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How to Choose Sprint Length

How to Choose Sprint Length

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My clients get some very strange ideas about how to choose sprint length. Some seem to think it is extremely important that all the Scrum teams at their company do sprints of the same length. They might even go so far as to make all the teams start and end their sprints on the same day.
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Do We Need to Have a Daily Scrum Every Day?

Do We Need to Have a Daily Scrum Every Day?

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In short, yes - absolutely. This is a common question I get from my clients. “We used to have weekly status meetings and now, with Scrum, we have them every day. Can’t we skip a few or just do twice weekly?” When I get a question like this, I can tell that the person asking doesn’t understand the purpose of the daily Scrum. And I will admit, when I was new to Scrum (having come from the world of project management) I fell into this too.
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When Waterfall Works Better Than Scrum

When Waterfall Works Better Than Scrum

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Are there ever times when a waterfall approach to managing projects is a better choice than Scrum? This might surprise you, since I am a Certified Scrum Trainer, but I actually think there are times when a waterfall approach to project management works fine.
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Five Books for ScrumMasters (That Have Nothing to Do with Scrum)

Five Books for ScrumMasters (That Have Nothing to Do with Scrum)

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As ScrumMasters work to enhance their knowledge of Scrum and help their organizations move towards agile transformation, there is definitely a time and place to use Scrum-specific books to help with that. Books like mine, 30 Days to Better Agile, give specific and targeted advice about how to fix some of the most common problems that occur during…
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The Dangers of “Roll-Over” User Stories

The Dangers of “Roll-Over” User Stories

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There are inevitably going to be times when a Scrum team commits to deliver a user story and they do not complete it. So what happens next? The Product Owner rejects the story. It goes back to the Product Backlog and can be prioritized wherever the PO would...
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How Can I Improve My Scrum Team’s Velocity?

How Can I Improve My Scrum Team’s Velocity?

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This is a question I get all the time: how can I improve the velocity of my Scrum team? To which I say: Yikes - BE CAREFUL! You are falling into a common mistake: thinking that one of the goals of Scrum is an ever-increasing velocity.
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Which Course Should I Take: CSM or CSPO?

Which Course Should I Take: CSM or CSPO?

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When first deciding to pursue Scrum training, it’s common to wonder: should I take the Certified ScrumMaster or Certified Scrum Product Owner course? The answer depends on your knowledge and experience level with Scrum, as well as your career goals.
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Online Scrum Training: As Good As In Person?

Online Scrum Training: As Good As In Person?

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In 2009, I got a chance to see my beloved New Zealand All Blacks play England in Twickenham Stadium. I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing in person the players I’d watched on TV so many times. It cost a small fortune to get decent seats but I managed to do it, midfield about…
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Common Mistakes in the Daily Scrum

Common Mistakes in the Daily Scrum

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Of all the Scrum meetings, the daily Scrum is the one I am most likely to see done out-and-out wrong. I think this stems from the fact that many people learned what to do in the daily Scrum, but never learned what a daily Scrum is supposed to produce. The purpose of the daily Scrum is work coordination. It is a meeting for the team to…
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The Dangers of Creating a “Proxy” Product Owner

The Dangers of Creating a “Proxy” Product Owner

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Some of my clients grow frustrated with their disengaged, unskilled Product Owners. In an effort to get the work done, they create a new Scrum role called “Proxy Product Owner.” This person’s job, in a nutshell, is to do the “real” Product Owner’s job for them, particularly the…
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