Be Here 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'm a child of the '60s, but only in the literal sense. I was born in 1962, so while I was alive during much of the excitement of that decade, I spent much of the decade playing "cowboys and Indians" and other non-politically correct games of the era. But I grew up in Southern California, and the vibe of the '60s...

Root Cause Analysis of the Failure of Root Cause Analysis

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 here.

I woke one morning last week to a flat tire. Always frustrating, but having worked installing tires while I was in college, I can still change a tire with the best of them, and the…

Research on Combining Agile with Waterfall

An issue facing many agile teams is how they can coexist with non-agile teams within the same company and often working on the same project. A friend, Eva Gysling, is doing some academic research into this topic. She's prepared an 11-topic free-form questionnaire soliciting experiences and thoughts on mixing agile with waterfall.

If you have experience with this, please…

Three Tips for New ScrumMasters

One of the most common questions I get is "Now that I've taken a CSM class, what should I look out for when I return to the office?" While every situation is different, most new ScrumMasters should be aware of the following three issues.

First, remember the values and principles, the why-we-do-what-we-do portion of agile. Without a good set of principles and values, people…

What Topics Would You Like Mike Cohn to Cover?

I’ve learned a lot about the challenges people face over the years across varying organizations when it comes to agile development and Scrum. But I’m always looking to help people solve their toughest or most nagging problems – and sometimes it’s easier to find out what those are just by asking.

So today, I’m asking you to take a moment to fill in a one-question survey for…

Agile Teams and Risk Management

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 here.

Ahh, it's fall. Not only does it bring the return of great, cooler weather but it also brings [American] football. And when there are football games, there are articles about football…

Agile Succeeds Three Times More Often Than Waterfall

Agile projects are successful three times more often than non-agile projects, according to the 2011 CHAOS report from the Standish Group. The report goes so far as to say, "The agile process is the universal remedy for software development project failure. Software applications developed through the agile process have three times the success rate of the traditional waterfall…

Case Study on ePlan Services

I'm in the midst of reading Specification by Example by Gojko Adzic. I'm a big fan of his earlier, Bridging the Communication Gap book so I've been anxious to read his new one. I'll post a full review when I'm done with it.

However, I wanted to share a sample chapter of the book here.

Deciding What Kind of Projects are Most Suited for Agile

I was recently asked what kind of project is most suited for the agile process. In my view, the most appropriate projects for agile are ones with aggressive deadlines, a high degree of complexity, and a high degree of novelty (uniqueness) to them. We want to use agile when we are doing something that is new, or at least new to the team building it. If it's something the team…

5 Free Agile & Scrum Tools for Project Planning and Prioritizing

Mountain Goat Software and Mike Cohn, author and Agile Scrum expert, have announced the release of four free tools used in agile and scrum projects for planning and prioritizing.

Layfayette, CO November 6, 2010 -- Mountain Goat Software, an agile training and scrum certification company, has released five free agile and scrum tools ScrumMasters and Agile teams can use…

Share a Waterfallacy; Win a Book

It seems like time for a new contest with the winner getting a free copy of Succeeding with Agile, my new book. In Succeeding with Agile, I describe a waterfallacy as "a mistaken belief or idea about agile or Scrum created from working too long on waterfall projects." And I give some examples, including these:

  • Scrum teams don’t plan, so we’re unable to make commitments…

Advice on Conducting the Scrum of Scrums Meeting

The scrum of scrums meeting is an important technique in scaling Scrum to large project teams. These meetings allow clusters of teams to discuss their work, focusing especially on areas of overlap and integration. Imagine a perfectly balanced project comprising seven teams each with seven team members.

Writing Contracts for Agile Development

User stories are a great way to get people talking about requirements. However, there's a reason why we invented the written word: to make sure that nothing we've said is forgotten or misunderstood. This article explains why contracts are a good way to capture not only the user stories themselves but also to spell out what constitutes the successful implementation of each story.

The Certainty of Uncertainty

If the only certain things in life are death and taxes, why do so many teams think that if they plan well enough they're somehow going to add software to that short list? This article deals with the mistakes team make when they try to account for every potential need and how best to plan for those things that users don't even know they want (or don't want).

Waterfall 2006

This tongue-in-cheek article offers humorous insight into the pitfalls of the waterfall process. You'll find yourself laughing at agile experts gone mad. You might even recognize some of your own company's policies taken to an extreme.

Selecting the Right Iteration Length

A key consideration in adopting an iterative process is selecting how long your iterations will be. Mike Cohn discusses the issues to consider when determining whether your team's iterations should last two weeks, three weeks, or longer.

Distance Remaining Is More Important than Distance Covered

With no land in sight to guide them, it would have been all too easy for early sailors to get lost in a seemingly endless sea. All too often, software projects also lose sight of when and if they'll reach their destination. This article explores what ancient mariners knew about navigation that we can apply to charting software project progress.

A Regular Heartbeat

We all crave regularity. We want a steady rhythm and a strong downbeat so we know the steps we need to take. This article explains how to give that sense of continuity to your software teams through fixed-length iterations, whatever length that is.