My Primary Criticism of Scrum

On the first day of my Certified ScrumMaster course, we go over the agenda for the two days. I point out that one topic we’ll cover will be “meetings.” I usually point out that Scrum is often criticized for the amount of meetings it defines. I then claim that this is a pretty weak criticism of Scrum because...

Announcing for Video Training

I’m happy to announce the release of a new website, will provide the highest quality video training on agile and Scrum.

The site launches with two courses from me and with courses from others soon to follow. In addition to hosting all my current and upcoming video courses, will soon feature:

  • Ken Rubin on Agile…

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…

Using Scrum on an Analysis Project

Last week I wrote about "Sprint Zero" and made the point that on the rare occasion when this might be a good idea, Scrum teams would be better off thinking of that time as a "project before the project." Projects do not spring to life fully formed--that is, staffed and ready to be worked on. The vast majority of projects can, though, be instantly started and things like…

The Rules vs. The Generally Accepted Practices of Scrum

In a post back in March I introduced a term on this blog that I'd been trying out in discussions and a few classes. The term was GASP and it stood for a Generally Accepted Scrum Practice. What I'm interested in right now, and I'm hoping everyone here will help with, is creating a list of all the GASPs we can think of.

But first, we need to more formally define what a GASP…

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…

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.


The selection of a new Scrum team’s ScrumMaster can impact the success or failure of the team's Scrum adoption. Choose the wrong person and the team could face the uphill struggle of trying to become self-organizing while under the thumb of a command-and-control style manager. Choose the right person—matching the skills of the new ScrumMaster with the initial needs of the team—and the team will have an incredible headstart in adopting Scrum.

Sprint Planning

Many teams try to divide and conquer when it comes to sprint planning, often with disjointed and disappointing results. This article explores why planning, like so many other agile practices, should truly be a team sport.

Scrum Shouldn’t Be a Burden

Scrum was designed to be lightweight, so if your team is complaining that it's too heavy, you need to do some digging to find out what's weighing them down. This article defines some factors that could be adding to their load.

The Upside of Downsizing

This article describes how a project was successfully downsized from 100 to 12 developers. To make such a dramatic adjustment the development process was switched to Scrum and user stories.