Simulating a Project by Resampling Velocity

I normally write about a new technique only after I’ve used it for a couple of years and have found it successful in a couple of different contexts. In this post I want to share something just such a technique. It’s a statistical technique called “resampling” that I’ve become quite fond of for making predictions […]

Seeing How Well a Team’s Story Points Align from One to Eight

The topic of how well a team estimates two point stories relative to one point stories (and so on) has come up in a couple of comments and replies on this blog recently, so let’s discuss it. Here’s a graph showing relevant data from one company: Each column of data and pair of bars shows […]

Estimating a Full Backlog Based on a Sample of It

I want to address a question I was sent recently and that I get asked about once a month. The question has to do with how we estimate how many hours it will take to deliver a given product backlog if we have no historical data at all. My first bit of advice is always […]

Protecting the Team Cuts Both Ways

It is a generally accepted Scrum dictum that one of the ScrumMaster’s duties is to protect the team. The usual example is that the ScrumMaster must protect the team from an overly aggressive product owner. There is nothing wrong with this example and many teams do need to be protected from a product owner whose […]

A Sample Format for a Spreadsheet-Based Product Backlog

I want to show a real easy way to put user stories in a spreadsheet-based product backlog. I wrote this after seeing someone tweet a screen capture of a product backlog I made 9 years ago and thought to myself, “Yikes, that’s out of date for how I do it today…” As you probably know […]

Estimating Non-Functional Requirements

A few weeks back I promised someone I would blog about the unique challenges of estimating non-functional requirements. First, let’s remember that a non-functional requirement is a requirement that is more about the state of being of the system than about one specific thing the system does. Non-functional requirements often have to do with performance, […]

Time as a Competitive Advantage

An article I read in 1988 has always stuck with me. The article was “Time–The Next Source of Competitive Advantage” by George Stalk in the Harvard Business Review. The article came near the start of an era in which companies primarily sought competitive advantage through being faster than other companies. This has, of course, coincided […]

A New Artifact – The Long-Term Product Backlog

The weather turned nice about two weeks ago, which meant it was time for spring cleaning about the Cohn home, affectionately known as the Cohnderosa (which will only mean something if you’re old enough to remember “Bonanza”). While washing the windows around the outside of the house I had plenty of time to think about […]

In Defense of Making Hard Changes

I’ve read a number of articles lately that make the claim that Kanban is better than Scrum because it doesn’t require a great deal of organizational change. I first came across this argument in some of David Anderson’s writings, including his: Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change For Your Technology Business. The idea is that you simply […]

Reflections on the 10 Years Since the Agile Manifesto

Today is the tenth anniversary of the start of the meeting that resulted in the Agile Manifesto. Much has changed in the ten years since the Agile Manifesto. Back then, the processes encompassed by the Manifesto—Extreme Programming, Scrum, DSDM, Feature-Driven Development, and others—existed only on the fringes of the software development world. It was, therefore, […]