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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.

Oct 27, 2023

Dive into six rules for managing your product backlog with AgileThought’s Dan Neumann, Justin Thatil, and Mike Cooper. In the episode, Mike Cooper emphasizes the importance of managing expectations in Agile projects. The trio explores the principles of Agile scope management, the value of transparent communication, and the critical role of discipline in Agile success.

1. Analogy for Setting Expectations:

    - Mike Cooper emphasizes the importance of setting real expectations at the beginning of a project.

    - He uses an analogy of buying a dream house but having budget constraints, likening it to building systems with a defined budget and timeframe.


2. Scope Management:

    - The concept of making everything transparent in the portfolio, deciding what's in and what's out.

    - Six rules discussed: 

        1. Everything goes in the backlog.

        2. Prioritize with the client or internal stakeholders.

        3. Provide estimates.

        4. Maintain transparency.

        5. Nurture what's not in scope.

        6. Say yes to everything, but place it in the backlog.


3. Importance of Communication:

    - Justin Thatil emphasizes that everything they discuss boils down to different methods of communication.

    - The objective is to know what to build and how to solve the problems they're set to tackle as a team.


4. Reminders for Development Teams:

    - Mike Cooper reiterates the importance of including everything in the backlog.

    - Teams often want to be accommodating, but they need to do so within the framework of the backlog.


5. Cost and Context Switching:

    - Mike Cooper talks about the cost of small adjustments and changes.

    - The accumulation of tiny tasks over time can lead to significant workloads and stressed teams.


6. Discipline in Agile:

    - Mike Cooper and Dan Neumann discuss the misconception that agile means a lack of discipline.

    - They stress that agile requires discipline and that "lazy agile" can be problematic.


7. Continuous Learning:

    - Mike Cooper shares his current read, "A Culture Map" by Erin Meyer, recommended by his boss.

    - The book delves into understanding cultural differences, especially for those working across borders.