Agile Tip #9 – Motivation 2.0

In last month’s column of Visual Studio Magazine we talked about Dan Pink’s book DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and how it relates to motivating Agile teams. If you haven’t read Drive, I’d recommend you pick up a copy. For a quick teaser, watch this quick video that animates the main points…


Agile Tip #8 – Planning and Learning

My column in this month’s issue of Visual Studio Magazine talks about the value gained by Agile teams as they plan and learn. 


Agile Tip #7 – Learning From the Past

Retrospective meetings have been commonplace in software development teams for many years. Teams hold a meeting at the end of a project or milestone to discuss successes and failures.  They use the data from that meeting to look for ways to create more success and less failure in future projects or milestones. Agile teams in…


Agile Tip #6 – An Effective Daily Stand-up Meeting

Yesterday, I published my first installment of a new monthly column I’ll be writing for Visual Studio Magazine.  The column will focus on Agile practices and how to use them effectively on your teams.  The first installment focuses on holding an effective daily stand-up meeting.


Agile Tip #5 – Learn to Love Acceptance Criteria

Tip #5:  Start to love and embrace acceptance criteria. Ask 10 mature agile teams “How do you know when you’re ‘done done’?” and you’ll get the same answer from each one… get serious about writing acceptance criteria.  Acceptance criteria is the handshake between the product owner and the team on what “done done” really means. …


Agile Tip #4 – Plan Using Velocity

Tip #4:  Use velocity when planning iterations. Before you plan an iteration it’s critical that your team understands its velocity.  A team’s velocity is the number of story points that it can complete in a single iteration.  Put even more simply, your team’s velocity is how many story points it completed in the last iteration. …


Agile Tip #3 – Story Point Scales

Tip #3:  Choose a meaningful story points scale for estimating user stories. The MSF Agile 5.0 template uses story points as the estimation unit for items on the product backlog (User Stories).  The field itself is a double and supports different number formats, however teams that use story points successfully agree upfront on a scale…


Agile Tip #2 – Simple User Story Titles

Tip #2:  Write short/simple titles for each user story. In the MSF Agile 5.0 process, requirements are collected in the form of User Stories.  This technique of expressing product requirements has become extremely popular in recent years as the Agile movement has gained momentum.   Mike Cohn has a great article on the advantages of writing…


Agile Tips

With the launch of Visual Studio 2010 last week I thought it would helpful to start a series of blog posts on how you can make the most out of the TFS 2010 process templates. If you’ve been following any of the beta releases you know that MSF Agile 5.0 is a big release as…


Agile Tip #1 – Epics and Themes

Tip #1:  Organize your product backlog into epics and themes using parent/child relationships. It’s common to say that user stories should be small – you want the team to be able to complete the implementation of a user story in a single iteration.  However, it’s also common to organize stories into larger buckets called Epics…