Build Less, Start Sooner

Jeff Patton recently reminded me of two simple strategies for software development that I’ve talked about from time to time—Build Less Software and Start Sooner. I thought I’d follow up on Jeff’s blog and revisit these simple, but powerful strategies. First, managers and executives complain a lot about not delivering software (or any other product really) in a timely manner. In Preston Smith...

Why Release Planning?

I led a discussion at the Ottawa Agile and Scrum groups last week.I asked the group to come up with some reasons to do Release Planning.  In essence, they represent the meta 'purposes' of release planning.  Purposes that one's approach to Release Planning should...

Don’t Plan, Speculate

One thing people are learning is that you can’t plan uncertainty away. Plans are good for things we know, or things that we may have some control over. However uncertainty—and its close cousin’s ambiguity and velocity—defy planning. When I originally introduced...

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seeing someone tweet a screen capture of a product backlog I made 9 years ago and thought to myself, “Yikes, that’s out of date for how I do it today…” As...

Some Thoughts on Agile Planning

Agile Math The basic math of team based agile is pretty simple. You can slice it several ways, but at the end of the day, one of these three basic formulas has to hold true. It’s all about time, cost, and scope… you get to decide which two constraints you...

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 Agile Planning Onion is Wrong

The concept is simple: there are six levels of planning in an organization, often represented as layers of a metaphorical onion. In the agile planning onion, strategy is the outermost layer. This is meant to indicate that it is the driver of all the planning...

Stress-Free Priority Meetings using Planning Poker Cards

For many of you, there will be instances where Scrum or Agile is something a company is trying but does not really buy into or understand yet. I would like to start by saying.  There is hope! The  following story is about implementing Planning Poker in Priority...

The Problem With Planning

I think I've been pretty successful in my career. But if I was better at planning, I wouldn't have achieved half the things I've achieved in my career! In fact, I wouldn't even have started some of them... In reality, there are some things you can plan, and...

Planning Poker – Agile Estimating

Planning Poker is an estimating technique used by many agile software development teams. Like many agile development techniques, Planning Poker is very simple. Simple, but effective. First of all, agile teams should ideally estimate together. As a team. If...

Agility Versus Predictability

George Dinwiddie has written an excellent blog post about Agility Versus Predictability. In this post, George challenges the idea that traditional (waterfall) software development projects are more predictable than agile projects. He also give a very clear explanation...

Prioritization using MoSCoW

Several years after I first encountered it, I still find MoSCoW one of the easiest methods for prioritization... The MoSCoW approach to prioritization originated from the DSDM methodology (Dynamic Software Development Method), which was possibly the first agile...

Agile Prioritisation: Get More Bang For Your Buck!

A while ago I wrote about a fairly simple technique explaining how to prioritise quickly and intuitively... Following this blog post, I got into an email discussion with Scott Sehlhorst from Tyner Blain. He extended the idea brilliantly, which I blogged about....