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Ten contracts for your next Agile project

As a customer or supplier of software services at the beginning of an Agile software development project, you know that there is too much at stake to work with just a verbal agreement. Although the Agile Manifesto values customer collaboration above contracts, written contracts are often necessary when working with external suppliers. What do you need to know? How can the contract help you achieve a good result? What are the traps to avoid?

Ten years ago, I wrote an article for Agile Software Development.com called Ten Contracts for Your Next Agile Project. Artem Marchenko, the founder and editor, was really enthusiastic about this article and pushed me to make it thorough, well-researched and well-documented. This article became a popular reference. I was invited to speak about the ten contract forms at the Munich Scrum Gathering in October 2009. And I was thrilled to see the search autocomplete suggest the title after typing just “10 contracts.”

Alas, ASD is no more, but various pe…
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Is your agile transition building a train but ignoring the track?

Every development effort produces two results. The first result is obvious – that is the product or service you are trying to create. The other is more easily overlooked: the development effort also produces a team that creates the product or service, and the organization around that team.

Today, many companies use Scrum and other agile frameworks in their development teams to build better products. But do they use these same techniques to create higher performance organizations? Mostly they don't. Even some frameworks for “scaling agile” don't really address how the leadership improves the effectiveness of the organization.

With the right relationship between development team and leadership you can dramatically improve your ability to create good products quickly. To understand this relationship, and how the Scrum Team and the various Scrum roles should interact with the rest of the organization, let's look at two examples of modern train systems: the DLR in London and …

How to be effective in an online meeting

For years now, I have been leading online meetings for the Leadership Circle, the Aspiring Ambassadors of Scrum and of course many sprint plannings and reviews. How to we get good results out of the meetings. The following tips are so useful, I now put them in every meeting invite.

Some suggestions for an effective online meeting:

Block the 15 minutes before the event so you can get away from your previous meeting and get the technology set up (camera, headphones, making sure you can start zoom and access trello ).Plan to sit in a quiet place with good internet access and power for your device(s). Ensure that you have front-lighting so people can see your face. If you are using some tools to share the agenda or discussion points (jira, trello, google docs or office online), enter your topics and update your cards before the meeting starts, so your time together can focus on our discussing the topics, not entering the data.
My guess is these give us an extra 15 minutes of useful time i…

Scrum is simple to understand but difficult to master(?)

According to the Scrum Guide, "Scrum is...Simple to understand, Difficult to master."


I have never agreed with this statement. Scrum is easy. I can explain it in 5 or 6 sentences. If you agree with the basic principles and design decisions, Scrum makes sense and is very easy to follow.

However, most organizations are not structured around these principles. Scrum therefore implies changes in how people work, and those changes are really hard for most organizations:
Deliver something of value at least once per month. Many developers and teams are not capable of doing this, and have to learn a lot of new skills. Their organizations are structured around not doing this. Changing this is hard.A team solves the whole problem (from idea to done). This implies feature-teams, but most organizations are organized as component teams, so this implies a reorganization. This is hard.One voice speaks for the customer. The means decision-making about the product is delegated into the team. …

Lowest prices for Scrum Training

Why do you want to teach your team Scrum? From a company's perspective,  one answer dominates: better results, faster. I spent much of last year talking to my customers about this goal, why it is so hard to achieve, and how can I better help my customers achieve this goal.

Watch my Lightning Talk: 10 Things Your Management Needs to Know About Scrum and Agile
I have designed new services and new price options to better support you on your Agile voyage, including what I believe is the lowest published price for a 3 day Certified Scrum Master Training in Switzerland.

How can I help you to achieve these goals:
Get Stuff Done: Certified Scrum MasterGet the Right Stuff Done: Certified Scrum Product OwnerCreate Alignment: Personal Agility / Leadership AgilityCultivate the Agile Mindset: Achieving Performance through Agility You can get help and support from me and other practitioners through my online mentoring program: Achieving Performance Through Agility ("APA"): Group Mentor…

A concrete alternative to estimating story points in Scrum

Estimating is such a pain. I remember when I first read about Scrum and saw that the team was responsible for estimates, not the Scrum Master. I was sold!

But... estimates are controversial. Without estimates many stakeholders are unwilling to fund development efforts. The upside is that the process of discussing the stories in the team helps everyone understand what the feature is about. It's about the conversation, not the number. OTOH, estimates do not produce value for the user, so they are potential waste, and may be used to beat up the team if the estimates are not correct, which is even more counterproductive.

Story points are particularly controversial, because they are vague and fragile. Using real or hypothetical hours has other disadvantages. (What do I do when my customer only wants to pay the hypothetical hours, not reals ones?!)

I believe you can base estimates on something more concrete and measurable: Acceptance tests.

This satisfies the need to estimate larger pro…

How to become a Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Trainer

What does it take to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)? The bar is known to be very high. In this one hour webinar I held for the Discuss Agile group, I talk about the challenges of becoming a CST, tell my story, present the requirements for becoming a CST and discuss the challenges of finding a good mentor.

P.S. You can check out my CST Mentoring Program at https://saat-network.ch/cst