Friday, February 27, 2015

CMMI-TV: What is different about documentation in agile projects?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – What is different about documentation in agile projects? ~ SEPGNA Attendee

Dear Readers,

Today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed ON LOCATION at SEPG North America in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, where I delivered the keynote address on “Values-based Engineering.” An attendee asked what is different about documentation in agile projects. Below is a video clip with my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


Documentation is just as important when using Scrum as traditional approaches, though artifacts and work products may take a very different form.


A lot of Agilistas and even non-Agile Purists will say, “Scrum doesn’t require us to write stuff down. It doesn’t require artifacts or work products.”

This is not true. Scrum asks you to write things down in a very different way than a traditional project might, but it is not true at all that Scrum doesn’t ask you to document your work.


Here are three artifacts that are popularly used in Scrum:
  • Burndown chart
  • Burnup chart
  • Alistair Cockburn’s chart in which he documents surprises.
These artifacts are posted around the Scrum Team Room and they are known as information radiators. They radiate data and information, which is another way to show documentation.


There are many creative ways to document work in Scrum. I like to say in my appraisals, “Walk me into your Scrum Team Room and I will call out 100 CMMI practices that are represented on the wall.”

Just because documentation happens differently in Scrum than traditional approaches, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

CMMI-TV is the free video series with the answers you’re looking for about Agile, CMMI and Performance Innovation. As a subscriber, you’ll be notified when we add new episodes to CMMI-TV and you’ll get links to other premium content, as well. Sign up here!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit for more information about running a successful CMMI and performance improvement program.

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