Scrum Agile Software Project Management Articles: Scrum Team, User Stories, Product Backlog, Retrospectives

 

Scrum articles: product owner, scrummaster, sprints, velocity, requirements, backlog, epics, user stories, retrospectives

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Adaptative Project Management Using Scrum

This article provides a basic overview of Scrum, an agile process for managing software development project.


Beware of the Evil "85% Done"

Don't measure progress within the story. A story is done, or it is not done. Please, make a definition of done suitable for your project with your Scrum team and stick to it.


Burndown Analysis for Managing Productivity & Schedules

This article reviews different ways of using information in a typical burndown chart and suggests a modification for individual tracking of progress.


Challenging inertia through Scrum

Inertia is defined as a state of being lazy, sluggish or indifferent. Challenging inertia is about challenging status quo in an organization. It is about how things should be done differently compared to how they are done now. Organizations sometimes become susceptible to failure as they are unable to challenge the status quo due to various reasons.


Choose Feature Teams over Component Teams for Agility

Scrum and other agile methods recommend that requirements be delivered to customers in small, frequent deliveries of working software. This presents a challenge for teams used to developing in teams oriented along lines of technology layers or application components. In this excerpt from their upcoming book, Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Successful Large, Multisite and Offshore Products with Large-Scale Scrum, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde explain how and why feature teams work, and make the case that this major organizational shift is worthwhile; in fact, it is of vital importance for scaling agile methods, increasing learning, being agile, and improving competitiveness and time to market.


Coaching Scrum Teams

One of the cornerstones of Scrum is the self-organising team: one able to make decisions in relation to the target to which it has committed. In my work implementing Scrum, I have largely addressed how to form groups of individualists into cohesive teams, where the members support each other and make use of each other's strengths.


Coping with Change on Scrum Projects

This article surveys the expected variation of different roles in the Agile organization and proposes techniques with which to better handle the transition to Agile methodologies from Waterfall.


Dialogue Sheets for Retrospectives and Beyond

The Dialogue Sheet is a new technique for team retrospectives. This technique involves a large sheet of paper that help to create good discussion and teamwork in Agile and Scrum projects.


Distributed Scrum: Agile Project Management with Outsourced Development Teams

This article analyzes and recommends new best practices for globally distributed Agile teams based on two real-life projects.


Doing Valuable Agile Retrospectives

To do agile retrospectives, it is important to understand what they are and why you would want to do them. This helps you to facilitate valuable retrospectives and to "sell" retrospectives in your teams and motivate team members to actively and openly take part in them. As a retrospective facilitator it is important to have a toolbox of retrospective exercises which you can use to facilitate a retrospective. This article describes some possible exercises that help you to facilitate retrospectives that deliver benefits to the teams that you work with.


Finding a Partner to Trust: The Agile RFP

By conceiving the project from the beginning as an agile project, you can outsource projects effectively and agilely. This paper describes how one team used Scrum to create an agile RFP, discusses what information should be present in an agile RFP and proposes how to find a partner to trust through a lean, Agile selection process.


Four Levels of Agile Requirements

This article discusses the clarity of requirements for software development and explains how you can use a four step process for gathering them with the four levels of agile requirements.


Four Warned Is Forearmed

We all know the three questions of Scrum: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What blocking issues do you have? We all do our best to answer these questions. So how come so many of our initial demos turn up problems we didnt catch? Maybe its because, at least at the beginning, we need to add a fourth question to our daily standups.


How Scrum Helped Our Team

A experience report on using Scrum on a software development project.


How Yahoo! International is Becoming Agile

A description of the approach used by Yahoo International in its transition to agile software development.


Human Resources and Scrum

Historically, the function of the human resources department has been twofold: to police the organization for compliance and to help cultivate a vibrant culture in which employees can flourish by recruiting and retaining the best talent.


Inventing and Reinventing Scrum in Five Companies

Jeff Sutherland is one of the originators of Scrum. In this article he retraces his experiences with Scrum in five very different companies.


It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Stand-up Meetings

People who have experienced good stand-ups will generally know what can be done when things aren't working well. This capability is obviously less likely for people with limited experience to reflect on. I've written this paper as an attempt to partly compensate for inexperience by describing the benefits and consequences of common practices for daily stand-ups. These patterns of stand-ups are intended to help direct the experimentation and adjustment of new practitioners as well as provide points of reflection to experienced practitioners.


Kanban vs Scrum - How to make the most of both

There’s a lot of buzz on Kanban right now in the agile software development community. Since Scrum has become quite mainstream now, a common question is “so what is Kanban, and how does compare to Scrum?” Where do they complement each other? Are there any potential conflicts? Here’s an attempt to clear up some of the fog.


Key Dimensions of User Stories

Dealing with a large amount of user stories (more than your fingers and toes can account for) is not easy, most often they sit one after the other in your product backlog, or they are shuffled on a story map.


Making Scrum Stick: Overcoming Anxiety And Fear

By being aware of issues documented in this article you can be prepared for them or, perhaps, not feel too bad that you are experiencing them yourself – they are common.


Manager 2.0: The Role of the Manager in Scrum

When an organization starts to explore Scrum, there’s often an uncomfortable moment early on when someone points out that the role of "manager" seems to be missing entirely. "Well I guess we’ll have to just get rid of ‘em all!" wisecracks one of the developers, and all the managers in the room shift uncomfortably in their seats. Scrum defines just three roles – Product Owner, Team, and ScrumMaster – and the basic direction given to others in the organization is to "support them, or get out of their way." This is not very detailed advice, especially if you’re a manager expected by senior management to ensure everything goes well.


Mature Scrum at Systematic

This article presents how to mix CMMI and Scrum in the same company


Measuring Integrated Progress on Agile Software Development Projects

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a well known project management technique which measures the integration of technical performance, cost and schedule against planned performance within a given project. The result is a simple set of metrics providing early warnings of performance issues, allowing for timely and appropriate adjustments. In addition, EVM improves the definition of project scope, and provides valuable metrics for communicating progress to stakeholders. The information generated helps to keep the project team focused on making progress. AgileEVM is a light-weight, and easy to use adaptation of the traditional EVM techniques which provides the benefits of traditional EVM in Agile projects.


Multifarious - The Scrum Master

Scrum gets more and more common as an agile method for the management of projects. Those who want to use the model of Scrum successfully should first take a closer look at the description of the three roles and not mistake the Scrum Master with a Team Leader.


Non-Functional Requirements: Do User Stories Really Help?

This article discusses if user stories can express non functional requirements in agile software development projects.


Nine Habits You Must Break To Be Successful with Scrum

Here are nine habits you must break in order to be truly successful with Scrum.


On Empirical Research Into Scrum

The research project described in this report is three-pronged effort to investigate the issues associated with Scrum adoption. First, the practices that characterize the Scrum agile method will be stated, along with common variants. Second, projects that have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, Scrum will be surveyed to identify which Scrum practices, or variants thereof, they have implemented and the perceived value of the method. Third, factors affecting Scrum adoption will be investigated. The objective of this research is to better understand the barriers to adoption and the leverage points that might encourage Scrum to be more widely and efficiently deployed.


Opening Communication within a Scrum Team

This article examines daily Scrum meeting" used on Agile Software Development Projects and give guidance to improve them.


Priority Markets - A Free Market Approach to Managing the Product Backlog

Maintaining a prioritised product backlog of desired functionality is a key aspect of agile software development. When working with a single product owner and a small number of backlog items, this task is easily managed. However, scaling prioritisation to multiple stakeholders and large product backlogs presents unique challenges. This paper presents a market-based approach to prioritisation that is fair, open, and scalable.


RUP In the Dialogue With Scrum

As you may know, the Rational Unified Process®, or RUP®, is a widely used software process framework that can be tailored to your process needs and can accommodate other techniques. Scrum is a collection of interesting project management patterns used to wrap agile software projects. This article introduces some important characteristics of Scrum and presents techniques on how you can add Scrum ideas to your existing RUP environment.


Scrum and Agile Trac Plugins

Trac is an open source enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects. As many open source project, Trac has a plugin that allows to extend the core functionalities. Here is a list of Scrum and Agile oriented plugins available in the Trac ecosystem.


Scrum And Strategy

If Scrum is all about short term, how then do the strategy folks work in such an ecosystem?


Scrum and SVO-P

Scrum is unique in that the management method is consistently direct. All communication in authentic Scrum is concise, direct and clear. Scrum encourages responsibility. The daily stand-up meeting actively encourages personal responsibility to execute on specific work, and to be accountable to the Team. The three questions of Scrum are questions related to accountability for specific commitments


Scrum In A Nutshell

Scrum is about Teams producing Results in an agile way. Scrum Team achieve results anyway they can by using a simple set of rules to guide effort. We will describe Scrum as a simple applied model so that a central understanding of Scrum can be built. Other complexities of applied Scrum such as scaling, distribution, etc. will be explored elsewhere.


Scrum in old fashioned software environments?

When I look around in the Scrum community, I wonder whether Scrum is only suitable for modern software development. All these shiny, new ways of making really cute, web- based software, with modern source repositories, automated unit and regression testing tools, and other fancy stuff. If you look at typical job postings for Scrum specialists, you see the same situation: It's all about modern, web-based systems and applications.


Scrum Master & Team Training at Ericsson

Lessons learned during a Scrum training at Ericsson about the transition to agile software development.


Scrum Roles - an Unsolvable Puzzle?

This article discuss the different roles in Scrum projects and how you can relate them to traditional project management roles.


Scrum Role Playing

It is often said that to truly understand someone else, one must walk a mile in that persons shoes. Similarly, taking on more than one role on a Scrum team, on a temporary basis at least, can have unexpected advantages that may offset the disadvantages.


Scrum Simulation with Legos

This simulation game from Alexey Krivitsky helps people learn and understand Scrum through the hands-on experience of building a city with legos.


ScrumBut: Construct the Sprint Backlog According to Individual Specialist Capacity.

I was recently discussing Scrum with some Scrum Teams, and one team was convinced that a certain ScrumBut was a better way to do things. This particular real life ScrumBut is to construct the Sprint Backlog so it has just the right amount of work for each specialist in the team based on how many story points each individual can deliver in a Sprint. Trying to argue that this approach is against the Scrum rules is not enough to convince people not to use it.


Team Dysfunctions and Scrum

Scrum doesnt cause team dysfunctions, but it certainly exposes the ones you already have. This article explores common problems through example and analysis. Then, it suggests ways to overcome these obstacles so that your Scrum team functions at optimal levels.


The Intermediate Customer Anti-Pattern

Scrum focuses on collaboration with the customer, but what if your customer is actually a provider for yet another customer? Then who is your real customer? What if these two possible customers have a hostile relationship? Then who is your customer? These are the kinds of real world questions that we examine in this experience report. The report describes a situation involving a complex customer relationship and the consequences of failing to identify the correct customer. We share Lessons along with indicators to look for when dealing with your own challenging customers.


The Sprint Review: Mastering the Art of Feedback

The sprint review in Scrum is a critical part of the inspect and adapt cycle. Having worked with many teams and organizations, I have noticed an overall reluctance (and in some cases fear) to do them in the way they were intended.


The top six technical practices every Product Owner must know about

So, you have made it. You are the Product Owner of the company's flagship product. Now you will spend your days thinking about business value and customer satisfaction, and leave all that technical stuff to the development team - you never understood it anyway. Unfortunately, you're not off the hook so easily. In order to correctly prioritize the product backlog, you need to be aware of some of the technical items that will need to be included there. You need to understand the value of these items and recognize the terms the development team throws at you. Or worse, if the developers do not throw these terms at you, you will need to demand that they start using the technical practices you deem most valuable to your product. If you recognize yourself in these first two paragraphs, this article is for you.


The Upside of Downsizing: Using Scrum and User Stories to Scale Down a Project

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.


Those Devilish Actuals

In recent Agile Scrum projects the layout of the Task cards has changed mostly because of the team’s personal tastes. The concept has not changed and the team agrees with the current solution. We know actuals and ideals are conflicting, and it is not Agile Scrum. Now, we separate them by having a different background on the Task cards, and speaking ideal hours the entire day and accounting for actual hours at the end of the day.. We feel that we have found the best solution to secure our sources of income and still follow the Agile Scrum methodology.


Three Things I Wish I Knew Before Jumping

Like many people trying to implement a Scrum/Agile project for the first time in an organization, I encountered a number of obstacles that were almost project killers. As I write this article today, I keep thinking, “if I only knew that when I started.”


Tips for First-time ScrumMasters

From my own experience as a first-time ScrumMaster for a development team moving from a traditional software development process to Scrum, I have compiled a list of things you need to keep an eye on, almost all the time, during your sprints.


Toward a Catalog of Scrum Smells

an eye on our projects and look for small problems before they can become big problems. In his book Refactoring, Martin Fowler introduced the term smell to refer to something that may not be right. Just because something smells doesn’t mean there’s a problem; it does mean, though, that further investigation is warranted. This article is a first step toward collecting a catalog of Scrum smells; that is, signs that something may be amiss on a Scrum project.


Understanding the Scrum Burndown Chart

The Burndown chart is very simple. It is easy to explain, easy to understand. But there are pitfalls observed in many agile workshops and adoptions. People tend to think the Burndown chart is so simple they do not give appropriate attention to understand what it says.


Writing the Product Backlog Just in Time and Just Enough

Some people want to take the stance that no work should be done in advance of the sprint. That is clearly untenable. To see why, let’s take that view to its extreme: If we did nothing in advance to understand what we're building, we’d show up at the planning meeting and say, “Hey, what should we build this sprint? We were working on an eCommerce site yesterday, but I think maybe we should switch to writing a word processor...” The team would literally have nothing written down—no product backlog / user stories / prioritized feature list at all.


Yin Yang and Project Management

How understanding the balance inherent in agiles guiding principles can help project managers make the transition from traditional project management methodologies to agile.