Estimating and Planning Agile User Stories
A 59 Seconds Agile Training Video
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Introduction to Estimating User Stories
A 59 Seconds Agile Article
This article provides an ‘Introduction into Estimating User Stories’ and looks to discuss what a user story is and the methods of estimation and planning within Agile projects.
Estimating and Planning Techniques
The aim of these techniques is to get every member of the team, except the Product Owner and Scrum Master, to vote for the number of story points for a story. Where there is no clear consensus, the story is debated and voted on again until there is a unanimous or majority agreement.
The most popular technique of gross level estimation is Planning Poker, or the use of the Fibonacci sequence to assign a point value to a feature or item. Planning Poker uses a set of cards with the number range you selected, and each team member holds up a card for their vote.
Team members play “Planning Poker” to provide an estimate in the form of a point value for each item. Here are the steps:
One, each team member gets a set of cards.
Two, the product owner, who does NOT get to estimate presents the item to be estimated.
Three, the item is discussed.
Four, each team member privately selects a card representing their estimate.
Five, when everyone is ready, all selected cards are revealed at the same time.
Six, if all team members selected the same card, then that point value is the estimate.
Seven, if the cards are not the same, the team discusses the estimate with emphasis placed on the outlying values.
Either the member who selected the lowest value explains why they selected the value or the member who selected the highest value explains why they selected their value.
Eight, select again until estimates converge.
Nine, should lengthy conversations result, team members may use a two-minute timer to timebox the discussion, selecting again each time the timer runs out, until conversion.
Ten, repeat for each item
Another technique, Fist of Five is even simpler
– the team member displays one to 5 fingers to give their opinion on the complexity of the user story.
These techniques, and there are plenty of alternatives, but the principles are the same, ensure that everyone in the team has a say and an opinion, thus assisting in team-building and helping inexperienced members to learn how to estimate.
Estimating User Stories
A 59 Seconds Agile Video Animation
User Stories Applied
A 59 Seconds Agile Book Review
User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn is one of our favourite books on Agile User Stories. The book starts with an overview into user stories, and details what a user story is and the different aspects of them. He then discusses how to go about writing a user story, and provides details of the INVEST criteria that can be used to determine if the story is meeting all of its objectives. Next Mike gives an in depth discussion of who user stories are written for and where to begin when gathering the details for them. The book then discusses acceptance testing user stories, including how to go about specifying these criteria and the responsibilities of the development team and customers during this process.
What is Agile?
A 59 Seconds Agile Infographic
Our Favourite Agile Books
We found these books great for finding out more information on Agile Scrum: