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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.

Aug 28, 2020

On this week’s ‘solocast’ of the Agile Coaches’ Corner, Dan Neumann wants to talk a little bit about words and phrases! If you had a magic wand and could change any word or phrase in relation to Scrum and agility, what would it be?


In this episode, Dan shares the four words and phrases that he would change for all Scrum teams and, if it were possible, why he would like to see them go away, altogether!


Key Takeaways

Resources vs. People

Don’t confuse the people on your team with resources

If you mean ‘people,’ say ‘people’; don’t say ‘resources’

You consume resources (i.e. time is a resource that you can use to achieve goals)

Commitment vs. Forecast

Commitments are something you keep, come hell or high water

When we’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty, a more appropriate term to use would be ‘forecast’ rather than a commitment

When you’re dealing with your Scrum teams, make sure that ‘commit’ is a term that is held back; think more in terms of forecasts (and especially forecasts with a probability of when you will be able to deliver, such as: ‘We forecast with 90% confidence’)

Grooming vs. Refining

Grooming is something you do to a dog; a more appropriate term for what you want to do to your product backlog in the Scrum world would be to ‘refine’ it

Think of ‘refining’ as the removal of things that are impure or low value

“Your product backlog [is] not a dog; don’t groom it!”

Deadlines vs. Goals & Targets

Deadlines traditionally refer to drawing a line in the sand (and if you cross said line, you’re dead) — which isn’t a very motivating term nowadays!

More appropriate terms would be: goals and targets

“We have a target of releasing the new product on January 1st.”

With targets, you can introduce the concept of a ‘cost of delay,’ when you miss a target date

Having goals and targets with specific dates coupled with a ‘cost of delay’ will allow you to make much more informed decisions about how to prioritize work


Mentioned in this Episode:

Top 30 Agile Leadership Podcasts To Follow in 2020

Agile Coaches’ Corner Bonus Podcast: “How to Make AI Work in Your Enterprise with Dr. Jerry Smith”


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