When you explain the iterative/incremental nature of Agile, most people coming from a waterfall lifecycle say “What? No up-front planning at all?” Some Agile coaches would glibly say yes, but the truth is more complex. Sprint Zero is an Agile term for a time-boxed amount of up-front planning. During Sprint Zero, you identify value stories, get a decent backlog of user stories and you do some architectural proof-of-concepts. The trick is to balance between insufficient planning and analysis paralysis.
User stories are the foundations of the Scrum sprints as they would allow you to work on the right things. Charles Bradley provides a lot of interesting material about crafting good user stories in his Scrum Crazy blog. In a blog post he starts by discussing what a user story is and go right to the point is saying that a user story is NOT a “As a I want so that”. For him, a user story is more than this and should consist of three parts: 1) a written description or short title of the story used as a token for planning and as a reminder to have conversations, 2)conversations about the story that has the details of the story, 3)acceptance tests that that can be used to determine when a story is done.
Scrum likes to rely the technical practices recommended by eEXtreme Programming to improve the software quality. Pair programming is one of these practices, even if surveys tell us that it is not used as much as other practices like test-driven development (TDD). In this article, Zee Spencer shares four common pitfalls of pair programming and tell us how to avoid them.
There are several techniques that can be used to promote communication in a Scrum team, like for instance the Dialogue Sheets that are proposed by Allan Kelly for retrospectives. In this blog post, Alan Dayley discusses how silence is a powerful tool for management and the need for constructive conflict.
The DSDM consortium has published a new paper “DSDM Agile Project Framework“. Dynamic systems development method (DSDM) was created in 1994. It an agile project delivery framework, primarily used as a software development method. This version of the Agile Project Framework has been tailored specifically to complement Scrum. The DSDM Agile Project framework brings together the strength of DSDM at project level and the streamlined simplicity of Scrum at the delivery team level.
This article discusses the the role of the Product Owner in moving a backlog item to done. It explores how to achieve the productivity benefits of an up-front enabling specification, given the reality that Scrum is an empirical framework in which emergent understanding of the story under development is inherent.
Trac is an open source enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects. Trac uses a minimalist approach to web-based software project management. It provides an interface to version control systems (Subversion, Git, Mercurial, …), an integrated Wiki and convenient reporting facilities. As many open source project, Trac has a plugin architecture that allows to extend the core functionalities. Here is a list of Scrum and Agile oriented plugins available in the Trac ecosystem.