Category: Process

The User Story Needs A Remodel. Here’s Why

| By David Hawks in Agile, Process | 1 Comment


User Stories have become the standard way Agile teams capture requirements and were introduced almost 20 years ago as a part of XP (Extreme Programming). To put it in context, that’s four presidents and 14 iPhone models later. A lot has changed and it’s time we upgrade how we define and communicate work for teams.

Most teams are using user stories to document requirements and to align expectations between stakeholders and the delivery team. But building features with the goal of satisfying stakeholders is not good enough anymore. We should be focused on satisfying the customer.

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Do You Know Your Company Objective?

| By wpengine in Process | 0 Comments



In 2014, Rick Klau gave a seminar on OKRs at Google. He explained how the multi-billion dollar company started using this methodology as their internal grading system since they were a 40 man team. What is more astonishing is that more than a decade later, Google still uses OKRs across the entire organization. Suddenly everyone wanted to jump on the OKRs or Objectives and Key Results bandwagon. Quite a few Silicon Valley companies already use OKRs extensively to manage their goals.

So what sets OKR’s apart from other goal-setting frameworks?

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Why You Need To Jazz Up Your Boring User Stories

| By William Baxter in Process, Product Development, Scrum, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Jazz_Flickr_Jose Hidalgo

This picture was found on Flickr under the Creative Commons license. Thank you, Jose Hidalgo for the great picture.


User stories are a staple of Agile practices. Most teams use the following standard three-clause template:


         I want FUNCTIONALITY

         So that BENEFIT

Teams are generally successful at creating conversation around user stories following the prescribed format, especially if they add acceptance criteria and adhere to the (3Cs) (Card, Conversation, Confirmation). Many teams also work hard to endow their stories with the INVEST qualities. Using the template, the 3 Cs, and infusing with INVEST, create sufficient user stories. Passing. Maybe even a B. But how do you get to an A+ and does it really matter?

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How To Get Started With Story Points Via Affinity Estimation (And Cheat Sheet)

| By Doc List in Agile, Process, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 1 Comment


tshirt sizing


Once upon a time, there was a Scrum team that was new to the methodology. It was their first backlog grooming session and they needed to prioritize their newly written user stories. One of the team members remembered story points during their Scrum training.

“Should we estimate?” she asked?

“Yes, but how do we get started? I mean, how do we know what a 1 or a 2 is?”

Sizing with story points is an important Agile practice because it informs the team of the complexity of each story. Estimating is a valuable tool because it enables Product Owners and the rest of the team to have a good idea of the number of stories that can fit in the upcoming Sprint in addition to having a method in which to describe the work to stakeholders.

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Path To Agility™ – Pt. 1

| By David Hawks in Agile Transformation, Process | 0 Comments

Hiking the Mountains


Most organizations adopt Agile in pursuit of one or more of the following:

  • Shorten Time to Market
  • Increase Productivity
  • Improve Alignment with the Business
  • Improve Predictability

What we have found through our experience helping organizations with their Agile transformation is that certain elements are needed to achieve these goals. While there is no one path or cookie cutter model, there are areas of focus needed in the beginning to achieve the benefits later. For example if your goal is to deploy at a higher frequency, you can’t take an unpredictable team and just have them go faster. You need to focus on getting predictable first and then you can go faster.

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Getting to Done

| By David Hawks in Agile, Business Analysts, Coaching, Lean, Process, Product Development, Product Owner, Quality, Scrum | 0 Comments

Part 5 of 6 in the “Double the Value in Half the Time” series based on David Hawks’ presentation from Keep Austin Agile 2015. Stay tuned for subsequent posts…

The fifth problem… we’re not getting things done. This is the Scrumbut part of Scrum. “Yeah, we do Scrum but we carry over stuff every sprint. The work just doesn’t fit in two weeks.” We have to figure how to break work down so it can be finished in a sprint. If not, we’re not getting to done and we’re not getting that potentially shippable product increment.

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Shorten Feedback Cycles

| By David Hawks in Agile, Agile Tools, Lean, Process, Product Development, Product Owner | 0 Comments

Part 3 of 6 in the “Double the Value in Half the Time” series based on David Hawks’ presentation from Keep Austin Agile 2015. Stay tuned for subsequent posts…

The third problem holding teams back is long feedback loops. Some of us have long feedback loops, while others have no feedback loops at all! And therefore we’re not learning. We’re not getting new information.

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