Succeeding with Agile - Mike Cohn's Blog

How to Prevent Estimate Inflation

I spoke with a Scrum Master recently who told me his team had nearly doubled their velocity in only two months. Rather than be happy about this, though, he was concerned.

He knew the team had not suddenly become twice as productive. In fact, he doubted they'd actually sped up at all. Yet their velocity showed they had.

Sprint Planning for Agile Teams That Have Lots of Interruptions

Many teams have at least a moderate ability to plan and control their time. They're able to say, "We will work on these things over the coming sprint," and have a somewhat reasonable expectation of that being the case.

And that's the type of team we encounter in much of the Scrum literature--the literature that says to plan a sprint and keep change out.

But what should teams do when change cannot be kept out of a sprint?

In this post, I want to address this topic for two different types of teams:

  • A team that has occasional, but not excessive, interruptions
  • A team that is highly interrupt-driven

Summarizing the Results of a Sprint

The end of an agile sprint or iteration should be a relatively lightweight occasion. After all, it’s something that will be done at least once a month, and often much more frequently than that. So, it’s important that we don’t burden a team with any more process ceremony than necessary. Often a very simple sprint review is all that is needed.

Advice on How to Split Reporting User Stories

I've had a handful of emails lately about the difficulty of completing a complex reporting user story in a sprint.

These emails made the claim that perhaps reports were not something well suited for development with agile because some reports are complicated and take more than a sprint to develop.

I'd argue that the opposite is the case. When something...

Applying Agile Beyond Software Development

I completed the world’s shortest hotel stay last week. Ten seconds. I walked into my Marriott hotel room, saw that it had no desk, and immediately walked out.

When I travel, I need a desk. As the owner of a small company, my work never stops. Even when I should be on a vacation, I still spend at least a few hours a day replying to emails and working early in the morning or…

A Simple Way to Run a Sprint Retrospective

There are perhaps as many ways to run a retrospective as there are teams to conduct them. I want to describe my favorite way, especially because it's an approach that has stood the test of time, having worked for years with many, many teams.

The Start, Stop and Continue Retrospective

I like to conduct a sprint retrospective by asking team members what they would start,...