Author Archives: Ram Santhanam

Ten things to consider when starting Enterprise Agile Transformation

Successful and stronger organizations have many things in common. Some of them include change in culture, use of innovative technologies and ability to move quickly from ideation to delivering value. With the count of startups increasing by the day, the need for faster delivery and competition has pushed IT organizations to embark on the Agile […]

How to measure Agile adoption

We are approaching our two year mark since we began the Agile Transformation in our organization. In the last two years, we have attempted to capture and report several metrics for the success of our Agile adoption. Some of the metrics we tried included Velocity, ratio of committed to completed items, defects, burn-down charts, etc. The measure […]

Five R’s of Product Backlog Refinement

The Five “R”s of Product Backlog Refinement Session Like many other organizations, some of our teams had struggled to time-box sprint planning sessions. I have observed conversations between delivery members and product owners seeking clarity on user stories, and identifying gaps in the acceptance criteria. As a result, developers were unable to commit to stories, […]

Scrum Master Community of Practice

A Community of Practice (COP) is an avenue for creating, identifying and sharing techniques, best practices, and ideas for improving project success and fostering a healthy and productive work environment. An Agile organization can have several communities of practices representing each domain or role such as Architecture, Development, Testing, etc. Similarly, the Scrum Master COP […]

Agile Release Management – Frequent deployments to production

One of my product teams has been successful in deploying to production once in every two weeks. In the past, our release plan would comprise of a sprint zero, one or two working sprints, followed by a release sprint.  We were essentially releasing features to end-users once in every six weeks or more. Our product […]

Size of an Agile team

I am convinced that there is some validity in what Jeff Bezos, CEO of, shared in his simple gauge for team size – “The Two pizza rule” – Your team size is large, if you need to feed more than two pizzas. Having been on teams of small and large sizes, I believe the size of […]

Writing tasks for User Stories

During the Sprint Planning meeting, the team identifies the tasks required for completing the stories in the Sprint Backlog. Planning and writing tasks are key components as it provides clear information about a task to the entire team for the duration of the sprint. Guidelines for tasks include – Each task clearly defines the action […]

Succeeding with Agile – Stages of team development

Agile Teams exhibit different stages of team development. In 1960s, Bruce Tuckman identified four stages that teams normally experience – Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Teams that are transforming from Waterfall to Agile methodology, using Scrum and existing Agile teams would find the following as a reference in their path to reaching a high performing […]

Life cycle of a user story

Sprint Backlog – Life cycle of a user story in a Sprint  A Sprint backlog contains a list of stories and defects that your team has committed for a given sprint. Each story or defect in the Sprint backlog has a life cycle resulting in one of the possible states shown below. Using this, your product owner […]

Role of a Scrum Master

Ever wonder how Scrum Masters can serve your teams besides removing impediments or facilitating scrum meetings? Given that each team is different, there are several scenarios that require varying levels of coaching team members. I believe coaching can be applied in areas such as technical, engineering, framework and methodology, while other areas such as ‘passion’, […]