Friday, March 16, 2007

User Stories and Planning (speaker Rachel Davies)

First of all, I want to point everyone to because if you are not familiar with what Agile is, and in relation to the topic XP or Extreme Programming, than a lot will not be completely clear.

The purpose of Agile is to produce working software as early as possible and I should add not earlier. Methodologies like SCRUM, XP, LEAN and others help you with that.

Agile people when presented with a deadline that cannot be met, will choose to drop features. Something that is not always appreciated by the customer. So you need “special” customers or companies that are willing to have incomplete but great and bugfree working software if a deadline was a little to ambitious.

User Stories are not meant to replace requirements, but what requirements seem to try and do but cannot succeed is pouring domain knowledge from the business analyst into the developers. User Stories are used for planning iterations and not for requirements. Period.

A nice way to describe a User Story is the following template: As , I need so that ”.

Every User Story should be given a descriptive name and storytelling should be used to extract variants on the User Story from the customer, like exceptions.

Rachel told us that Release Planning is used for creating a roadmap to base on how you want to make progress in your project but also determine the “cost” of deployment.

A Release Plan should be described in points (like every 250 function points) instead of moments in date and time.

It is important to do something of a Planning Game and have Standup Meetings. A Standup Meeting is usually in 3 parts. One, the business sponsor tells his User Stories. Second, the tech people discuss the effects and complications they foresee. Third, an iteration planning is created with (!) the customer since her or she gets tot prioritize the User Stories.

The speaker came over as a bit timid but I found the session nonetheless quite good.

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