Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Of Course We Are Agile!

Executive: “Of course we are agile, everyone is using Jira now!” A tool does not make you, your team, or organization Agile. I see many organization invest in tooling without investing in proper training and coaching. Our first Agile value is about focusing on individual and interactions over processes and tools. So, any tool we do…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Refining the upcoming 8 Sprints?

Business Analyst: "I just finished refining all stories for the upcoming 8 Sprints. I marked them all as Ready." This is a common statement I usually hear from business analysts. Here we need to look at the who/when/how much of product backlog refinement. We previously discussed the who of product backlog refinement and emphasized that refinement…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – The Code Freeze

Developer: “We do a code freeze 2 days before the end of the Sprint so we can start testing.” A statement like this typically means the team is not applying agile engineering practices, the team doesn’t properly break out product backlog items into small vertical slices, and the team is working in a mini-waterfall approach with…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Isn’t Scrum Just a Team Level Thing?

Executive: “Isn’t Scrum just a team level thing? Why do we need to train and coach the management team?” This sentiment is a common misunderstanding. However, for Scrum to be effective, it requires a change in organizational culture and operations. Without these changes, organization end up implementing Scrum-fall, Scrum-but, or Dark Scrum. It’s where everybody is…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Assigning Points to Everything

Development Team Member: “I’m taking a bio break. I’ll mark that down as 1 point!” This of course is an exaggeration and I truly hope no team is doing this. However, team members are doing similar things when it comes to estimating using story points, especially when velocity is being tracked by upper management. When this…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Yes, We Are a Self-organizing Team

Development Manager: “Yes we are a self-organizing team. I task out all the activities and then I let the team decide which tasks they want to work on. I don’t assign any of the tasks myself.” Not assigning tasks is a good first step, however, it falls short of what is means to be a self-organizing…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – The BAs are Holding Us Back!

Developer: “I don’t have much to do. I’m still waiting on the BAs to finish writing the user stories. They always hold us back!” A comment like this highlight siloed thinking among team members. There are only 3 roles in Scrum. A Product Owner, a ScrumMaster, and a Development Team. Note that business analyst, developer, tester,…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Are You Sure It’s Going to Take this Long?

Scrum Master: “Are you sure it’s going to take this long? The product owner wants it done in the next Sprint and I already told her it won’t be a problem.” I have 3 issues with this kind of statement. First, it seems that the Scrum Master is acting as the intermediary between the Product Owner…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum – Developers and Deliverables

Developer: “Last Sprint I delivered 18 story points all on my own!” This post will not be about story points. I will leave the story points are evil discussion for another time. Instead I want to focus on the intent behind such a statement. And by intent, I am referring to the proud declaration and feeling…

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Tales of the Bizarro Scrum

Bizarro Scrum is like Bizarro world where everything appears to be the opposite of what it should be. It is about common day to day situations that a lot of Scrum teams experience when they transition to Scrum. In this Tales of the Bizarro Scrum blog series, I’ll highlight observations that I’ve seen teams do that…

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