The Agile Household: How Scrum Made Us a Better Family

I’m always fascinated by stories about Scrum (or any agile process) being used outside of software development. When Martin Lapointe told me how he and his family used Scrum -- and especially a task board -- to manage their recent relocation from Paris to Montreal, I immediately asked him to share that story. I’m sure you’ll find it as interesting, amusing, and informative…

Rely on Specialists, but Sparingly

Last week, I talked about the concept of equality on an agile team. I mentioned that one meaning of equality could be all team members do the same work, so that everyone in agile becomes a generalist.

A common misconception is that everyone on a Scrum team must be a generalist—equally good at all technologies and disciplines, rather than a specialist in one. This is...

Equality for All Agile Team Members?

Liberté, égalité, fraternité" is the national motto of France, and originated during the French Revolution. And while freedom, equality, and brotherhood are great ideals for a country, I'm not sure about one of them for agile teams: Equality.

I'm frequently asked if agile means that...

Simplify Prioritization into “Now” and “Not Now”

The following was originally published in Mike Cohn's monthly newsletter. If you like what you're reading, sign up to have this content delivered to your inbox weeks before it's posted on the blog, here.

I think I’d like to buy a big-screen plasma television. And maybe after that, a new amplifier for my home theater.

I’ve also noticed that our home dishwasher doesn’t dry as well as it used to. For some reason,...

Choose Backlog Items That Serve Two Purposes

I've been playing a fair amount of Go lately. If you're not familiar with Go, it's a strategy game that originated in China 2,500 years ago. It's along the lines of chess, but it's about making territory with black and white pieces played on the intersections of a grid of 19x19 lines.

Like Scrum, there are very few rules in Go. Also like Scrum, there are a fair number of principles,...

Adding Decorated User Roles to Your User Stories

When writing user stories there are, of course, two parts: user and story. The user is embedded right at the front of stories when using the most common form of writing user stories:

As a <user role> I <want/can/am required to> <some goal> so that <some reason>.

Many of the user roles in a system can be considered first class users. These are the roles that...

Teams Should Go So Fast They Almost Spin Out of Control

Yes, I really did refer to guitarist Alvin Lee in a Certified Scrum Product Owner class last week. Here's why.

I was making a point that Scrum teams should strive to go as fast as they can without going so fast they spin out of control. Alvin Lee of the band Ten Years After was a talented guitarist known for his very fast solos. Lee's ultimate performance was of the song...