Dr. Mitchell's Scrum Shack

Ian Mitchell, BSc Hons, PhD, FRGS

Upcoming classes

  • Enterprise Change: Organizational change is not merely a technical challenge: it is a cultural one. In partnership with Debrett's, I offer training courses on the soft skills for enterprise transformation, and how to apply them within an empirical framework for organizational agility. Please contact me for more details.

The Doctor Is In...

Have a question about Scrum or agile practice in general? I hang out in the Scrum Forum and I'm a certified trainer. Post a query there and I'll help if I can: scrum.org/Community/Forums

If you're after an overview of Scrum and what it's about, you can have a look at my presentation Scrum in an Hour. There is also a companion text, The Agile Buddy Guide. For the low-down on many topical issues, you can see Agile Tom, the Scrum Shack's resident cat.

Latest post: 8 October 2019

An agile team will consider every aspect of their work in terms of its empirical outcome, and there is nothing in their way-of-working which they cannot challenge. Moreover, inspection and adaptation is fundamental to both agile and lean practice. In this article we examine how a Scrum Team which implements kanban as a strategy might use flow-based metrics to inspect and adapt their process.

Read More..."Sprint Retrospectives with Kanban"

Earlier posts

  1. The Agile Manifesto from a Lean Perspective

  2. Sprint Reviews with Kanban

  3. Daily Scrums with Kanban

  4. Sprint Planning with Kanban

  5. Presentation; Innovation Accounting in Scrum

  6. Becoming Agile: Evidence Based Management

  7. When Done is Too Hard

  8. Expedite! Handling Unplanned Work in Scrum

  9. A Digital Service Canvas for Government and Enterprise

  10. Flow Optimization at the Sprint Boundary

  11. Monte Carlo Forecasting in Scrum

  12. Projects and Products in Scrum

  13. Agile Patterns DZone Refcard (PDF)

  14. Scrum Events: Who sends out the meeting invitations?

  15. Scrubbing Sprint Zero

  16. Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership

  17. Faking It: Estimates and Metrics in Scrum

  18. Agile Metrics: Lessons from your Headbone

  19. 20 Unagile Things to Avoid Saying and Some Better Alternatives

  20. Scrum Guide change: Planning Retrospective items into a Sprint Backlog

  21. What is a Product Backlog for, anyway?

  22. Zombie Stories: Conversations from Beyond the Grave

  23. Scrum Roles from a Lean Perspective

  24. Walking Through a Definition of Ready

  25. Three Sporting Fails for your Agile Interview

  26. Walking Through a Definition of Done

  27. Type III Scrumban: A Journey

  28. Managing Technical Debt

  29. The Empirical Product Owner: Innovation Accounting in Scrum

  30. The Product Backlog and Technical Debt

  31. Type II Scrumban: Going Straight

  32. Using a 'Technical Debt Register' in Scrum

  33. Gross Definitions: 144 Agile Terms You Simply Have To Know

  34. Why the Agile Enterprise must be an Innovation Network

  35. The Agile PMO

  36. Type I Scrumban: A Forensic Approach

  37. A Typical Sprint, Play-By-Play

  38. The Agile Crime Scene

  39. Risk Burn-up: Daring Deeds in DevOps

  40. Running Scrum Sprints in DevOps

  41. The DevOps Studio (PDF)

  42. Technical Spikes in DevOps

  43. Innovation Wars: Trump, Lean Startup, and Zero to One (PDF)

  44. By Bell, Book, and Candle

  45. Agile Scaling Frameworks: An Executive Summary

  46. DZone Scrum Refcard Update

  47. Sprint Goals in Practice

  48. Ordering a Product Backlog to Minimize Development Team Dependencies

  49. Counting Chickens: Undone Work in Scrum

  50. Is agile transformation at risk?

  51. Pull in Practice

  52. Choosing Metrics for Agile Practice

  53. Choosing Columns for Agile Team Boards

  54. Stabilizing Teams for Agile Practice

Posts before 2014 are held in The Scrum Shack Archive

"Agile Development in Practice"

I was asked to pull the In Practice series together into a book, so I have. Here's the blurb:

The development of complex systems is fraught with difficulty. Many organizations have taken the vocabulary and outward form of agile practice, but without sponsoring the deep change that agile adoption genuinely requires. The benefits they hope for escape them...and their projects continue to fail. All too often, nothing really changes at all.

This book tells you what agile practice is really about, and how to achieve it. The essential components of an agile way of working are laid out chapter by chapter. The book concludes with a concise treatment of the agile transformation problem, and shows how to leverage agile patterns and practices in order to resolve it.

You can buy it at amazon.com. ISBN 978-1-908552-49-5, 260 pages.


Becoming Agile: Evidence Based Management: It's critically important to understand that measurement is strategic in nature. Senior executives are accountable for the value an organization provides and for corporate reputation. If the measurement of value is poor, then the outlook is grim. However, if the understanding of value is challenged and curated in an empirical way, with a timely focus on quality outcomes rather than circumstantial outputs, then it becomes possible to survive and thrive. Continuous improvement is enabled. Management, in other words, has to be evidence-based. This is of essential concern where an agile organization with an innovation capability is to be cultivated. In this presentation we introduce four key value areas executives might wish to focus on: Current Value, Unrealized Value, Time to Market, and Ability to Innovate.

Innovation Accounting in Scrum: In Scrum a Product Owner can be described as a "value maximizer"...but how is value calculated? In this presentation we consider how empiricism ought to underpin any assessment, and at how the discipline of "Innovation Accounting" can challenge predictive value assumptions.

Contact Info

twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_ian_mitchell

linked in: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/docmitchell

mob: +44 (0) 7849694162

A little information about me

I'm Chief Scientist at proAgile Ltd. Agile transformation is my bag. I tweet and blog quite actively about this. I'm also the curator at agilepatterns.org.

I teach the official Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master class quite regularly. Additionally I'm an accredited trainer with Debrett's, and coach the soft skills needed to make organizational change effective.

Too much information about me

Hobbywise, I'm into Extreme Ironing. I've ironed underneath the ice-sheet of a frozen lake, and I've also gifted the world with the "fusion" sport of bog snorkelling + extreme ironing.

I do quite a bit of scuba diving in lakes and rivers, mainly in pursuit of antique bottles.

Cave diving is another interest, and I have traversed White Lady sump in the Dan-yr-Ogof system while training under the redoubtable Martyn Farr.

Of course, I have plumbed even murkier depths on public sector IT projects. This latter experience once lead to an outburst of Vogon Poetry; you can commiserate by reading it here.

Scrum in an Hour

Welcome to "Scrum in an Hour", a brief introduction to the most popular of agile frameworks.

This material actually lasts 50 minutes, and is intended for use as a one-hour "brown bag" or "lunch and learn" session with a few minutes at each side for attendees to assemble and disperse. Anyone is free to use it.

There are no pre-requisites for this video, although it may be helpful to print out and distribute a few copies of The Scrum Guide for occasional reference during any session you might arrange. Alternatively you may prefer to download and configure a version of The Agile Buddy Guide if you wish to reinforce organizational sponsorship for change.

The presentation is aimed at a very general audience, from managers and business stakeholders to developers and other technical types.

Downloads and Resources

Gargoyle of the Month

This month’s gargoyle is on Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, and the towers for its two huge spires give it the largest façade of any church in the world.

Construction began in 1248 but was halted around 1560 and did not restart until the 1840s. The site had already been occupied by several previous structures, possibly including a Roman temple built by Mercurius Augustus. From the 4th century on, however, the site was occupied by Christian buildings. By 1473 the south tower was completed to the belfry level and crowned with a huge crane that remained in place as a landmark of the Cologne skyline for 400 years. The building was completed to the original Medieval plan in 1880.

For previously featured gargoyles, go down to The Vault.