This notion of stabilization sprints has become more popular lately, as they are included in SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework). Question We do a 2-week stabilization sprint every 4th sprint where […]
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Excuse me – are you sprint ready?

A common complaint I hear from scrum teams is: we didn’t finish all the stories we committed to deliver in the sprint. While there are many reasons for this – one often-overlooked one is: The user stories were not ready to enter the sprint in the first place. The solution is for the scrum team […]
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Should Management Use Velocity as a Metric?

Many well-intentioned managers have a fundamental misunderstanding about velocity. They think it is a measure of how hard the scrum team is working. That’s not what it is at all. Velocity is a measure of the rate at which the team is delivering stories. If the team worked long and hard on 5 stories but […]
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A Scrum Master’s Perspective on Story Point Accounting

Recently, I answered a question about how to do the story point accounting when a user story spans multiple sprints. The scrum team had several user stories that were started in sprint one, but completed in sprint two. Since velocity is a measure of the rate at which the team is delivering stories, we found […]
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Story Point Accounting Across Sprints

I recently received the following question, asking about how to account for the story points of stories that are started in one sprint but completed in a later sprint. There are some interesting things to consider here about the user stories, the scrum team, the product owner and the scrum master. I suspect the answer […]
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Dixit Sprint Retrospective Game

I was inspired to create a retrospective game for agile teams, based on the game Dixit. Dixit is a game that makes use of picture cards. Each of these cards has an unusual drawing on it. The Agile Learning Labs team used it recently in one of our sprint retrospectives and it worked well. Give […]
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