Author Archive | Mike Cohn

The Career Path of a Scrum Master

I blogged recently on the question of whether a Scrum team can ever get so good that they no longer need a Scrum Master. In this post, I’ll address a closely related topic: Assuming that the role of Scrum Master does not go away, what is the career path for a Scrum Master? In my […]

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Does the Scrum Master Role Ever Go Away?

Scrum Masters coach, mentor, guide, and enable their teams to develop great products. For a new team in an organization that is also new to Scrum, this can be a challenging and time-consuming job. At first, a Scrum Master may spend time educating the team about the Scrum framework itself. The Scrum Master may have […]

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Why Getting to Done Is So Important

Getting to done at the end of each iteration is an important principle in agile. Here’s why. One of tenets of Scrum is the value of getting work done. At the start of a sprint, the team selects some set of product backlog items and takes on the goal of completing them. A good Scrum […]

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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 6 P.M. Pacific, 9 P.M. 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 […]

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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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