Story Mapping Gives Context to User Stories

We are currently trying to come to some conclusions about the “shape” of a new software product, and facing a whole lot of problems. Stakeholders are happy to argue for hours about relative priorities of individual features, but so far these exist in a vacuum without an overall vision of a product. With that in …

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Information Radiators: Is low tech really better?

We currenty use a wall, covered with brown envelopes, for story and task tracking. It has its advantages but prople, particularly people not based in this office, often ask for something else.  Chris Sims at InfoQ has a useful summary of the pros and cons of high-tech and low-tech “information radiators” InfoQ: Information Radiators: Is …

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Managing large stories on agile projects, our approach

In theory, an agile story is a simple and obvious thing with many purposes. A description of some desired usage; a token for discussion; a prompt for acceptance tests; a grain around which to gather more detail. In practice, a story can sometimes be more like a traditional feature requirement, or more like a delivery …

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Project management using “Finger Charts”

We have a large project wall, on which paper/card stories, bugs and tasks progress from submitted through to tested. This is great for a quick view of state, but the physical movement of tokens does not help in tracking and analysing progress. Akshay Dhavle suggests the use of “finger charts” to get a better and …

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Clearing my backlog, a mix of links

My browser is full of tabs, each representing something I intend to blog about. I need to clear some space, so here’s a few interesting links without comments. Reaching Hyper-Productivity with Outsourced Development Teams Pressure and Performance – The CTO’s Dilemma Agile Usability Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre

Estimated Interest on Technical Debt

We are currently struggling with how to integrate work on refactoring/simplifying/cleaning our product codebase with existing streams of stories and bugs. One of the tricky aspects of this is how to estimate and prioritise the cleanup work: how much is it worth, and how much time should we spend on it this iteration? Martin Fowler …

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The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn

In my work as a software developer I mostly encounter stories in the form of “user stories” – a way of communicating about a change or new feature by describing it as a story. In the wider world, and in the other things I do with my life, stories play a much larger part. Stories …

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Should the Daily Standup Be Person-by-Person or Story-by-Story?

Mike Cohn raises an interesting and topical issue about how to indicate what you are working on at a daily stand-up meeting. In our project we are currently working on an iteration where all the stories overlap and interact. Our usual approach is that each developer grabs a story and works on it until its …

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Automated story-based acceptance tests lead to unmaintainable systems

A fascinating counterpoint to Gojko Adzic‘s writings on acceptance testing in an agile process. » Automated story-based acceptance tests lead to unmaintainable systems Update: here’s some more discussion on this topic, and how it is affected by the nature of user stories User Stories are Just Schedulable Change

What to Do with Left Over Stories

Back to thinking about stories in the agile software development sense. For the first time this iteration we have reached a situation where two stories were left incomplete at the end of the iteration. I could give a bunch of excuses about changing priorities during the iteration, but the point is that agile processes are …

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Joshua Kerievsky about Industrial XP

At the moment, the company I work for is pressing forward on implementing an end-to-end agile approach to software production. With this in mind, I was intrigued to see an interview with someone who runs a company offering consulting and training in just this area, which they refer to as “industrial XP”. I found plenty …

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User stories in the Enterprise Integration space

The discipline of writing good user stories – ones which communicate clearly to all appropriate stakeholders, give enough information for effective discussion, yet leave enough freedom for innovative solutions – is surprisingly tough. Writing such stories for integration tasks is harder still. Shaun Jayaraj has some thoughts: What to do? we are like this only: …

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Ways to split user stories

Constructing sensible and effective user stories is a vital and sometimes surprisingly tricky part of XP-style agile software development. There are plenty of ways to choose a less than optimal story breakdown. Lasse Koskela has put together a thoughtful blog post about this topic. Lasse’s weblog – Ways to split user stories