My Most Popular Posts of 2016

Because I wrote a lot last year--25 blog posts and 50 weekly email tips--I wanted to start something new this year. So here’s a list of the most popular blog posts here during 2016. I hope it helps you catch up on any you missed during the year.

Using our own little algorithm that is a combination of page views, comments and time spent on the pages, here are my top 10 blog posts from 2016, counting down from number 10:

10) Applying Agile Beyond Software Development

Agile can be applied well beyond software development. It’s been used for construction, planning weddings, marketing and more. These are my thoughts on how agile could have saved a hotel chain from an expensive mistake.

9) What Are Story Points?

Story points are perhaps the most misunderstood topic in agile. Story points are not based on just one factor--such as complexity, as is often mistakenly claimed. Instead, story points are based on a combination of factors.

8) Advice on How to Split Reporting User Stories

Splitting stories has long been one of the biggest challenges facing agile teams. Here are some examples of splitting some reporting stories to demonstrate ways of splitting stories.

7) Does a Scrum Team Need a Retrospective Every Sprint?

Conventional wisdom says that a team should do a retrospective every sprint. But if your sprints are one week, can you do them every few sprints? That would still be more often than a team doing four-week sprints.

6) How to Prevent Estimate Inflation

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a five-point story better not go by any other names. Or numbers. Here’s how to maintain consistency across estimates.

5) Summarizing the Results of a Sprint

Although you may wish it weren’t the case, some Scrum Masters need to document how a sprint went. Here’s advice on how to do that in a lightweight, agile manner.

4) The Dangers of a Definition of Ready

After seeing the value of a Definition of Done, some teams introduce a Definition of Ready. For many teams, this is a big mistake and a first step towards a waterfall process.

3) Don’t Estimate the Sprint Backlog Using Task Points

Some teams like story points so much, they invent task points and use those for sprint planning. Bad idea. Here’s why.

2) Sprint Planning for Agile Teams That Have Lots of Interruptions

Most of the Scrum literature describes a situation in which a team is allowed to work without interruption. But that’s not realistic. Here’s how an interrupt-driven team can plan its sprints.

1) A Simple Way to Run a Sprint Retrospective

There are many ways you can run a sprint retrospective. Here’s the simplest way and still my favorite.

What Do You Think?

Please let me know what you think. Is this list missing any of your favorites?

A Free PDF to Help You Choose the Approach

A Free PDF to Help You Choose the Approach

I’ve created a PDF you can download that will help you decide which approach is best for any story you’re adding detail to. It also includes examples of the two approaches.

Download my PDF


Mike Cohn

About the Author

Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile as well as the Better User Stories video course. Mike is a founding member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance and can be reached at If you want to succeed with agile, you can also have Mike email you a short tip each week.

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