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What to do when breaking down 5 stories takes a whole day?

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  • Kristoffer Roupe
    Hi all! I ve just come out of a sprint planning meeting here (yesterday) where we spent almost 1h/story in break downs. Now, we are a 12 man team, thinking of
    Message 1 of 256 , Apr 1 8:08 AM
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      Hi all!



      I've just come out of a sprint planning meeting here (yesterday) where we spent almost 1h/story in break downs. Now, we are a 12 man team, thinking of splitting in 2, just to get some better output. One of our main issues is that we have about 7-8 products that is in development. Which makes about 1 product per 2 man team! Surely enough this becomes an issue, we context switch a lot, and that takes time.

      Now, our product owners /customers are quite new to storytelling, so they do produce epics. We try to narrow them down, but that (I guess) is one of the reasons why break down takes such a long time... we just can't understand how the heck to do the stories. Yesterday, the PO's was out of office, so that being a sprint planning day just made thing even worse; we had no one to ask.



      Now, back to the main object (not me crying over how bad we did), how do I get my product owner to start splitting her stories? We've tried to educate our product owners about how to write a proper story, and that it shouldn't be to "big". We've also introduced a quick "estimation calculation" that gives them a hint about the overall complexity of the story. So that we don't have to break it down first. But they just keep ignoring our demands on "breaking them down into smaller parts". One of the arguments heard from PO's is that they lose the eagle eye view when things get to small. This is understandable, so I'm in the writing of a small wiki-topic about "release planning", just to get them started. But I feel that this might just not be enough!



      This is why I now ask you guys. Because I know that there's a lot of people on this list that have more experience than me on XP/Scrum/Agile/Lean etc. and I'm eager to know if there's some "hidden tricks" out there that I could use.



      If I'm just blathering here, please let me know.



      Kristoffer Roupé

      Lead Programmer

      Cint AB

      Torsgatan 8

      SE111 23 STOCKHOLM, Sweden

      Mobile: +46 70 487 72 03

      e-mail: kristoffer.roupe@... <mailto:kristoffer.roupe@...>

      webb: www.cint.com <http://www.cint.com/>

      It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong - Voltaire



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Niraj Khanna
      Hi Unmesh, Sorry for not responding in over 1 month. We were away on vacation. ... I think what you re describing maybe a symptom or practice of why some
      Message 256 of 256 , May 8, 2008
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        Hi Unmesh,

        Sorry for not responding in over 1 month. We were away on vacation.
        > So to measure success or failure of "Agile" transition is to measure
        > if people are thinking for themselves, rather than blindly following
        > agile coach's advice and running behind agile buzzword. How can we
        > measure that?
        >

        I think what you're describing maybe a symptom or practice of why some
        agile transitions "succeed" over others that "fail". I'm just
        interested in measuring whether it succeeds or fails. A secondary and
        more useful study would be "why do agile transitions succeed/fail".
        Finally, to be quite honest, I wouldn't be surprised to see "Blindly
        following agile manual" in either the "success" or "failure" camp. I
        think Ron has discussed practicing all the XP practices before
        deciding which ones to drop, but I can also see how practicing and
        applying practices without an understanding of expected benefits
        coulod lead to adoption failure.

        Thanks,
        Niraj.
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