What are User Stories good for?

What are User Stories good for?

There is more to User Stories than filling out a form. The "as a <user>, I want <something> so that I can <some benefit>" template is intentionally inadequate to capture details. Why is that? The general answer is that the details emerge from a conversation with the actual user. You may have heard the statement that User Stories are not about documentation; they are about conversation. This is true, but the conversation is more than just a further elicitation of detail. User Stories are about possibilities!

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Off the Bookshelf - How Buildings Learn

How Buildings Learn: What happens after they’re built, By Stewart Brand

Agile is for software only? Check out this classic book on human factors in architecture by Stewart Brand. It turns out that we don't get buildings right the first time either. How Buildings Learn challenges us with a mindful consideration of buildings in time as well as space. If I close my eyes, I could swear Brand is writing about software. Expand your agile horizons and get ready for lots of parallels with Scrum and other agile practices!

I'm a new Scrum Master. Should I be updating the team's burn charts?

I'm a new Scrum Master. Should I be updating the team's burn charts?

No! Emphatically, NO! As Scrum Master, you should not be updating the burn charts.

“Why not?”, you ask.

“Isn't my job to help the team? Besides, updating the burn charts is in my job description.”

If this situation seems familiar, you're not alone. The vast majority of Scrum Masters are expected to do things that are antithetical to the role.

Yes, you might find yourself teaching your team some techniques for tracking their progress like a burn chart. Heck, you might even find yourself modeling how to track, but make no mistake, it is not your job to track the team's progress.

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What is your agile aspiration?

What is your agile aspiration?

As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I'd like to pose a simple question for your consideration:

What is your agile aspiration?

Some teams are better with faster delivery, others with higher quality, and others with higher morale. The list of things that might make at team better is inexhaustible. But what if you wanted it all, not only for your team, but also for your whole organization?

A new book, Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy: Survive & Thrive on Disruption, by Jutta Eckstein and John Buck, looks at how to extend agile beyond the traditional software development group. While every organization could benefit from the ideas presented by Eckstein and Buck, their target audience is those who wish to "achieve revolutionary benefit across the board rather than only in the engineering department."

Eckstein and Buck note that frameworks and rules leave gaps…

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