Dr. Mitchell's Scrum Shack

Ian Mitchell, BSc Hons, PhD, FRGS
Agile Alliance Member
DZone Most Valuable Blogger
IBM Certified Enterprise Developer
Certified Scrum Master

Latest post: 28 February 2018

In some organizations estimated measures like "story points" are commoditized, and misused as a surrogate currency. This can invite bizarre inflationary pressures and market distortions upon any numbers which might be arrived at, while the actual provision of value to stakeholders is ignored as a quantity too difficult to determine. Yet these suspect techniques, whereby projections are made which are based on estimates, can be used quite rationally by agile teams themselves. In this post we look at the advantages and risks of attempting to measure progress using Sprint and Product Burndowns, and the extent to which empirical process control might reasonably be faked.

Read More..."Faking It: Estimates and Metrics in Scrum"

Earlier posts

    1. Agile Metrics: Lessons from your Headbone
    2. 20 Unagile Things to Avoid Saying and Some Better Alternatives
    3. Scrum Guide change: Planning Retrospective items into a Sprint Backlog
    4. What is a Product Backlog for, anyway?
    5. Zombie Stories: Conversations from Beyond the Grave
    6. Scrum Roles from a Lean Perspective
    7. Walking Through a Definition of Ready
    8. Three Sporting Fails for your Agile Interview
    9. Walking Through a Definition of Done
    10. Type III Scrumban: A Journey
    11. Managing Technical Debt
    12. The Empirical Product Owner: Innovation Accounting in Scrum
    13. The Product Backlog and Technical Debt
    14. Type II Scrumban: Going Straight
    15. Using a 'Technical Debt Register' in Scrum
    16. Gross Definitions: 144 Agile Terms You Simply Have To Know
    17. Why the Agile Enterprise must be an Innovation Network
    18. The Agile PMO
    19. Type I Scrumban: A Forensic Approach
    20. A Typical Sprint, Play-By-Play
    21. The Agile Crime Scene
    22. Risk Burn-up: Daring Deeds in DevOps
    23. Running Scrum Sprints in DevOps
    24. The DevOps Studio (PDF)
    25. Technical Spikes in DevOps
    26. Innovation Wars: Trump, Lean Startup, and Zero to One (PDF)
    27. By Bell, Book, and Candle
    28. Agile Scaling Frameworks: An Executive Summary
    29. DZone Scrum Refcard Update
    30. Sprint Goals in Practice
    31. Ordering a Product Backlog to Minimize Development Team Dependencies
    32. Counting Chickens: Undone Work in Scrum
    33. Is agile transformation at risk?
    34. Pull in Practice
    35. Choosing Metrics for Agile Practice
    36. Choosing Columns for Agile Team Boards
    37. Stabilizing Teams for Agile Practice
    38. Agile Transformation in Organizations that Suck
    39. Method Wars: On the Commoditization of Estimates
    40. Method Wars: Scrum vs SAFe
    41. Limiting WIP: Stories vs Tasks
    42. Sprint Retrospectives in Practice
    43. Your boss, the Invader from Mars
    44. Sprint Backlogs in Practice
    45. The Agile Response to a P1 Incident
    46. The Kanban Sandwich: A Bite-Size Recipe for Agile Work Flows at Scale
    47. Agile Teamwork in Practice
    48. Sprint Reviews in Practice
    49. Taking One for the Team: the Refactoring of Failure
    50. Definitions of Done in Practice
    51. Product Backlogs in Practice
    52. Confirmed or Busted: Are the Mythbusters Agile?
    53. Agile Estimation in Practice
    54. Sprint Planning in Practice
    55. Winging It: Going Live with Technical Debt
    56. Scrum Master: Servant Leadership in Practice
    57. An Agile Health Check: The Daily Standup in Practice
    58. Suiting Up for Agile Practice
    59. User Stories in Practice
    60. Product Ownership in Practice
    61. Why Stretched Teams do Scrumban
    62. Getting Real with Scrumban

    An archive of posts before 2013 is available here.

    Agile Development in Practice
    "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.

    The Doctor Is In...
    Ian in Dev Shed

    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:

    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.

    I teach the Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master course fairly regularly. Classes are usually held in Aske Hall in North Yorkshire:
    Upcoming classes

    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.

    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.

    Contact info

    twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_ian_mitchell
    linked in: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/docmitchell
    mob: +44 (0) 7849694162

    Gargoyle of the Month

    Gargoyle on St Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork
    This month's gargoyle is on Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork, Ireland. The cathedral is located on the south side of the River Lee, ground that has been a place of worship since the seventh century, and is dedicated to Finbarr of Cork, patron saint of the city.  Archaeological evidence suggests the first site at Fin Barre's probably dates from the 7th century, and consisted of a church and round tower which survived until the 12th century, after which it fell into neglect, or was destroyed during the Norse invasions.

    The present cathedral, constructed in the 19th Century, is mostly built from local stone sourced from Little Island and Fermoy. The exterior is capped by three spires: two on the west front and above where the transept crosses the nave. Many of the external sculptures, including the gargoyles, were modelled by Thomas Nicholls.

    For previously featured gargoyles, go down to The Vault.