New to agile? INVEST in good user stories

As a <user> I want <function> so that<value>.

Above is a very simple user story template.  How can something so simple be so hard to get right?  User stories make up the heart of agile development.  They are the primary input to the team.  The team takes the user stories and creates product increments based

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Agile antipattern: Comparing velocity between teams

I recently saw an excellent blog post about iteration velocity.  Good reading in general, but the last paragraph really got my attention and is why I’m writing this blog post.  Do NOT compare velocities between teams!  All teams will size (or estimate) with a slightly different scale.  When I teach a course on

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New to agile? Do the simplest thing that works – THEN STOP!

As an agile trainer and coach I often see new teams struggle with a simple question: “How much to do on a user story?”  A lot of people say the simplest thing that works is what should be implemented.  I agree with that wholeheartedly and even have a blog entry on how

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Ten Ways to Improve Your Planning Poker Results

People who promote the use of Planning Poker understand some of the main reasons why it is successful.  People like Mike Cohn have been very instrumental in pushing planning poker and even created www.planningpoker.com for people to be able to play planning poker with

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Agile antipattern: Moving work from one iteration to the next

All agile teams start at something less than the completely proficient level.  Nearly all of those teams do not successfully complete their very first iteration.  As a result, they move the remaining work to the next iteration and move on with the process.  At this critical point some teams make a mistake which is nearly

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Agile antipattern: But the development lead said it would take way less time than that

I’d be rich if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this, or something very similar to it, in the past 30 years!  Alright, that’s taking it too far, but I think I could at least afford a really nice dinner out with my family on the amount I’d have received.  But that isn’t

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New to agile? Remember one thing: Just enough, just in time

If you lived through the past few decades you have undoubtedly heard the time “Just in Time” (JIT) as applied to manufacturing.  This is the lean breakthrough that allows companies to get rid of large amounts of inventory and unfinished goods.  In a nutshell it means that parts show up just in time for manufacturing,

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