Stop Trying to Get Better at Writing User Stories

Here’s the big idea: getting better at writing user stories hinders agility. I facilitate a lot of Agile Bootcamps here at Sketch, and I’ve found that one of the main reasons people take the class is that they want to get better at writing user stories. It always comes as a bit of a shock …

Cross-Regional Data Backups on AWS

Just like any other data-conscious or security-conscious minded IT professional, you’ve already moved your data to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (“S3”). But now what? How do you ensure the longevity of your data — I mean, when that volcano erupts from underneath your region’s data centers and Tommy Lee Jones isn’t around this time to …

Defining Success for Agile Coaches

Lately Iʼve been reflecting a lot about what success means as a coach. At first, I was thinking things like: a transformed organization, teams of teams getting better at delivering solutions together, Scrum Masters that are coaches to their teams. And sometimes thatʼs true. Sometimes those things are success to a coach. But sometimes those …

How Sketch Training & Facilitation Empowered Element 74

Summary Hi, I’m Toni Keesee with Element 74. We engaged with Sketch last year for some training and wanted to share where we were before the training and how we’ve evolved since our time with Sketch. The “Before” Element 74 is a digital agency. We specialize in developing websites, software, and digital marketing. Our main …

How Sketch Empowered a Fortune 100

Summary At Sketch, our favorite thing is to see an organization perform to their fullest potential and have a great time doing it. Most companies already have dynamite people who are both skilled and talented, but they’re lacking the right set of tools to put the whole picture together. With embedded agile coaching from Steph, …

Set Up An SFTP Server Backed By S3 On AWS

Fade In: There are tutorials on the internet of setting up SFTP servers in Linux. There are tutorials out there for using S3 as a mounted file system. This tutorial sets out to combine these two concepts in addition to setting up a fault-tolerant, highly-available environment in which to deploy your resulting server ready for …

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

There has recently been some debate internally regarding team stability in terms of how long a given team should remain together. If you review the Agile Manifesto, and specifically the Twelve Principles, there are several references to teams but there are no specific recommendations given in terms of optimal lifespan of a team. Somewhere along …

For Devops Success, Focus on Outcomes, Not Activity

To deploy code to production we need to reach a level of confidence in its quality. In an organization that isn’t accustomed to writing automated tests, this is typically accomplished via manual testing. With this approach, the time required to achieve the desired level of confidence grows over time. It often grows larger than we …

Dear Scrummaster, Stop Hijacking the Stand-Ups for Your Status Updates

Dear ScrumMaster, In recent stand-ups, it has become apparent that you are dissatisfied with the team’s lack of task updates and communications in general. Are they making progress?  What are the blockers?  No one is saying. You spend time in our stand-ups asking deep questions about technical details. You ask about blockers and work out …

So, You Want to Be An Agile PM…

One of the most common questions I receive when teaching my PMI-ACP Prep class is “how do I become an Agile PM”? It also happens to be the question I struggle the most to answer. Not because the most common agile “frameworks” are largely silent, or outright hostile to the concept of “management”; but because …