How you can keep Scrum positive

In Scrum, we know we will make things better through empiricism: We continuously inspect and adapt. However, over time it looks like the continuous improvement Kata loses its magical powers and becomes stale. Scrum Masters try to fix things by varying their retrospectives format, by introducing games and by introducing more creative problem solving approaches like lateral thinking (Dr. E. de Bono) to get better improvement results. Continue reading

The only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

(Inauguration speech of Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of USA during WWII)

A short story illustrating how fear cripples estimating and how empathy can come to the rescue.

The end of the year is only two sprints away. We are in a refinement session.
“So, would it still be feasible to deliver the ‘A+flow’ by the end of the year if we do it like this?” The PO asks the team. He is standing in front of a white board full of scribbles holding a marker in his hand. He just gave in on reducing the scope by slicing the functionality even further to a point where he will be having difficulties to explain the stakeholders what the value in this slice is. He even has difficulties explaining it to himself. Continue reading

Why you need only ONE Product Owner

Scrum prescribes one person in the role of Product Owner (PO). Not multiple people, not a committee, just one person:

“The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog.” (Scrum guide)

And when multiple teams work on a single product, the Scrum Guide says:

“Multiple Scrum Teams often work together on the same product. One Product Backlog is used to describe the upcoming work on the product.” (Scrum guide)

I encounter many companies that fail to implement this specific Scrum guideline. Apparently, according to most companies, this is one of those things you need to tweak “to make Scrum work in your context”. Continue reading

How to facilitate an awesome Sprint Review in “Bazaar mode”

This article aims at helping Scrum Masters to conduct the *MOST AWESOME* Sprint Review they ever witnessed. (This article could have been titled: 41 tips that will make your Sprint Review awesome!)

The main purpose of the Sprint Review (SR) is to collect feedback. After seriously inspecting the product, a number of changes to the backlog or action points for solving impediments should be identified.

Continue reading