John Hines' Software Process Blog

A blog on Agile software development and Scrum

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This weblog does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.

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August 2009 Entries

Agile development isn’t without its traps and pitfalls. What’s surprised me is how Scrum’s most common problem areas are the same as those I’ve seen in other development lifecycles. Here’s a list of three problems I've seen or heard arise in multiple sprints and my advice on resolving them. It’s my hope that this post can benefit anyone who’s seeing these issues – but I’m happy to learn better ways to do it! 1. "People aren't marking their tasks complete as they finish them." Start by being informed. ......

The real beauty of Scrum is that it gives you the tools needed to know very quickly when things aren't going well. The most important part of Scrum is running successful sprints. You can't expect to have a successful project with the majority of your sprints not meeting their goals. The primary tool for measuring your sprint's progress is called a burndown chart. Simply put, a burndown chart tracks how much work you have left to do in your sprint. In its most basic form, an empty burndown chart looks ......

My last post discussed some basics for starting a sprint - in essence, how two meetings and a little process can dramatically clarify expectations and reduce workload. Having said that, I see time and time again teams who adopt Scrum but build avoidable failures into their project before it even starts. You can avoid pitfalls by following one simple rule: "When first using Scrum, start with the most formal process." I recommend doing this for at least three sprints, but if you must do fewer, do it ......