User stories are an effective way to identify requirements for software under development. Such stories contain short tips on behalf of the user of the software.
Since in the Scrum methodology, goal setting is often the prerogative of the customer or software owner, they are considered the primary way to influence the development process. Each user story has limitations in terms of the amount of text and the complexity of the presentation. The story is most often recorded on a small sheet, which in itself limits the tension.
With user stories, you can document customer wishes and quickly react to market needs.
The user story should be considered a simplified measure of requirements, since it does not include the acceptance testing process. The collection of user history must follow the approval process. Thanks to this, the User Story will achieve its goal.
The structure of the story is as follows: “As a user
Benefits of using user stories:
- The stories are short and easy to create.
- Help all interested parties discuss the work and support the project.
- They do not require constant maintenance.
- It is only relevant when it is used.
- Improve customer interaction.
- Thanks to them, you can divide the project into small stages.
- Facilitate work on projects with poorly understood requirements.
- Simplify job evaluation.
Cons of User Stories:
- Without prior approval, the procedures may make it difficult to use as the basis for a contract.
- Its use requires close contact with the client throughout the project, which sometimes makes work difficult.
- They have disadvantages when scaling to large projects.
- It is directly related to the professional level of the developers.
- It is used to start a discussion, but not to end it, and it is not used to document the system.
The backlog is the current tasks in the form of a list, compiled in order of priority. The list is created from the project road map and the points specified on it. The most important tasks are usually at the top of the list. This is necessary to understand which task needs to be done first.
The development team chooses the backlog execution speed regardless of the customer's wishes, but based on their qualifications and experience from previous sprints. It is highly undesirable to "match" the developers. The team selects tasks from the backlog according to its own circumstances and capabilities. The execution is carried out without interruption (Kanban) or multiple iterations (Scrum).
Two Important Default Conditions
The core of the product portfolio consists of an action plan, proposals and terms of implementation. Epics contain terms and user history. Let's take a closer look at a typical example of a roadmap.
The creation of the "Teams in Space" service is the first proposal on the roadmap. should be divided intoepic(shown in green, blue and turquoise in the image) and a user story for each epic.
The software client creates a list of multiple user stories. If necessary, you can change the order of the story so that the creators tackle one of the most important epics first (left), or check out how booking discount tickets works. To do this, you need to apply epic stories (right). Both options are shown below.
Based on what factors should the client prioritize?
- Importance to users.
- The presence of feedback.
- The complexity of development.
- Relationship between tasks (to do 'B' you must first do 'A').
Work priorities are set by the client, but other parties may have a say. The success of the build depends, among other things, on the opinions of customers and developers. Together, they can achieve better results and ensure timely delivery of the final product.
How to keep arrears
If the backlog has already been created, you should change it periodically as you continue to work. The software client must ensure that the backlog compiles successfully before scheduling each new iteration. This will help to clarify priorities or change something after analyzing the last iteration. Fixing backlogs in Agile is sometimes called "preparing," "refining," or "backlog maintenance."
If the backlog is already relatively large, the customer should group tasks based on short-term and long-term implementation. Short term orders should be carefully considered before receiving this status. You have to compose a user story, learn all the nuances in the team.
When it comes to long-term tasks, it is highly desirable that developers give them their rating. This will facilitate prioritization. Maybe something will change, but the team will understand the tasks better and complete the work faster.
The backlog is an important element between the client and the development team. The customer can always change priorities based on customer feedback, forecasts or new requirements.
It is recommended to avoid changes directly during the operation. This has a negative effect on the workflow and emotional state of the developers.
A sprint is a short period in which a predetermined amount of work must be completed. Sprints are based on Scrum and Agile methodologies. Choosing the right sprints helps an agile team build high-quality software.
“Using Scrum, you can develop a product in several iterations with a clearly defined duration: sprints. It helps break big projects down into smaller tasks,” says Megan Cook, Jira lead at Atlassian.
How does Scrum plan and execute sprints?
According to the authors of the Scrum methodology, to plan the next sprint, everyone should come together in a separate meeting. During this race, team members must find answers to two key questions: what should be done in this sprint and how to do it better?
The software client, Scrum master, and developers are involved in setting up the task list. The customer explains the sprint goal and the pending tasks.
The team then develops a plan under which the sprint tasks will be completed. This plan, along with the selected work items, is called the sprint backlog. After the planning meeting, the team gets to work. Developers select tasks from the backlog, when the task is complete, the status of each task changes from "In progress" to "Done".
During the sprint, the team holds daily Scrum meetings (stand-ups) to discuss current issues and progress. These meetings are necessary to identify difficulties that may affect the completion of the sprint.
If the sprint is complete, the team presents the results of its work in a performance review (demo). Any participant in the project can view the results. Familiarization should be done before placing the final code in the production environment.
The retrospective closes the sprint cycle. In it, the team identifies areas that need to be improved in the next sprint.
What to consider and what not to do
Most young teams struggle to introduce sprints into their workflow for the first time. To avoid problems, we recommend that you read the list of activities that require priority actions.
What are we going to do:
- Make sure the team understands the goal of the sprint and how it will succeed. This is necessary in order for everyone to fight together for a successful outcome.
- You must have a clear and understandable backlog. If the backlog is not maintained properly, it could become a problem that could break the workflow.
- Make sure your work rate estimate is correct, taking vacations and other factors into account.
- Active participation in sprint planning. Encourage team members to extend the design with stories, bugs, and tasks.
- Reject jobs where the developers can't fix the dependency issues.
- Once the plan is approved, designate an employee to be in charge of entering the data into the project management program (Jira cards, etc.).
What to avoid:
- Don't overdo too many stories, take a serious look at the pace of work, and don't assign tasks that will be difficult to complete in a sprint.
- Remember the quality of your work. Make sure you have enough time for quality control and bug fixes.
- Make sure all team members clearly understand the content of the sprint. Don't chase speed. The whole team must move together.
- Don't burden developers with extra work. Another sprint is coming soon.
- If the team expresses concern about the workload or deadline, consider their views. Troubleshoot and correct if necessary.
The Scrum Board is a tool that shows how the work of the Scrum Team is progressing. You can display information on such a board on paper, on a wall, or in electronic format (JIRA, Trello).
The scrum board has at least three columns: Backlog, In Progress, and Done. Here is an example table:
The scrum board contains all the information from the previously approved design backlog. Job cards are usually placed on the board in order of priority from top to bottom. They can be divided into specific types of work (work on code, design, and others).
After completing part of the task, the card is moved across the board to the next column. To show visibility into the progress of the team's work, the "work remaining" during the day on the exhaustion graph helps.
You can also use the flipchart. In it, the names of the works are written on paper stickers and stuck to the blackboard. When the task is completed, the stickers are moved to another column.
The evolution graph shows the amount of work done and the amount of work remaining. It is updated daily and is available to anyone interested. The diagram is needed to show the progress of the sprint work.
There are two types of charts:
- Burndown chart showing the progress of work in a sprint.
- Evolution chart showing the progress of work up to product release (summarized data from multiple sprints).
This example uses psychology: the graph does not show the number of completed tasks, but the number of remaining (uncompleted) tasks.
This means that if the team has completed 90 tasks out of 100, there may be a false impression that everything is ready. Also, going from 90 to 100 missions doesn't change anything.
If you look at the number of remaining tasks, you can't help but notice how they get smaller and smaller. This unconsciously pushes the project participants to achieve the goal faster - there should be no unfinished tasks on the board.
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