Author Archive | Mike Cohn

Five Lessons I’m Thankful I Learned in my Agile Career

Since it’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States, I took some time out of my schedule to reflect on some lessons I’m very thankful to have learned through my career. While these lessons are not unique to Scrum or even agile, each has been a big part of my success with agile. For each […]

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The Four Reasons to Have a Consistent Sprint Length

An agile team should maintain a consistent sprint length. Unfortunately, when I first began doing iterative and incremental development (even a bit before doing what today we’d call agile development), I made the mistake of not having all of our sprints be the same length. We would meet at the start of a sprint to […]

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Five Scary Things About Adopting Agile

I’ve never been a huge fan of horror movies. But I have always liked Halloween, especially as a kid. I loved dressing in a scary costume and trying to frighten my friends or other trick-or-treaters. And I admit to getting a bit of a thrill from walking through a well executed haunted house. But, there […]

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Better User Stories: 24 Hours Until Doors Close

Just a quick post this week to let you know that we will be closing registration to Better User Stories tomorrow at 9 P.M. Pacific, midnight Eastern. We still have spaces for the Expert and Professional Levels, but Work With Mike is now completely sold out. Click here to register before the deadline Just a […]

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Doors Now Open to Better User Stories Video Course: Four Current Students Share Their Experience with Video Training

This blog post refers to a four-part series of videos on overcoming challenges with user stories. Topics covered are conducting story-writing workshops with story maps, splitting stories, and achieving the right level of detail in user stories. To be notified when you the videos are again available, sign up below: Today, the advanced Better User […]

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Schedule vs. Cost: The Tradeoff in Agile

To a large extent, agile is about making tradeoffs. Product owners learn they can trade scope for schedule: get more later or less sooner. Agile projects need to strike a balance between no upfront thinking and too much upfront thinking, a subject I’ve written about before. I want to write now about a tradeoff that […]

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Six Times Two Plus One Equals a Good Project Cadence

In last month's newsletter I wrote about the idea that everything happens within a sprint. There is no “outside a sprint” during which team members might do things like design, bug fixing, or anything else. In this newsletter I want to share one possible exception to that.  Something I've been doing for years is called […]

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Only Show Finished Work During a Sprint Review—Maybe

I was at dinner years ago with my wife, a friend and his girlfriend. After the main course, our waiter brought around a dessert tray. As he pointed out each dessert option, the waiter made a show of flicking his finger into the item he was discussing. Fortunately, the items were all plastic and his […]

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Placing Rules on Self-Organizing Teams

Many of the challenges in agile and Scrum stem from the idea of the self-organizing team. Of course, many (perhaps most) of the benefits are also the result of self-organizing teams. One of the questions I get from many leaders is whether it's OK to mandate the team do something like use a particular tool, […]

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Don’t Take Partial Credit for Semi-Finished Stories

Coming close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. That pretty much sums up my view on whether teams should take partial credit on nearly finished stories when calculating velocity. In this newsletter, though, I do want to address some of the reasons why. Typically, a team wants partial credit when they're reached the end […]

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