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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Nov 15, 2019

This episode marks the first anniversary of the start of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast! In celebration of this special mark, Dan Neumann and his collaborator, Sam Falco, are taking a look back at the very first episode: “Do Scrum Well Before Scaling!” They’ll be revisiting the topic — but from a slightly different angle this time: “What anti-patterns interfere with or prevent good scaling?”


Tune in to hear Dan’s and Sam’s anti-patterns around scaling in Scrum and some of their solutions on how to address them or stop them before they start!


Key Takeaways

Anti-patterns that interfere with or prevent good scaling:

Not having a sprint goal; not having one clear goal for the sprint that is understood by everybody (which ends up creating a laundry list of items that are not tied together which can create unrealistic expectations about delivery)

Having two sprint goals (which causes a lack of focus) — “If you aim at two goals you won’t hit either of them!”

That everything doesn’t have to be integrated or can be integrated after a few sprints (this can be a side effect of not having a clear sprint goal), which creates risk build-up

If everything is not integrated, technical debt will bring things to a grinding halt and create a mountain of undone work

A lack of automated testing and thinking you can build out the unit tests and automated functional tests later — because later might never happen or, by the time you get to it, the effort becomes far too large

Team dysfunctions and anti-patterns that affect scaling:

Not making the impediments visible — if you make the impediments and dependencies visible and communicate in-person this can be resolved fast!

A common dysfunction in beginning Scrum teams is this concept that individuals own the product backlog items which leads to siloed work (which, in turn, can lead to not getting things done because the team takes on more than it can handle and cannot coordinate properly)

Assigning stories to individual developers (when it is actually much more effective to leave the PBI unassigned or assigned to the Product Owner)

Multiple Product Owners for an individual Scrum team (you only want one — but if there are multiple ones in a scaled environment they should be aligned!)


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Scrum Guide

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 1: “Do Scrum Well Before Scaling!”

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 51: “Getting to ‘Done’ Within a Sprint”

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 43: “The Importance of the Product Owner Role in Scrum with Sam Falco”



Sam Falco’s Book Pick:

Mastering Professional Scrum: A Practitioners Guide to Overcoming Challenges and Maximizing the Benefits of Agility, by Stephanie Ockerman and Simon Reindl


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