As long as customer isn’t interested in throughput or customer trusts the team, whatever way you size or estimate doesn’t really matter. But that doesn’t happen very often. Whenever customer questions about team throughput, it becomes challenging to answer using hour-based estimation as time taken to complete any particular task deflates over time.

Some teams follow capacity based estimation technique where they identify the number of hours available in a team for the entire sprint duration. Based on that they pick up stories in a sprint. Again here as well, there is absolutely no way to know any change in team throughput as size for which capacity is defined isn’t defined.
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Repeated software-development tasks are becoming automated through the application of Continuous Delivery and DevOps. If developers are taking more and more testing responsibilities into their hands, I wonder what will be the role of traditional (manual **only**) testing and testers moving forward?


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A while back, Henrik Kniberg published an excellent case study on Scaling Agile @ Spotify. Though case study is specific to Agile scaling experiences at Spotify, some practices are equally important for smaller teams as well. This post tries to capture the essence from smaller team’s perspective.

Break Silos

A lot of organizations still works in functional silos.

For instance, in a bank, there may be one team for web banking, another team for home-loans and yet another one for mainframe based core-banking. Business features however in general cut across all these teams.

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Last month I did a session on “Continuous Inspection – How to define, measure and continuously improve code quality?” in DiscussAgile conference.

The session is available on Youtube now. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions related to the subject.


One of the key fundamental elements of Agile is its focus on delivering a testable or demonstrable end-to-end functional slice that provides business value. This approach is the key catalyst of some behavioural, cultural, and structural changes.

As a product owner, I am interested more in the working functionality of a product rather than the individual goals of team members. For instance, just the front-end of a user-story is of no use to me. Even if the developers finish coding, I cannot use the product if it still needs to be tested. This implicitly means that cross-functional team members have to collaborate and help each other to attain Sprint goals.
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Often, I get to hear questions about level of details that need to go in the product backlog stories.  How detailed should be the acceptance criteria? or how small the story should be? We all know stories matures with time. I really like this post on user story life-cycle. Please take time to read this. Let’s consider an example now.

User story evolution

User Story example: As a Project Owner(PO), I should be able to transfer complete project ownership to my connection, with my role remaining to be just a project creator(author) after transfer.

Note: At the first sight, it is tough to say whether this is a story or an epic. When this story comes up in backlog grooming meeting, teams might completely miss the magnitude of such stories.  Hence, as the product becomes bigger it is wise to start detailing stories by adding acceptance criteria earlier in grooming meetings itself. Impact of every new story gets wider as product becomes bigger which often gets missed by the team.

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Recently I got interviewed by DiscussAgile on a topic known by several names, i.e. Specification by Example, Behavior Driven Development or Acceptance Test Driven Development.

Here’s the Google Hangout recording available on YouTube.

Following topics got discussed as part of interview:

  1. Why to do ATTD?
  2. How to do it?
  3. What skills are needed to do it?
  4. Who should do it?
  5. How it relates with Test Driven Development?
  6. Tools to BDD/ATDD.
  7. How to start?

Enjoy and provide your feedback.


This year I delivered a presentation on “Distributed Agile Patterns” in Agile India conference held in Bangalore based on different patterns evolved or discovered during my Agile journey.

The video is available now. You may want to have a look and provide your feedback.


Every Agile team has to deal with different emergencies next to their regular work. Every team dream of achieving sustainable pace comes with nightmares of production emergencies/defects, support and maintenance tasks within a sprint which takes focus completely off the sprint goals. The goal of this webinar is to see different approaches team can take to absorb a reasonable amount of uncertainty, striking balance between robustness and speed within the sprint.

Also we will discuss about how to deal with “Pivot” in lean product development. In this state, product has to go through a course correction in terms of vision, market segment and features. This is almost an emergency on business side. In webinar, we will see how engineering teams need to do course correction in their approach too.

Audience will learn:

  • How to plan for production emergencies during a sprint
  • How to apply strategic and tactical thinking to handle changes
  • How engineering team needs to deal with development when product is in Pivot

If this sounds interesting to you, please register for the webinar here. Do share with others too!

Webinar Timings: Wed, May 13, 2015 9:30 PM – 10:30 PM IST



One of the basic but important customer expectations is – the software product should be of very good quality. That makes sense as well. However, what exactly “good quality” means?


Here are characteristics of good quality software:

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Agile Testing is achieving quality in everything

by Avienaash Shiralige April 19, 2015

We know “Testing As An Activity” is important, and why we should all test. The old axiom that “Testers Test and Programmers Code” is so outdated now and everyone needs to change. Testers are the testing experts in a team, and can help enable the whole team to own quality but they are certainly not the […]

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Appraisals in an Agile Company – Part 2

by Avienaash Shiralige March 30, 2015

In our last post, we discussed about how to break performance measures into team and individual measures to bring more team behavior orientations into appraisals.  Today, let’s talk about addressing other two issues: feedback frequency and how to make feedback effective. Agile thinking is based on building frequent feedback loops within your teams and organization. […]

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Printing Physical Scrum Board From Atlassian Jira

by Shrikant Vashishtha March 3, 2015

It’s well known fact that physical Scrum Boards provide many benefits over their electronic counterpart. With physical boards current sprint state is transparently visible to anybody in the team and to the stakeholders. As a team member you no longer are required to explain someone what exactly the team is focusing on right now as […]

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Appraisals in an Agile Company – Part 1

by Avienaash Shiralige January 29, 2015

Appraisals! How many of you dread this word? This is the only time in the year that you get to bargain for salary increments, everyone end-up negotiating to their best. Appraisals are closely connected with salary raise/increments, bonus payouts and it’s feedback intent takes the backseat. There are three major issues with traditional approach to […]

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Agile Contracting: Discovery, Fixed Budget, Variable Scope

by Avienaash Shiralige October 11, 2014

We discussed about committing fixed number of story points and swapping any additional scope with existing backlog in our previous post “Agile for Fixed Bid Projects“. This is a great way to maximize value with minimal change in timelines and budget. This works well when there is a trust existing between product and engineering, and […]

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