How Many People Should be in Your Planning Poker® Game?

One of the key meetings for teams working with a framework such as Scrum is the planning meeting that takes place at the beginning of every new sprint. During this meeting a team will meet to plan out the amount of work they believe they can complete during that iteration. One technique teams use during … Continued

How Mature Teams Story Point

I was recently asked by a user if I had a way of analyzing a team’s maturity with the way they were pointing. This made me think: what sorts of things does a new Scrum team do (or not do) when compared to a veteran team? This won’t be a tidy algorithm to judge your team, … Continued

7 Tips for a Successful Sprint Planning

1. Arrive early You’ve heard this 1,000 times, but with your hectic schedule, when was the last time you actually arrived to a meeting early? Here’s a tip: Schedule yourself a 15-minute meeting immediately before sprint planning to see if that gets you to sprint planning with plenty of time to handle any hiccups. During … Continued

Should Your Team Claim Tasks in Sprint Planning?

Sprint planning is typically an industrious, productive process. Teams refine the backlog, set a target velocity, select user stories for the upcoming sprint, estimate effort and define tasks. Done correctly, teams leave planning with clear sprint goals and a clean sprint plan. Feels good, right? Despite all this planning, developers often leave planning without tasks … Continued

Tips for Breaking Down User Stories

Have you ever actually bitten off more than you can chew? It’s not a pleasant feeling. And neither is an overloaded backlog. Like a juicy steak, a healthy sprint backlog is best when it’s consumed in bite-sized portions, or user stories. (And, if you’ve got a gaggle of oversized stories, your best course of action … Continued

The Value of Limiting Maximum Effort on Stories

Much like modern smartphones, some user stories are just too big for their own good – and the good of your development team. In fact, many teams limit the maximum size for user stories pulled into a sprint. Anything too big gets broken down into smaller pieces or put on hold. Scrum teams have a … Continued

Are Story Estimates Necessary?

Effort pointing and story estimation are cornerstones of agile development, yet many teams push back against the necessity of estimating every single story. Some scrum masters feel estimations are time-consuming or inaccurate, and their developers may become discouraged when faced with large epics. That said, taking the time to work together and estimate user story … Continued

Sprint Estimation Pointing Scales

Perhaps you’ll agree that Sprint Planning can be… taxing, to put it mildly. It requires practice and patience. Accurate estimation drives effective planning, and you have a variety of options when choosing an estimation method. The key is finding the one that works best for your team and enables you to build the most accurate … Continued