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Spike stories - estimation and acceptance criteria ?

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  • Ram Srinivasan
    Hello Folks, My understanding is that there are 2 types of spikes - technical and functional. And that spike stories need not have an estimate (as they are
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 23, 2013
      Hello Folks,

      My understanding is that there are 2 types of spikes - technical and
      functional. And that spike stories need not have an estimate (as they are
      time boxed to 1-2 days), and cannot be estimated (in story points), because
      it is research work, if we know what to do, we would build the feature and
      not do a spike. Is my understanding correct?

      Does Ron's 3Cs (Card, Confirmation, Conversation) apply to spike stories as
      well? Common sense tells me yes, and there is no harm. The acceptance
      criteria for a technical spike may be something like "the DB should be
      able to support 500K transactions without locking tables". Sometimes it may
      not be possible to have acceptance criteria, its research work, you are
      investigating it. I was looking at c2.com and xp123.com, but I could not
      find relevant material which could confirm my understanding

      Thanks,
      Ram


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • George Dinwiddie
      Ram, The purpose of a spike is to answer a question. Perhaps you re not sure if a 3rd-party library will support the functionality you need. You allocate how
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 23, 2013
        Ram,

        The purpose of a spike is to answer a question. Perhaps you're not sure
        if a 3rd-party library will support the functionality you need. You
        allocate how much time you're willing to spend and do just enough work
        to answer the question. The spike is over when you run out of allocated
        time, or you answer the question.

        If you run out of time, you want to make an explicit decision to budget
        more time or to take a different approach.

        - George

        On 8/23/13 9:02 PM, Ram Srinivasan wrote:
        > Hello Folks,
        >
        > My understanding is that there are 2 types of spikes - technical and
        > functional. And that spike stories need not have an estimate (as they are
        > time boxed to 1-2 days), and cannot be estimated (in story points), because
        > it is research work, if we know what to do, we would build the feature and
        > not do a spike. Is my understanding correct?
        >
        > Does Ron's 3Cs (Card, Confirmation, Conversation) apply to spike stories as
        > well? Common sense tells me yes, and there is no harm. The acceptance
        > criteria for a technical spike may be something like "the DB should be
        > able to support 500K transactions without locking tables". Sometimes it may
        > not be possible to have acceptance criteria, its research work, you are
        > investigating it. I was looking at c2.com and xp123.com, but I could not
        > find relevant material which could confirm my understanding
        >
        > Thanks,
        > Ram
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
        >
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
        >
        > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • James Grenning
        Yeah, like George says. thanks, James ... James Grenning Author of TDD for Embedded C www.renaissancesoftware.net http://pragprog.com/titles/jgade/
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 24, 2013
          Yeah, like George says.

          thanks, James

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          James Grenning Author of TDD for Embedded C
          www.renaissancesoftware.net http://pragprog.com/titles/jgade/
          www.renaissancesoftware.net/blog
          www.twitter.com/jwgrenning

          On Aug 23, 2013, at 8:27 PM, George Dinwiddie wrote:

          > Ram,
          >
          > The purpose of a spike is to answer a question. Perhaps you're not sure
          > if a 3rd-party library will support the functionality you need. You
          > allocate how much time you're willing to spend and do just enough work
          > to answer the question. The spike is over when you run out of allocated
          > time, or you answer the question.
          >
          > If you run out of time, you want to make an explicit decision to budget
          > more time or to take a different approach.
          >
          > - George
          >
          > On 8/23/13 9:02 PM, Ram Srinivasan wrote:
          > > Hello Folks,
          > >
          > > My understanding is that there are 2 types of spikes - technical and
          > > functional. And that spike stories need not have an estimate (as they are
          > > time boxed to 1-2 days), and cannot be estimated (in story points), because
          > > it is research work, if we know what to do, we would build the feature and
          > > not do a spike. Is my understanding correct?
          > >
          > > Does Ron's 3Cs (Card, Confirmation, Conversation) apply to spike stories as
          > > well? Common sense tells me yes, and there is no harm. The acceptance
          > > criteria for a technical spike may be something like "the DB should be
          > > able to support 500K transactions without locking tables". Sometimes it may
          > > not be possible to have acceptance criteria, its research work, you are
          > > investigating it. I was looking at c2.com and xp123.com, but I could not
          > > find relevant material which could confirm my understanding
          > >
          > > Thanks,
          > > Ram
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ------------------------------------
          > >
          > > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
          > >
          > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
          > >
          > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          > --
          > ----------------------------------------------------------
          > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
          > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
          > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
          > ----------------------------------------------------------
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Nancy Van Schooenderwoert
          Hi Ram, I agree with what George and James have said - and I d add that I have not heard of needing to treat technical spikes differently than functional
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 25, 2013
            Hi Ram,

            I agree with what George and James have said - and I'd add that I
            have not heard of needing to treat technical spikes differently than
            functional spikes.

            You ask if Ron Jeffries' 3Cs applies here - sure! The conversation
            should be to clarify just what question is being investigated, and what
            sort of time and other resources need to go into it.

            Packaging work into stories presupposes that we know what the work
            entails, and if we do then story points is a more intuitive estimation
            tool. (Well I think so, though there are good folks who prefer something
            else.)

            But if we don't know what is involved - because it's development and
            there are some things we need to figure out along the way - then I tell
            teams 'At least stay in control of your time'! As George said, budget
            the time you think it's worth and then be explicit about deciding
            whether you found out enough or should spend more time on that exploration.

            I have seen teams make a mistake with this advice. Basically they got
            so wrapped up in the investigation that they blew past their time box
            and couldn't complete other important work in that iteration. True, they
            weren't following the advice, but I mention it to acknowledge that the
            pursuit of new info can be awfully engaging, even addicting.

            - njv @vanschoo


            On 8/24/13 12:12 PM, James Grenning wrote:
            > Yeah, like George says.
            >
            > thanks, James
            >
            > --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > James Grenning Author of TDD for Embedded C
            > www.renaissancesoftware.net http://pragprog.com/titles/jgade/
            > www.renaissancesoftware.net/blog
            > www.twitter.com/jwgrenning
            >
            > On Aug 23, 2013, at 8:27 PM, George Dinwiddie wrote:
            >
            >> Ram,
            >>
            >> The purpose of a spike is to answer a question. Perhaps you're not sure
            >> if a 3rd-party library will support the functionality you need. You
            >> allocate how much time you're willing to spend and do just enough work
            >> to answer the question. The spike is over when you run out of allocated
            >> time, or you answer the question.
            >>
            >> If you run out of time, you want to make an explicit decision to budget
            >> more time or to take a different approach.
            >>
            >> - George
            >>
            >> On 8/23/13 9:02 PM, Ram Srinivasan wrote:
            >>> Hello Folks,
            >>>
            >>> My understanding is that there are 2 types of spikes - technical and
            >>> functional. And that spike stories need not have an estimate (as they are
            >>> time boxed to 1-2 days), and cannot be estimated (in story points), because
            >>> it is research work, if we know what to do, we would build the feature and
            >>> not do a spike. Is my understanding correct?
            >>>
            >>> Does Ron's 3Cs (Card, Confirmation, Conversation) apply to spike stories as
            >>> well? Common sense tells me yes, and there is no harm. The acceptance
            >>> criteria for a technical spike may be something like "the DB should be
            >>> able to support 500K transactions without locking tables". Sometimes it may
            >>> not be possible to have acceptance criteria, its research work, you are
            >>> investigating it. I was looking at c2.com and xp123.com, but I could not
            >>> find relevant material which could confirm my understanding
            >>>
            >>> Thanks,
            >>> Ram
            >>>
            >>>
            >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >>>
            >>>
            >>>
            >>> ------------------------------------
            >>>
            >>> To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
            >>>
            >>> To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
            >>>
            >>> ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
            >>>
            >>>
            >>>
            >>>
            >>
            >> --
            >> ----------------------------------------------------------
            >> * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            >> Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
            >> Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
            >> ----------------------------------------------------------
            >>
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
            >
            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
            >
            > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >

            --
            ............................................
            Agile hardware? Yes! Agile safety-critical Embedded Systems too

            Nancy Van Schooenderwoert, Lean-Agile Partners Inc.

            US mobile: 781 301 1822 nancyv@...
            Twitter: @vanschoo http://www.leanagilepartners.com
            ............................................
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