More on story sizing

As we start our sprint planning and backlog grooming and sizing in a few days, it seemed reasonable to point out a few more posts that others have written about their experience.

The best was “The Five Stages of User Story Sizing.” It outlines the stages that a group goes through in the process of agreeing on the point count for a story. The stages are:

  1. Individual perspective: Everyone has their idea and needs to speak up.
  2. Individual understanding: As people give their views, people begin to understand the full impact of the story.
  3. Relativity: This is the key for me. The goal is not to design a story, but to compare this story with other stories of the past (whether individual or group) to find something comparable.
  4. Group alignment: Through planning poker (Dzone),(MountainGoat) or fist of five, the group aligns around the size of the story.
  5. Group wisdom: At the end of the planning session, people leave with a shared understanding.

And his encouraging words at the end are “Eventually, the team will get to a place where more stories start falling in the “We’ve done this before” category. User story sizing becomes easier and is a much more efficient activity as group wisdom and group experience expands.”

Another Dzone post, titled “What is the Right Size For a User Story?” gives a great view of the story sizing and the breakdown of a story to tasks.

Another blog post, titled “The mystery of the shrinking story” extols the value of the smaller story, but with the awareness that you need to adapt your process to have some upfront design before the story is started.  I’ve seen this done with research stories in a sprint before it’s expected that work would begin on a story, or often an epic. See the section titled “there’s benefit in keeping user stories small.”

Finally, there is a long slide deck available, from a product owner’s perspective, of the story definition and sizing process. Talk a look at it at Scrum Alliance.

Let’s go into Tuesday’s sizing of the next two sprints backlog and task breakdown on our next sprint with the knowledge of the process. It’s going to be a fun afternoon.

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