Blog

Keep up to date with all kinds of Scrum news, insights, and thoughts with Big Agile's blog entries!

Challenges with Supply Chain Management

Given that most of my work is related to software products in the agile space, I was surprised when researching our Top 10 Challenges to Product Delivery, that supply chain...

Navigating the Marshaling of Resources

Gary Hamel, a renowned management expert(we blogged about him recently), has spoken out against the term "human resources" in the context of business. He argues that this terminology reflects an...

Understanding Customer Needs

In the ever-evolving world of product development, understanding what your customers truly want stands as a cornerstone for success. This crucial insight not only shapes innovative products but also ensures...

Introducing the Top 10 Challenges of Product Delivery

Product Development is an exciting space and the sky is the limit on the products we can choose to develop. Naturally, the market for your product determines its success. You...

Kick-off 2024 with Self-Enrichment

As we step into the promising landscape of 2024, it's time for us professionals across various industries to embark on a journey of self-enrichment. I continually ask my mentors what...

Waterfall vs. Agile: Which is Better?

It's Christmas time here in 2023 and as such I typically spend this week making loads of sweets and treats for family and friends. It's not a labor; I love...

Embrace Agility, Elevate Success: Your 2024 Roadmap!

As we step into 2024, it's time to supercharge our journey with agility at its core! 2024 will be all about embracing change, fostering innovation, and staying ahead of the...

Corrections in Tech for 2023; It's personal!

The wave of layoffs sweeping through the tech industry isn't just a distant headline; it's hitting close to home as friends and colleagues are directly affected. It's no longer just...

Agile and Humanocracy

Working in the agile profession since July of 2008, I can say with certainty that my journey has lead me to the idea that while team practices and cohesion are...

Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills and Their Importance to a Scrum Master

When it comes to coaching teams, the distinction between soft skills and hard skills becomes critical for the success and efficiency of teams. I wanted to explore the nature of...

How Can I Transition from a Developer to a Scrum Master?

Continuing the theme from the last few posts regarding people ripe for career change, I wanted to discuss another avenue people are looking for in transitioning their role within agile...

Should I Pursue a Certified Scrum Master or Certified Scrum Product Owner First?

I get this question frequently, especially from people trying to break into the software development community. Should I pursue the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)...

What books are recommended to a beginner in Scrum?

In these uncertain times, I have plenty of friends, colleagues, and even mentors forced into job changes because of the companies that are responding to the economy all throughout 2023...

Organizational Change Leadership Guidance and Mentorship

At Big Agile, we partner with tool known as Path to Agility that offers a comprehensive approach designed to guide organizations through their agile transformation efforts. Path to Agility helps...

Qualities of an Agile Development Team

When teaching our workshops, we have a great exercise at the beginning that requires our small break-out teams to discuss the observable qualities of an agile development team. Development is...

Which is Better: PMP or a Certified Scrum Master (and why)

Choosing between pursuing the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) designation or the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a significant decision for anyone seeking to excel in project management and/or agile development...

Should We Pursue Public or Private Learning Events?

Public learning workshops are great for individuals who want to learn more or a small organization sending a few people to help catalyze change. Once the organization is on a...

Am I Eligible to Become Scrum Master Certified?

The role of a Scrum Master is critical in when using Scrum (or simply an Agile Coach if you are using some other agile process). A Scrum Master acts as...

Is it Worth it to Become a Certified Scrum Master?

Many are facing the fact that their career progress is stalling in many professions. In my line of work, I get a lot of questions related to the process for...

Is Certification to Become a ScrumMaster Difficult?

I get this question quite a bit. My short answer is that if I do my job correctly in a Certified ScrumMaster Workshop, then the achievement of the Certification...

Scrum Alliance Board of Directors Nomination

I am flattered and honored to be considered as a nominee for the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors 2024. I have been a guide at the Scrum Alliance since 201...

Agile and Data Science: A Symbiotic Relationship?

Agile, with its emphasis on iterative development, collaboration, and responding to change, have become the gold standard in software development. Data science, on the other hand, is a field dedicated...

In-Person or Online Learning?

I love teaching. I love learning. I love exploring learning with others. Not only do I live the learning experiences in my own life, I help others live it as...

TRIZ: Universal Principles of Innovation

In our quest to be become great agile guides for our organization, I often find facilitation techniques as a place we could all spend more time developing. There are great...

JITJE Coaching Sessions

We are always looking for innovative ways to assist your teams and organization. We are excited to announce the ability to schedule our JITJE coaching sessions. What is JITJE? A...

Make Haste! Slowly...

Agility is a highly valued attribute in the fast-paced field of product development. Agile approaches enable teams to efficiently provide high-quality solutions while adapting to changing needs. However, in the...

Unlocking Agile's Power in the World of Data Science

In this episode of the "Agile Mentors" podcast, I discuss integrating Agile and Scrum practices in the world of data science. Tune in to gain insight into the importance of...

Key Differences in Skills: Product Owner vs. ScrumMaster

Given the amount of training sessions we conduct over the course of the year, we are able to track some of the key questions people have when trying to...

Anti-patterns of the Product Owner

Welcome back! In this session, we will focus on Product Owner anti-patterns. There is no doubt that the Product Owner is a critical role in Scrum. Essentially, they are accountable...

Agile Metrics...To use or not to use?

Metrics are not always harmful in an agile team, but if not used appropriately, they can be detrimental. Agile is a value- and principle-based approach that stresses people and interactions...

What is DevOps?

In recent years, the phrase "DevOps" has become more and more common in the software development industry. It combines the roles of development and operations and symbolizes a culture and...

Copying a Scaling Technique (Spotify Example)

Spotify started its agile journey in 2011, and since then it has been implementing Scrum and Kanban practices. They have a unique way of working called “Squads, Tribes and Guilds”...

Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI)

The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) is a tool developed by Cameron and Quinn in 2006, to help organizations assess and understand their current culture and desired culture. OCAI is...

RVCE Prioritization Matrix

For product managers working in Agile/Scrum organizations, featuring and task prioritization is important for effective roadmap planning. Out of all the features you consider, prioritization helps identify the order of...

Eisenhower Decision Matrix (The 4D's)

Dwight Eisenhower was one of the greatest military minds and responsible for countless decisions during one of our world's most dire times (WWII). When I was in leadership training at...

How Getting to Small Helps Teams Get to Done

I recently visited with Brian Milner over at Mountain Goat Software to discuss some tips you might not be thinking about with Product Backlog Refinement and Team Design. Check it...

Story Mapping to Prioritize

As we continue on our series through the end of the year (the one that focuses on prioritization techniques for our Product Teams), we land on Story Mapping in this...

Priority Poker or Planning Poker

Prioritization significantly influences the development of a solid roadmap for Agile/Scrum organizations. It is a challenging and time-consuming task unless you have an easy and effective technique that helps to...

Reach-Impact-Confidence-Effort (RICE)

Welcome back (or just welcome) to our series on prioritization techniques. As I work with teams and organizations, I notice a huge component of planning missing in their endeavors; prioritization...

Prioritizing with the Kano Model

Welcome! (or welcome back!). As promised we discussing a series of topics related to prioritization techniques. This one is definitely in my top 10 when working with my clients as...

MoSCoW Prioritization

No, we aren't talking about Russia or their Capitol. We are exploring quite a few techniques that some may not be aware of when trying to prioritize the infinite list...

Organizational Design

Organizational structure is a key part of organizational design that provides mechanisms of authority and delegation to people in order to facilitate the decision-making process. When an organization transitions into...

Change Leadership Frameworks

Now more than ever, we face a hyper-competitive environment in business. It just seems to evolve every day. Keeping up with that change is vital for any organization that strives...

Product Owner Certification

Who is a Product Owner? The product owner is a key role in an agile software development project. They are responsible for defining the project vision and bringing that to...

Stakeholder Identification and Management

Bringing the right stakeholders together and effective stakeholder management are essential requirements for leading a project to success. In Agile/Scrum, how can we identify the right stakeholders and ensure we...

Resolving Organizational Impediments (The Fishbone Diagram)

As Agile Coaches, we often encounter (or I believe a majority of our encounters) are in the realms of organizational impediments. I have always liked to think of my job...

Coaching Competency Framework

In our Advanced Certified ScrumMaster Workshops, we spend a bit of time talking about the often "squishy" topic of coaching. Coaching can take on many forms, but I firmly believe...

What Is Your Coaching Stance?

Professional coaching is considered critical in the original whitepaper on ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework. It refers to the coaching stance as “the heart” of the framework. The coaching stance...

Leadership Agility and Leadership Types

Leadership is a critical factor that contributes to the success of any team. It is likely even more important in an agile environment. Leadership agility is quite simply the ability...

Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping (VSM) is a powerful visual planning tool. It helps you visualize the current and the ideal workflow for an item from a not-started state to a complete...

Is Having a Functional or Team Manager as a Scrum Master Good or Bad?

There are three main roles in Scrum – Product Owner, Developer(s), and ScrumMaster. Product Owners ensure that the team is delivering the things that maximize the business value of the...

Camera usage and its effect on virtual meeting fatigue

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to switch to virtual meetings instead of physical ones. It may seem like an excellent method to hold meetings remotely and discuss your tasks...

Management 3.0 in a nutshell?

Gary Hamel's talk on "The Future of Management" has had a profound affect on me as a leader as well as people that have watched the video in my advanced...

Unleash the UI/UX Power in Scrum

There is a wide perception that Design in general is just making things pretty, choosing colors and pictures. However this mostly describes the activities related to UI and does not...

Active Listening Tools for Faciliation

What is Facilitation? Facilitation is a service of assistance you provide to a group of people to make decisions and achieve goals collaboratively based on those decisions. The action of...

Non-Violent Communication

"The best way I can get understanding from another person is to give this person the understanding, too. If I want them to hear my needs and feelings, I first...

Impact mapping: Business goals to product backlog

Are you struggling with how to create your product backlog? You have a business goal but you are still unsure how to continue? Let me introduce you to impact mapping...

Leadership Agility and the Team

To have a productive team, you need a productive leader. Agile leadership has a large effect on the rest of the team and the organization. How the leaders deal with...

Can I Claim PDUs for Attending a Scrum Alliance Certification Course?

Students of Big Agile courses are able to claim 14 PDUs after attending the 2 day workshops (Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, and Advanced Classes). Please note that PMI...

Five Tips to Increase Psychological Safety For Your Scrum Team

As any agile team progresses in their maturity, psychological safety will no doubt come up as something to strive for in your teams. I would like to offer five tips...

Which Scrum Master Certification Should I Chose?

You are ready to start your search for a new job as a Scrum Master. It appears that most organizations require you to have a certification. Which Scrum Master certification...

3 Facilitation Techniques for Quiet Team Members

If you’re sick of being in another boring meeting where the same two people are talking and everyone else is silent, it’s time for a change! Learn three participation techniques...

How Scrum is like American Football

Scrum really is a team sport. We don’t win the game by individual contributions. We win the game by playing well together, much like in American football. In fact, Scrum...

How To Lead Innovation Workshops

As a product owner, it’s important that you’re always leading the team through product innovation ideas or your product can quickly become stale and boring! Without true innovation, your team...

Building a Culture of Innovation

If you’re a product owner who’s working at a company that’s constantly building new products and features, but never really innovating, it’s time for a change. When we create a...

Are You Ready to Sprint? (Tips for Getting Your First Sprint off to an Amazing Start)

Getting started with Scrum doesn’t need to be a laborious process, but there are a few things you want to settle with your team before you take off sprinting. Teams...

A Metrics-Driven Approach to Agile Planning

Using metrics for long-range planning is a great way to build confidence from your stakeholders that your team will deliver. Metrics and data bring a lot more merit to the...

How Great Product Owners Get to Know Their Customers

At a lot of large companies, our customers are so far out of reach that we don’t know anything about them. We don’t have any direct access to customers either...

How To Grow Scrum at Your Company without a Heavy Framework

Now that your company’s mastered the Scrum framework at a team level, it may be time to expand it to multiple teams or areas of your organization. While you may...

Plan Your Wedding with Scrum

So many people think that Scrum is an IT-thing, but Scrum is such a flexible framework for managing complex products and projects that it can be applied just about anywhere...

What Does it Mean to Be a Certified ScrumMaster®?

What does it mean to be a Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) and how will it help your career goals? Can you get hired as a Scrum Master without a certification? Let’s...

How a Product Owner is Like a Business Owner

If you’ve ever wanted to own a business or think like a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), being a product owner has many similarities. A good product owner has to think...

Getting Started as a Scrum Master (Without Experience)

We often hear people say that they want to be a Scrum Master, but no one will hire them because they don’t have that job title on their resume. However...

Is 2020 a Gold Rush Year for New Scrum Masters?

I recently had the great pleasure to guest blog on one of my most influential mentor's blog. Mike Cohn asked me to reflect on how I see the Scrum Master...

Like it or not, it's always about time and money...

My wife and I love to travel. Every year, we spend time contemplating where we would like to go next. Sometimes we spend a bit of time day-dreaming of what...

The Chief Outcome Officer?

I believe the Chief Operating Officer title should be changed to Chief Outcome Officer. I once worked with a COO (let's call him Ethan). Our organization had well over 5...

How to Successfully Launch Your Career as a Product Owner

Whether you’ve been told you’re now a product owner for a Scrum team, or you’ve just landed your dream job, getting started in this new role can be challenging. Since...

Does Scrum really work in marketing?

I’ve had a lot of marketers ask me, “Does Scrum really work in marketing?” Yes, it absolutely does! There are many myths of what Scrum is and isn’t, and I...

The Certified ScrumMaster® Exam

You’ve started on your way to becoming a Certified ScrumMaster®. You’ve taken all the required courses and now are faced with the Certified ScrumMaster® exam. If you are like the...

Want a Raise? Certified Scrum Masters are in Demand, Often Earning Six Figures

During this time of uncertainty and a world-wide pause, it’s a great time to consider a career change. If you’re looking for a high-paying, rewarding career that’s still in demand...

Beyond Software: How Scrum Helps Marketers Succeed

Just because a group of software developers popularized Scrum doesn’t mean it’s a technology framework. In fact, their inspiration actually came from a white paper called The New New Product...

Working with Uncertainty (it's our business)

We understand uncertainty. It is our business to help your business achieve results in uncertain times. That is the point of agility. Trying to go faster or achieve better results...

COVID-19 Update

Updated April 1, 2020 7:44AM CT To Our Valued Clients, The top priority at Big Agile is the safety and the well-being of our clients and team members. We also...

Partners and Mentors

Do you have a mentor? They are truly important if you ever wish to grow and learn in your field. I remember back in May of 2014, I created my...

Let's Go to the Groan Zone

Does your team want to improve? I mean, like really improve? Far too often we give "tuning and adjusting continually" lip service in the agile world. I am referring to...

Embracing Emergent Work

As I practice Scrum and tackle issues in Scrum Teams/Organizations, one common theme "emerges". Emergent is one of those funny words that gets thrown around quite a bit in the...

Organizational Rhythm

Rhythm...let's define that word really quick before we move on: a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound In music, that rhythm is the foundational cadence that allows multiple...

So you want to do Scrum?

What do you truly want? I have spent a career helping organizations go from whatever process they are doing to wanting to be more agile. The request typically starts with...

We can't release until the end of the sprint...

As I work with Scrum Team's, I find a common thread in teams that believe our releases are "tied" to the Sprint time-box. This is not the case. Releases are...

We are agile, we can't provide dates...

Throughout my journey of helping teams deliver great products, one common theme tends to stand out (especially for larger organizations). That theme is that an agile process can't provide long...

Dedicated Scrum Roles (to share or not to share)

Have you ever played Chess? Chess has 6 distinct roles in the game. A king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn. Each player has a certain amount of those pieces...

Stop Starting and Start Finishing

Ever run in a race or participated in a track meet? No matter how far the distance, when you cross the finish line, you’re done. It’s easy to understand and...

Cross-Functional AND Self-Organized

Back in elementary school when everyone was out at recess (do they even have that anymore?), Red Rover was a classic game. Red rover, red rover, send Samantha right over...

Requirements in Scrum

Let's be honest. Most teams struggle with how to get requirements into their new "agile" process. Take Scrum for instance. Scrum says you start with what is called a Product...

Drive Fast in the Fog

Many organizations today simply embrace agility because they "think" it will make them go faster, thus beating their competition. If done under the correct values and principles of agile; it...

Is Your Team Focused with a Sprint Goal?

One of the 5 values of Scrum is Focus. Too often, I will ask Product Owners "What is the goal of this sprint"? Their response? "To get all of these...

Are You Working On the Organization? Or In It?

Many organizations strive to go through an "Agile Transformation". In fact there is a great debate on the word "transformation" in our community. Let's just really call it what it...

The Sprint's Locked?

When I am teaching / coaching teams on the use of Scrum, many of them ask about how to handle escaped defects, product support items, etc...You know, the "unplanned stuff"...

Organizational ADD

We all have most likely heard the term; Attention Deficit Disorder (or formally known as Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder). ADD or ADHD are the short phrases we use to...

Quick and Easy

I have one of the best jobs in the world. I enjoy what I do and I get to help other people succeed. The challenging part of the work that...

Metrics Drive Behavior...Right?

From the beginning of our existence, we have been surrounded by various forms of leadership. Whether the leadership was good or bad, that is a different question. We can agree...

Is Your Kitchen Clean?

I work with a lot of Scrum Teams and there are always some common things between the teams I work with and then some things that are drastically different. What...

Building Your Agile Muscle

Does your team have a definition of done (the list of valuable activities that assert quality in your product)? In the dictionary, the term done means: “Having been carried out...

Why Agile Teams Often Don't Thrive

On TUE May 19, we hosted Ron Jeffries (yes the guy who has been building software longer than you have been alive) at DFW Scrum. Ron is a frequent visitor...

Review Your Sprint Review

Imagine yourself a stakeholder in an organization that is adopting agile practices for software delivery. The teams have chosen Scrum as their agile management process. As part of this new...

Core Scrum Roles

Just like the US Government has 3 branches (Judicial, Executive, and Legislative Branches), Scrum has 3 roles. Many people compare the counter-balance of each roles in Scrum to that of...

Budget Your Backlog

We are all familiar with the concepts of budgets right? Spend less money than you make, eat less calories than you burn, etc...Why is it so difficult to actually do...

"Tracking" to Done in Scrum

There are many analogies in use today to help teams understand the "delivering incrementally" part of agile processes. At the core, we struggle to take our silo'd views of software...

The Agile Transformation

Many companies are trying to radically shift and adopt agile principles in their development efforts. In larger companies, the challenge can be great. Especially when working with people. People are...

The Role of a Project Manager in Scrum

We had a great turnout at DFW Scrum last TUE for "The Role of the Project Manager in Scrum". Many organizations struggle with what to do with the Project Manager...

The Flat Tire

In regards to Scrum, many people struggle to wrap their heads around the process. While it is a fairly simple framework with very little rules and prescription, it is very...

When "Agile" Means "Undisciplined"

Has anyone ever asked your team what development processes they use to get work done? Has anyone on your team ever said "We do Agile". Many people have written on...

Certificate of Occupancy

Have you ever been in your building and noticed a “Certificate of Occupancy”? These gems enforce a safe occupancy number that are built around fire codes. How many people could...