Software Development Best Practices Blog

Dear Construx: Story Point Inflation Causes Ever-Expanding Project!

Dear Construx:   How do you deal with the risk of Story Point inflation throughout a Scrum project? My team goes through release planning, ending up with a backlog where each item has been estimated using story points. Based upon our estimates of story points and team velocity, we predict, and commit to, a release date. So far, so good. As our project progresses, the Product Owner breaks larger ‘epics’ into...

  1. Posted on August 9, 2010 6:22:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, planning, estimation, Management, practices

Keeping Scrum Pure or Adapting Scrum to Your Culture?

One question that I often hear is, “Do we have to implement Scrum by the book, or should we adapt it to our environment?” The answer is, “Yes!” You should do both. And, they are not mutually exclusive. To me, 'keeping Scrum pure' means adopting the three roles, four meetings, four artifacts, and two levels of commitment, and adhering to the principles behind Scrum, e.g., self-directed teams that commit, timeboxing, etc. This aligns with the Construx toolbox metaphor for...

  1. Posted on May 21, 2010 8:44:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, practices, Process

Cobblestones On The Road to Perdition

The more I work with companies that are struggling with Scrum, the more I’m starting to believe that ‘hybrid’ Scrum adoptions, where people pick and choose which Scrum practices to follow and which to ignore, invariably lead to failure. Whoa! you say… Wait a minute! Agile is about doing what is right, not following a process! It says so in the Agile Manifesto! “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools!” Listen up, Sparky! The Agile Manifesto has...

  1. Posted on November 13, 2009 9:35:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, estimation, Management, practices, processes, methodologies

If You Want To Improve, Stop Managing Your Problems…

If_You_Want_To_Improve_Stop_Managing_Your_Problems …and start solving them. Sounds great, but what does it mean? What’s the difference between managing a problem and solving it? I recently held a workshop on using Scrum to drive process improvement at CIISA 2009, held in Guadalajara, Mexico, where I focused on using...

  1. Posted on September 30, 2009 5:22:PM by Application Administrator to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, Management, practices, Process


Welcome to the first post on my new software development blog! Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm an experienced software developer, tester, program and project manager, QA manager, and development team manager, with over two decades of experience in high tech. I've worked at small startups and the world's largest software company. I've written device drivers, OS portability layers, libraries, utilities, and UI components, for environments including CP/M-80, MS-DOS, Windows...

  1. Posted on July 14, 2009 5:53:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, planning, Management, practices