Is a baby just a scaled down adult?

One of the most common complaints about using Scrum is the amount of meeting time.  In How Much Meeting Time, we used the meeting length recommendations from the Scrum Guide for a one month sprint to calculate the meeting burden rate. The number was 22.5%, assuming everyone is involved in each meeting and the meetings toe the line in terms of the guidance provided. One of the common recommendations to mute the meeting overhead problem is to use shorter sprints or iterations.  (more…)

 

Meeting Time Is Not Always The High Point Of The Day

If you have ever performed as a Scrum Master or agile coach you have been asked about the overhead in Scrum. Overhead is almost always a codeword for meetings where “stuff” happens but nothing is built, coded, or tested, which in a software-centric scenario will drive a coder or tester up a wall. If we exclude (for the time being) some really bad practices that have been promoted and adopted, the amount of time in Scrum specific meetings is generally predictable. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 573 features our essay using a workflow to prioritize a backlog. Items on any backlog proliferate. Product backlogs used in agile and lean development approaches are no different.  Many outsiders have the mistaken notion that once on the list that that is the end of the story — let’s dissuade them of this idea.

 Gene Hughson brings his Form Follows Function column to the podcast.  Gene and I discussed his experience as an application architect. 

 Re-Read Saturday News (more…)

Birds lined up as a metaphor of lining thngs up

Lining things up!

Items on any backlog proliferate. Product backlogs used in agile and lean development approaches are no different.  Many outsiders have the mistaken notion that once on the list that is the end of the story. Mentally the story goes something like, I told that product owner in the email that I needed “x” and that it was important to a C-level executive, therefore it is in the backlog, the team will expedite their new priority, and magically new functionality will be delivered. (more…)

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I apologize for the delay in publication — ahhh the vagueries of travel!

SPaMCAST 570 features our essay on the components of good sprint goals. Sprint goals provide direction and energy, and they communicate with the outside world. A sprint goal should be a straightforward statement that a product owner should be able to craft quickly and then agree upon with a team. We provide a structure to keep goals simple and impactful.  

We will also have a visit from Susan Parente. In this installment of Susan’s Not a Scrumdamentalist column, we discuss value.  Value is core to many practices, the problem is that value is a very nebulous concept. Susan provides guidance. Continue the conversation with Susan at parente@s3-tec.com and visit her company at www.s3-tec.com (more…)

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This week in SPaMCAST 568 marks the return of Sandeep Koorse.  Sandeep brings deep insight into the Agile mindset, passion, and experimentation. All three are required for a healthy team. Sandeep last appeared as part of SPaMCAST 511.

Sandeep is an innovative leader with over 15 years of experience in helping companies achieve higher results through a careful evaluation of their processes and their technology. Known for determining the metrics and behaviors that promote consistent excellence then sharing those values with colleagues through influence and authority. Recognized by peers for exceptional problem-solving abilities, excellent communication skills, and a passion for the community. Reach out to Sandeep at sandeep@koorse.com (more…)

So the answer is . . .

A minor update for Sprint Planning in late 2019!  At some point planning for planning needs to give way to planning.  Planning identifies a goal and helps to envision the steps needed to attain that goal. In Agile, the planning event also sends a message about the amount of work a team anticipates delivering in an iteration. While every team faces variations based on context and the work that is in front of them, a basic planning process is encapsulated in the following simple checklist. (more…)

A mad house or a meeting?

Depending on whom you ask and/or when you ask, meetings are a bane or boon.  Scrum practitioners often call the standard meetings ‘ceremonies’. The term confers a huge amount of gravitas to events that are just meetings.  What sets them aside from many run-of-the-mill conference calls is their explicit purpose.   (more…)

Look up!

Sprint goals provide direction, they provide energy, and they communicate to the outside world. A sprint goal sounds like a simple, straightforward statement that a product owner should be able to craft quickly and then agree upon with a team with relative ease.  Yeah, right. Real-life is often messier. Teams spend hours – literally – to craft eloquent statements that include every business metaphor known to humankind, or just as bad, they throw together a laundry list of stories and call that a goal. Too much or too little, neither extreme is valuable.  A useful minimalist approach to sprint goals will address four major themes. They are:

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Climbing towards better sprint goals!

Sprint goals are an important tool for describing the value a team is striving to deliver. Goals can be used to rally the team and to bring the energy of disparate individuals to bear on a specific business problem.  Despite the power of the tool, sprint goals are not universally created and when they are done they are not always well done. In order to guide positive behavior, framing sprint goals so they exhibit:   (more…)