Author Archive | Mike Cohn

Reflections on the 10 Years Since the Agile Manifesto

This month is the tenth anniversary of the start of the meeting that resulted in the Agile Manifesto. Much has changed in the ten years since the Agile Manifesto. Back then, the processes encompassed by the Manifesto—Extreme Programming, Scrum, DSDM, Feature-Driven Development, and others—existed only on the fringes of the software development world. It was, […]

Continue Reading

Deciding What Kind of Projects are Most Suited for Agile

I was recently asked what kind of project is most suited for an agile approach and I’d like to address that here. In my view, the most appropriate projects for agile are ones with aggressive deadlines, a high degree of complexity, and a high degree of novelty (uniqueness) to them. We want to use agile […]

Continue Reading

Should Story Points Be Assigned to A Bug-Fixing Story

When migrating a product from a traditional approach to an agile one, teams commonly bring along a large database of bugs. These are the result of an inadequate focus on continuously high quality. Shortly into their agile initiative, many teams (and their product owners) decide to aggressively work through the bug backlog. A common approach […]

Continue Reading

How to Know if Scrum Is Right for Your Project

After years of studying the problem, I’ve come up with a foolproof way to determine if Scrum is right for a given project. Here it is: Pick a number from 1 – 9. Multiply by 3. Add 3, then multiply by 3 again. You will get your answer by adding the two digits together and […]

Continue Reading

The Problems with Estimating Business Value

I occasionally see teams that want to put an estimate of “business value” on each user story. They usually do this for either or both of two reasons: to be able to measure the amount of “business value” delivered to the organization, usually graphing this sprint by sprint to be able to prioritize user stories […]

Continue Reading

It’s Effort, Not Complexity

A client asked me last week “When will my team be done with this project?” This is probably the bazillionth time I’ve been asked that question in one way or another. I have never once been asked, “How hard will my team have to think to develop this project?” Clients, bosses, customers, and stakeholders care […]

Continue Reading

How Do You Get from Here to Agile? Iterate.

The effort of adopting Scrum is best managed using Scrum itself. With its iterative nature, fixed timeboxes, and emphasis on teamwork and action, it seems best suited to manage the enormous project of becoming and then growing agile with Scrum.

Continue Reading

Estimating Work Shared Between Two Backlog Items

Product backlog items can be ideally written to be independent. It is the hallmark of a good team that its members can implement product backlog items in any order. However, it would be nearly impossible to remove all dependencies between product backlog items and so our goal becomes minimizing important dependencies rather than eliminating them […]

Continue Reading