Three Tips to Deliver Better Projects with Scrum

Tim Burns
3 min readSep 5, 2022
Jason Isbell always Delivers — Photo by Author

If you do one thing with your Scrum above all else: deliver working products.

A development team is paid to deliver a working product.

  • Do it often
  • Do it the best you can
  • Do it in a repeatable way
  • Be accountable to an actual customer

Here are three tips on improving your development in delivering working products.

Tip #1: Timebox, Don’t Point, any Spike Tasks

A Timebox is a start and end date for a task. Therefore, the best way to approach a spike is to assign a beginning and end date. According to the Agile Dictionary, a Spike is:

A task aimed at answering a question or gathering information, rather than at producing shippable product.

There it is: You are not delivering anything with a spike; you are gathering information. It isn’t resolving a story — it isn’t burning down a set of story points towards a product objective. It is gathering information so that you can complete a Story.

Timebox your spike according to the story at hand.

  • Schedule time with the customer to understand why they need the story completed
  • Gather statistics from a working system to understand the scope of your story
  • Write up a Wiki page with the problem and solution and share it
  • Discuss your learnings with colleagues and customers

Tip #2: Specify the Story in a Consistent Form

When writing a story for a Scrum ticket, use the following form:

My Story
As a <customer>, I would like to <use the component>, so that I can <achieve my goal>
Acceptance Criteria
After executing <the component> I will be able to <a specific action demonstrating the goal>

In addition, here is an excellent article on how to write stories better: It’s time to start writing helpful User Stories!

When writing the acceptance criteria, use specific process examples or codified lists to formalize how to validate the functionality supporting the story.

Tim Burns

Data Architect. See my blog My opinions are my own.