My Stories Are Too Short...

Rich is the CEO of Mironov Consulting. He coaches product executives, product management teams and revenue-focused agile development organizations.

I often find myself siding with old-school agilists who believe that teams (and their product managers) must continually experiment their way to good processes and collaboration, rather than “best practices” folks who believe there’s a fundamentally right way to do things.  I take the position that categorical imperatives are always wrong.

Here’s an instance to work through: “My development team tells me that my user stories need more detail.” I hear this from product managers almost every week, often when they are looking for yet another perfect user story template or process flow. Sigh. This seems like a missed opportunity for team-building and collaboration and work reduction rather than another burden on overworked product managers. Especially when those same product managers follow up with “now my development team tells me that my user stories are too prescriptive, too focused on how, and don’t give them the room to creatively solve from a good what statement.” Huh? What’s really going on?

A Grossly Unfair Generalization

I find that most developers love to talk in absolutes and generalities.

— “Scrum is better than Kanban.”

— “Slack is God’s gift.”

—  “No, Slack is an appalling drain on our attention.”

— &…

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"Ambition is like a frog sitting on a Venus Flytrap. The flytrap can bite and bite, but it won't bother the frog because it only has little tiny plant teeth. But some other stuff could happen and it could be like ambition."

- Jack Handey

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