Long-term planning vs backlog management


When we talk about longer-term planning in Agile world we usually focus on estimating (i.e. in Story Points), team’s velocity and a way of forecasting a timeframe by which a predefined set of backlog items can be delivered. While the above is absolutely valid and critical, we often forget that a success of a long-term delivery also depends on how a product backlog for the is prepared and...

Dunbar’s Number


In the 1990s British anthropologist Robin Dunbar performed an interesting research and suggested that humans can comfortably maintain about 150 contacts. It’s now best known as the Dunbar’s Number and it’s a measurement of the “cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships”. Stable relationships mean that you know...

The 2020 Scrum Guide – Product Goal


In The 2020 Scrum Guide a new concept - Product Goal - was introduced. The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. It basically serves as a long-term objective for a Scrum Team to achieve.

The 2020 Scrum Guide – is a potentially releasable increment not needed anymore?


In November 2020 a new version of the Scrum Guide was published. The summary of changes can be found here and in a series of next few posts I will try to share my thought on some of these changes. However, there is one change that is not listed there and that, in my opinion, is quite significant. Potentially shippable increment is gone Have you noticed that there is no reference to a...

Recommended Books


I am often asked about books I recommend that aspiring leaders should read. Appearances to the contrary, it is not an easy question to answer. I went through what I recall I have read and came up with the following, very narrowed-down list of books I think are mandatory for every software engineering manager.

Team Pulse Check


One of the software engineering manager’s responsibilities is to understand the team’s dynamics and to know if your direct reports are happy in their jobs. While it sounds easy getting full insights from 1:1s, team meetings, or from your direct collaboration with the team is not always that straightforward. It may happen that your team members wait with raising their concerns or...

Interrupt Buffer


In a perfect world, a Scrum team should be allowed to execute their sprint without being interrupted, and all changes or new requirements should be addressed at dedicated Scrum events. While Scrum teams should aim for a world of no sprint interruptions, it's not the reality most teams face on daily basis. Customer usually do request new functionalities, users do discover critical defects, etc...

Definition of Ready


Most (if not all) Scrum teams have a more or less formal Definition of Done (DoD) that dictates when a given user story can be considered as completed (done) and ready for shipment. At the same time, only a few Agile teams have a Definition of Ready (DoR) which, if used smartly, can also give the team a lot of benefits and prevent them from wasting their precious time.