Succeeding with Agile - Mike Cohn's Blog

Upfront Thinking Is Like Insurance

Insurance is great for all sorts of things. I have health insurance in case I become ill or injured. I have auto insurance that will repair or replace my vehicle if it's damaged. It also protects me in case I am involved in an accident that harms someone else. I have life insurance so that if I die, my wife and daughters are taken care of.

These are types of insurance I've…

Sign Up for My New Weekly Email Tips

If you like the tips and ideas I share here (and I sure hope you do), I’ve got some good news for you. I’m changing what has forever been the “Mountain Goat Software Monthly Newsletter” to be just quite simply weekly tips from me.

Face it: Mountain Goat Software isn’t exactly awash with “news” so when it came time...

Budget When You Can’t Estimate

I've written before that we should only estimate if having the estimate will change someone's actions. Normally, this means that the team should estimate work only if having the estimate will either:

enable the product owner to better prioritize the product backlog, or
let the product owner answer questions about when some amount of functionality can be available.

But, even if we only ask for estimates at these times, there will be some work...

An Iterative Waterfall Isn’t Agile

I’ve noticed something disturbing over the past two years. And it’s occurred uniformly with teams I’ve worked with all across the world. It’s the tendency to create an iterative waterfall process and then to call it agile.

An iterative waterfall looks something like this: In one sprint, someone (perhaps a business analyst working with a product owner) figures out what is to…

Are 64% of Features Really Rarely or Never Used?

A very oft-cited metric is that 64 percent of features in products are “rarely or never used.” The source for this claim was Jim Johnson, chairman of the Standish Group, who presented it in a keynote at the XP 2002 conference in Sardinia. The data Johnson presented can be seen in the following chart...