Yearly Archives: 2011

How does QA fit in?

Question from Liz:  The team and I are starting agile and we can’t get much info on where QA fits into Agile. Answer: First, I want to reiterate Jeff Sutherland’s concern (mentioned in this blog post), that the biggest problem is too many teams are not getting to working product (working software) within a Sprint […]

Release Planning: Business Value Points

One difference between what I recommend for Release Planning and what others recommend is Business Value Points (BVPs). What do I mean? First, is it useful to distinguish the Business Value (BV) of items in the Product Backlog?  Yes, of course. Why?  Many ways to explain.  One: Pareto says you can re-apply the Pareto rule […]

Latest Reading List – Books

We have a list of recommended books at, here. In addition, we can recommend the following: A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising. Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) […]

You’ve got to find what you love (says Steve Jobs)

There was an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal on August 24th (2011) about Steve Jobs. It gives the text of his commencement address at Stanford in 2005.  A quote from his talk is: “You’ve got to find what you love.”  This is maybe the key line of one of the three stories he […]

Joe’s Approach to Agile Release Planning

Agile Release Planning is technically not part of Scrum.  But I think almost all Teams need it. As a coach, here are my thoughts on what Agile Release Planning should comprise. For 5-7 months of work, this could be done in about 1 day (maybe into a second day).  With good enough quality to then […]

Joe’s Unofficial Scrum Checklist

Henrik Kniberg did a Scrum Checklist a while ago. Occasionally students at courses ask me for a similar thing. One always wonders: what are the most important questions to ask? What are the most important things to consider? Nothing that is somewhat short can address all the issues one finds in the real world, with […]

Release Planning with Business Stakeholders

I just posted in the Yahoo group Agile Business the following: The past 3 (business) days I worked with a team in Atlanta to do release planning with the Business Stakeholders.  The business stakeholders were external customers. I was extremely impressed with the results. I strongly recommend it. Situation: * 15 people (6 pigs, 3 […]

Better Retrospectives

In Scrum (and in life), we have periodic retrospectives.  In Scrum, we have a time-boxed Retrospective meeting once each sprint. Why? The main reason is to be more productive without working any harder.  Put another way: mainly to remove impediments. I hear about far too many Retrospectives where we have a lot of fun bitching […]

The Biggest Problem

Jeff Sutherland believes that the biggest problem with Scrum teams, the most frequently encountered problem, is that the Team does not have working product at the end of the Sprint. This is fundamental to Scrum.  And, in my view, fundamental to being successful. Why is this so important? First, working product enables the empirical process; it […]

The Michael Phelps Attitude

Whatever we do, what is our attitude?  In work or in much of the rest of life, I think our attitude should be some interesting combination of humble and aggressive. My business is lean-agile-scrum.  Are we ever finished learning Scrum (the simplest of the three)? My answer: No. Why?  I started talking about the Michael […]