Cross-dysfunctional Teams and the Story Point Fight

by on November 17, 2011 · 1 comment

Agile developers know how to estimate story points for customer features. And while transferring this knowledge over to the project team can take a few sprints, it is speedily adopted and velocity becomes a focal point of the sprint planning games. But, if the all the project participants aren’t officially on the team, a growing gap will appear between where the team wants the project to go and where the other participants thinks it should go. Story points quickly become a source of frustration and conflict instead of helping to gel the project team.
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How to translate “business value” of things that are technically important

by on April 19, 2011 · 3 comments

Agile teams often struggle with purely technical tasks. They just don’t know how to translate technical necessity into business value. This makes it difficult to prioritize technical tasks against User Stories. In this article, I want to show you how to transform the hidden value of technical tasks into visible business value to ease prioritization with all the customer driven User Stories.
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How Digital Agile Management Tools Make You Blind (And How A Physical Kanban Board Can Help You See Again)

by on March 15, 2011 · 4 comments

We’ve been using PivotalTracker for years to manage our agile software development process. It works like a charm for us. Whenever an idea comes up, we enter it into Tracker as an Epic (no matter how rough and abstract it might be). When the time comes to start implementing it, we usually break it down into more detailed User Stories. As soon as we’ve covered everything with User Stories, we delete the Epic. We just make sure that all stories derived from that Epic have a common tag to make sure we know where they came from.
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How To Estimate User Stories When Using PivotalTracker

by on June 15, 2010 · 10 comments

For a team new to agile software development, estimating user stories is not easy. The team is used to estimate tasks in hours and days, and know they’re never right anyways. So why bother? In agile, estimating user stories relative to each other using story points can give you a fact based idea about what will be done by when. But how can you do it?
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“Done” is the Wrong Measure of Success

by on September 11, 2009 · 0 comments

It’s a very important thing for any agile team to find a definition of Done, which fits the expectations and the environment of the current development. For User Stories, I definitely prefer Done = Released as the most helpful metric. Only if a story is really out there serving users can you truly forget about it. Or can you?
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Estimation of User Stories With Story Points as Abstract Size Measure

by on August 7, 2008 · 3 comments

After discussing which issues we tried to solve by introducing agile practices to manage a remote development team, using User Stories to be able to compare requirements and building a Backlog for ruthless prioritizing I want to share our learnings about agile estimation of User Stories.

As you might have experienced, estimating the time required to build a certain piece of functionality is not easy. Either you have no clue and guess “3 days” or you have a feeling it will take around “4 hours”. Now what if that 4 hour story takes you 12 hrs or more? Maybe you know you’re too optimistic so you conservatively estimate 8 hrs. But it still ends up taking you 12 hrs. In fact, the longer you’ve been a developer the more you’ll come to realize that your time estimate is hardly ever right!
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