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How does your user story board work?

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  • Psychie Naill
    Hello All, I ve been trying to implement XP for a good while now. When I started I used to lay my User Stories out on the bed and do them in order of the most
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 31, 2007
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      Hello All,

      I've been trying to implement XP for a good while now. When I started I used
      to lay my User Stories out on the bed and do them in order of the most
      important first. Not I'm working in an office environment, and trying to
      implement XP there. We've created our first release plan and our first
      iteration plan. The stories were estimated in days and the person I've
      assigned as the customer has chosen what he thinks are the most valuable
      from a business point of view and only chosen a set where the amount of
      estimated days add up to two weeks (the chosen iteration length).

      I've been looking for the optimal story board (informative workspace) set up
      and from the pictures I've seen I can't really see any like the one in Kent
      Beck's lovely book "Extreme Programming Explained - Embrace Change". It goes
      something like the following IIRC:

      +-------------------------+---------------------------------------+
      | Finished Stories | This Week |
      |
      | |
      +-------------------------+-------------------+------------------+
      | |
      | |
      | Not yet Estimated | This Release | This Iteration |
      | |
      | |
      +-------------------------+-------------------+------------------+

      I have seen stories on a wall with coloured stickers like green stickers on
      the corners. I presume this means a story is done and rather than moving the
      cards around, they are left in position and marked as done. Am I correct?

      On another site I read about having your stories separated into three
      columns, like the following:

      Not Started | Started | Finished
      ---------------------+----------------+-------------------
      | |
      | |
      | |
      | |
      | |


      I'm not sure whether this method is used for stories of tasks.

      I was wondering how other people are tracking/laying out their stories and
      Tasks during iterations so they have the optimal informative workspace, and
      what do they do with the stories when they move on to the next iteration?

      Forgive me if this has been asked before but the search functionality in
      Yahoo leaves a lot to be desired for and I couldn't find my answers.
      Any replies would be greatly appreciated.

      Cheers,

      Sonic


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • D. André Dhondt
      Ours looks much more like what you ve drawn below. I don t have pictures, but some that have been shared in this group are:
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 31, 2007
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        Ours looks much more like what you've drawn below. I don't have pictures,
        but some that have been shared in this group are:

        http://www.scissor.com/resources/teamroom/

        http://www.xp123.com/xplor/room-gallery/index.shtml

        We really like the physical motion of moving cards, and the
        resulting information radiator makes it clear to ourselves (and to our
        customer) whether we're making progress on the iteration, and whether we're
        likely to finish everything or not.

        On 1/31/07, Psychie Naill <psychieslash@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hello All,
        >
        > I've been trying to implement XP for a good while now. When I started I
        > used
        > to lay my User Stories out on the bed and do them in order of the most
        > important first. Not I'm working in an office environment, and trying to
        > implement XP there. We've created our first release plan and our first
        > iteration plan. The stories were estimated in days and the person I've
        > assigned as the customer has chosen what he thinks are the most valuable
        > from a business point of view and only chosen a set where the amount of
        > estimated days add up to two weeks (the chosen iteration length).
        >
        > I've been looking for the optimal story board (informative workspace) set
        > up
        > and from the pictures I've seen I can't really see any like the one in
        > Kent
        > Beck's lovely book "Extreme Programming Explained - Embrace Change". It
        > goes
        > something like the following IIRC:
        >
        > +-------------------------+---------------------------------------+
        > | Finished Stories | This Week |
        > |
        > | |
        > +-------------------------+-------------------+------------------+
        > | |
        > | |
        > | Not yet Estimated | This Release | This Iteration |
        > | |
        > | |
        > +-------------------------+-------------------+------------------+
        >
        > I have seen stories on a wall with coloured stickers like green stickers
        > on
        > the corners. I presume this means a story is done and rather than moving
        > the
        > cards around, they are left in position and marked as done. Am I correct?
        >
        > On another site I read about having your stories separated into three
        > columns, like the following:
        >
        > Not Started | Started | Finished
        > ---------------------+----------------+-------------------
        > | |
        > | |
        > | |
        > | |
        > | |
        >
        > I'm not sure whether this method is used for stories of tasks.
        >
        > I was wondering how other people are tracking/laying out their stories and
        >
        > Tasks during iterations so they have the optimal informative workspace,
        > and
        > what do they do with the stories when they move on to the next iteration?
        >
        > Forgive me if this has been asked before but the search functionality in
        > Yahoo leaves a lot to be desired for and I couldn't find my answers.
        > Any replies would be greatly appreciated.
        >
        > Cheers,
        >
        > Sonic
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >



        --
        D. André Dhondt

        If you're a software developer in the area, join Agile Philly (
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agilephilly/)!


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Psychie Naill
        Hi André, Thank you for the links. I have seen both those before. The second one in particular was a source of confusion for me due to the amount of different
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 31, 2007
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          Hi André,

          Thank you for the links. I have seen both those before. The second one in
          particular was a source of confusion for me due to the amount of different
          setups people used. This is why I asked my question in the first place; to
          see how people would discuss the pro's and con's of each method.
          From the links I'd say that my favourite method would be a mixture
          between William
          Pietri's team room <http://www.scissor.com/resources/teamroom/> and Mike
          Cohn's generic task board<http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/taskboard.php>;
          and this<http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/system/hidden_asset/file/36/CabinetTaskBoard.jpg>version
          in particular.

          I have a couple of questions/comments about both though:

          In relation to the generic task board, (which by the way I love; if only I
          had the time to make one :), in Williams team room; this suggests that each
          of the next nine week's iterations are planned out already. I thought the
          idea of the iteration planning meeting was to plan only the next iteration.
          I wonder how he would account for inaccurate estimates? If a card had to be
          moved to the next iteration, how would it affect the flow of things?

          In relation to the generic task board, I see hours spent coding are tracked,
          yet the stories are estimated in points. I'm a little confused as to how one
          relates time to points. I usually estimate stories in days.

          I would appreciate it someone could enlighten me further.

          Cheers.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Steven Gordon
          ... Not quite. What is tracked is estimated hour remaining for each task (not all of which are coding). It does not really matter how many hours were
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 31, 2007
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            On 1/31/07, Psychie Naill <psychieslash@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Hi André,
            >
            > Thank you for the links. I have seen both those before. The second one in
            > particular was a source of confusion for me due to the amount of different
            > setups people used. This is why I asked my question in the first place; to
            > see how people would discuss the pro's and con's of each method.
            > From the links I'd say that my favourite method would be a mixture
            > between William
            > Pietri's team room <http://www.scissor.com/resources/teamroom/> and Mike
            > Cohn's generic task
            > board<http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/taskboard.php>;
            > and
            > this<http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/system/hidden_asset/file/36/CabinetTaskBoard.jpg>version
            > in particular.
            >
            > I have a couple of questions/comments about both though:
            >
            > In relation to the generic task board, (which by the way I love; if only I
            > had the time to make one :), in Williams team room; this suggests that each
            > of the next nine week's iterations are planned out already. I thought the
            > idea of the iteration planning meeting was to plan only the next iteration.
            > I wonder how he would account for inaccurate estimates? If a card had to be
            > moved to the next iteration, how would it affect the flow of things?
            >
            > In relation to the generic task board, I see hours spent coding are
            > tracked,

            Not quite. What is tracked is estimated hour remaining for each task
            (not all of which are coding). It does not really matter how many
            hours were actually worked.

            > yet the stories are estimated in points. I'm a little confused as to how
            > one
            > relates time to points. I usually estimate stories in days.

            Estimated task hours are tracked to help the team see how they are
            progressing at getting their stories completed during the iteration
            (and figuring out how to address any problems that come up during the
            iteration).

            Story points are not a factor during the iteration (unless a story
            needs to be split or dropped). Story points are for tracking how much
            the team is getting done each iteration towards the product release
            goal. The team's velocity (the moving average of the number of story
            points per iteration) allows an evolving picture of what is likely to
            be done by the end of the release cycle.

            In other words, hours and points are used for two different levels of
            planning (iteration and product). While the number of hours of effort
            to complete a story should be roughly proportionate to the story
            points, both are rough estimates. No specific ratio between the values
            is really necessary to support agile planning at both the iteration
            and product levels.

            Putting them in different units helps avoid confounding these two
            different levels of planning. It is best to not worry about a
            consistent ratio between hours and story points. A more useful goal
            is a attaining a consistently nondecreasing velocity.

            Steve

            >
            > I would appreciate it someone could enlighten me further.
            >
            > Cheers.
            >
          • William Pietri
            ... If you d like one, I should mention that my brother is a furniture-maker, and is now making much nicer ones than what you see in those photos. I m glad to
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 31, 2007
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              Psychie Naill wrote:
              > In relation to the generic task board, (which by the way I love; if only I
              > had the time to make one :), in Williams team room; this suggests that each
              > of the next nine week's iterations are planned out already. I thought the
              > idea of the iteration planning meeting was to plan only the next iteration.
              > I wonder how he would account for inaccurate estimates? If a card had to be
              > moved to the next iteration, how would it affect the flow of things?

              If you'd like one, I should mention that my brother is a
              furniture-maker, and is now making much nicer ones than what you see in
              those photos. I'm glad to put people in contact with him; just drop me a
              line off-list.

              Regarding those photos, we actually used two boards. The long-term
              product plan was kept on the big board:

              http://www.scissor.com/resources/teamroom/#storycards

              Every week at the iteration planning meeting, we would move the
              completed stories to the completed-stories zone at the top. We'd then
              select the cards for the next iteration, and the product manager would
              adjust the cards for the next couple of months of work. The only thing
              we took very seriously was the next iteration's work; the rest was just
              our best guess based on current priorities and recent velocity.

              Once we had selected the work for the iteration, we'd break down each
              selected story on the whiteboard:

              http://www.scissor.com/resources/teamroom/#current

              For each card, we'd write down its estimate and title in large print,
              and then do a smaller task breakdown underneath. In the process, we'd
              double-check our estimates. When we started work, we'd check off tasks.
              That gave us an at-a-glance way to tell how the iteration was
              progressing and what to do next. Mike Cohn's task board would be a great
              way to do this as well.


              So to directly answer your question, when we discovered that something
              was inaccurate, we adjusted our plans by moving cards or changing the
              whiteboard.


              Does that address your questions?

              William
            • Psychie Naill
              Hi William, Thank you very much for your response. I did assume something like what you ve described but wanted to make sure just in case I was missing
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 5, 2007
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                Hi William,

                Thank you very much for your response. I did assume something like what
                you've described but wanted to make sure just in case I was missing
                something. Thanks for clearing that up.
                As for the task board, I think the cost of shipping one over vs the cost of
                making one would be a bit high. I've set up a story board with a flattened
                cardboard box and use push-pins to hold the cards. I can get the required
                effect well enough for now, but thanks for the offer.

                I'm still a little rusty on estimating points vs time though, so I'll have
                to have a search around for more info on that.

                Thanks again,

                Psychie


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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