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: 15 December 2017

In today's data-driven world we rely on metrics extensively. However, almost any darned fool thing can be measured, and the usefulness of a measurement must therefore be assessed critically. As a minimally prescriptive framework, Scrum does not tell us which metrics to use. Unfortunately executives can then flood the vacuum with their own cultural norms and expectations, and select and abuse measures in ways that abominate agile practice. In this article we look at the perils of "story point productivity", and consider the importance of aligning metrics to the incremental and empirical delivery of value.

Read More..."Agile Metrics: Lessons from your Headbone"

Earlier posts

    1. 20 Unagile Things to Avoid Saying and Some Better Alternatives
    2. Scrum Guide change: Planning Retrospective items into a Sprint Backlog
    3. What is a Product Backlog for, anyway?
    4. Zombie Stories: Conversations from Beyond the Grave
    5. Scrum Roles from a Lean Perspective
    6. Walking Through a Definition of Ready
    7. Three Sporting Fails for your Agile Interview
    8. Walking Through a Definition of Done
    9. Type III Scrumban: A Journey
    10. Managing Technical Debt
    11. The Empirical Product Owner: Innovation Accounting in Scrum
    12. The Product Backlog and Technical Debt
    13. Type II Scrumban: Going Straight
    14. Using a 'Technical Debt Register' in Scrum
    15. Gross Definitions: 144 Agile Terms You Simply Have To Know
    16. Why the Agile Enterprise must be an Innovation Network
    17. The Agile PMO
    18. Type I Scrumban: A Forensic Approach
    19. A Typical Sprint, Play-By-Play
    20. The Agile Crime Scene
    21. Risk Burn-up: Daring Deeds in DevOps
    22. Running Scrum Sprints in DevOps
    23. The DevOps Studio (PDF)
    24. Technical Spikes in DevOps
    25. Innovation Wars: Trump, Lean Startup, and Zero to One (PDF)
    26. By Bell, Book, and Candle
    27. Agile Scaling Frameworks: An Executive Summary
    28. DZone Scrum Refcard Update
    29. Sprint Goals in Practice
    30. Ordering a Product Backlog to Minimize Development Team Dependencies
    31. Counting Chickens: Undone Work in Scrum
    32. Is agile transformation at risk?
    33. Pull in Practice
    34. Choosing Metrics for Agile Practice
    35. Choosing Columns for Agile Team Boards
    36. Stabilizing Teams for Agile Practice
    37. Agile Transformation in Organizations that Suck
    38. Method Wars: On the Commoditization of Estimates
    39. Method Wars: Scrum vs SAFe
    40. Limiting WIP: Stories vs Tasks
    41. Sprint Retrospectives in Practice
    42. Your boss, the Invader from Mars
    43. Sprint Backlogs in Practice
    44. The Agile Response to a P1 Incident
    45. The Kanban Sandwich: A Bite-Size Recipe for Agile Work Flows at Scale
    46. Agile Teamwork in Practice
    47. Sprint Reviews in Practice
    48. Taking One for the Team: the Refactoring of Failure
    49. Definitions of Done in Practice
    50. Product Backlogs in Practice
    51. Confirmed or Busted: Are the Mythbusters Agile?
    52. Agile Estimation in Practice
    53. Sprint Planning in Practice
    54. Winging It: Going Live with Technical Debt
    55. Scrum Master: Servant Leadership in Practice
    56. An Agile Health Check: The Daily Standup in Practice
    57. Suiting Up for Agile Practice
    58. User Stories in Practice
    59. Product Ownership in Practice
    60. Why Stretched Teams do Scrumban
    61. 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 seeĀ 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 Mary's Church in Colston Bassett
    St Mary's Church lies slightly north-east of Colston Bassett, Nottinghamshire. It dates from 1135 although it lies on the site of an earlier church which was most likely Saxon. A walled-up arcade in the north of the building is certainly Norman while most of the work dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. There are some 18th century windows in the south transept.

    Depopulation of the area led to decline and the bells were transferred to St John's in the village itself. Although ruined, #st Mary's was never deconsecrated. It was re-dedicated in 2005 following restoration work begun in 1994.

    The village of Colston Bassett is noted as being one of only five in England which is authorized to produce Stilton cheese.

    For previously featured gargoyles, go down to The Vault.