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,...

4 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Product Backlog

he 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.

It's May, and we're well into spring now. If you're like me, you haven't yet done your annual spring cleaning. But I'll do mine this week, if you promise to also do yours.

The type of spring cleaning I'm referring to...

Know Exactly What Velocity Means to Your Scrum Team

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.

To see how this applies to an agile project, consider the issue of whether a team should earn velocity credit for fixing bugs during a sprint. A team that uses velocity to measure how much functionality is delivered in a sprint will not claim credit for bug fixes. No new functionality...

How to Be Sure You’ve Thought of Everything

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.

A common question I get is how can a product owner (or team) be sure they've thought of everything when writing a product backlog. The question is especially common from teams doing…

Names Should Not Be Needed for User Stories

I've never been a fan of naming user stories. Stories should generally be short enough that naming them should be necessary.

Yes, novels and movies get names. But we don't name the sentences in a novel. Since I still haven't been to see The Great Gatsby movie I started re-reading the novel recently so it's on my mind. Imagine Fitzgerald and his editor (Maxwell Perkins) discussing the book and Fitzgerald saying...

Sprint Zero: A Good Idea or Not?

In my previous post, I wrote about alternatives to numbering sprints. In this post I want to deal with a very special number that some teams use in numbering their sprints--zero.

The concept of a "sprint zero" has become popular with some teams and so it is important to consider whether or not this is a good idea.

First, let's agree on the basic premise of "sprint…