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Re: [scrumdevelopment] How to split a story that doesn't have customer value when split

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  • Cass Dalton
    Im sorry that the analogy was lost on you. I would love to tell you a real story. Do you have a security clearance? The basic question is not that
    Message 1 of 37 , Jul 8, 2012

      Im sorry that the analogy was lost on you.  I would love to tell you a real story.  Do you have a security clearance?

      The basic question is not that complicated.  You have a single feature point that needs 20 man weeks of work behind it to provide real value to a user.  You have a team of 3 developers.

      I can't imagine that no one in the agile community has not come across the situation where you are building a complicated system from scratch and it takes a number of sprints before the customer sees any visible value.  That's what the lawnmower analogy was designed to signify.  I did not expect people to get stuck in the technicalities of the analogy.

      On Jul 8, 2012 11:57 AM, "RonJeffries" <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

      Hello, Cass,

      On Jul 3, 2012, at 9:17 PM, Cass Dalton wrote:

      The projects I work on are like this.  There is a single primary feature that requires a lot of work (i.e. multiple sprints) just to get a system that provides minimal customer value.  Once you have that, many of the follow on features start to roll off in good user stories.

      So how do you split up these types of epics?

      Are you building lawnmowers? In that case I don't know. If you happen to be building software, please tell us a real software story. We might be able to help with that.

      Wisdom begins when we understand the difference between "that makes no sense" and "I don't understand". -- Mary Doria Russell

    • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
      Cass, Thanks for your patience with us on the list.  We often miss a word or two and completely misunderstand the purpose of someone s email.  Thank you for
      Message 37 of 37 , Jul 24, 2012

        Thanks for your patience with us on the list.  We often miss a word or two and completely misunderstand the purpose of someone's email.  Thank you for emphasizing that your contrived example is indeed contrived.  Thank you also for coming up with such a complex contrived example, and I hope it serves your purpose.  Some on the list may doubt the complexity of what you're dealing with, but I do not.  It is very clear that you are trying very hard to "walk the Agile path," and this community supports people just like you(for free) because we know it can be hard at times, and we believe very much in what you're doing.
        1.  It definitely appears as if you have a complex problem on your hands.  If it's a brand new system, and you have figured out the tiniest, thinnest, smallest slice, all(or largely most of) the way through the system that provides some miniscule amount of shippable functionality, then how long, in days of duration, does your team estimate it would take that to do?  (Assume that the entire team worked on the one story)(If you don't know the answer to this, then an educated guess on your part will do for now for our discussion purposes.)

        2.  Is the entire product large enough, and/or delivery time frame short enough, such that it make sense to split into more than one team of 3-9 developers?

        Charles Bradley

        From: Cass Dalton <cassdalton73@...>
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2012 8:13 AM
        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] How to split a story that doesn't have customer value when split

        If we were really rewritting HTTP and the network stack from scratch, you would be correct.  We and our customer would have a horrible business model.  But its just an analogy.  The lawnmower analogy didn't go over well and Ron wanted a story that related to software.  Since I can't describe a real customer story for various reasons, I fabricated one that would convey the complexity that we typically have to deal with and that would convey the issue that I wanted to ask the group about.
        I'd like to thank everyone in the group that has given ideas and suggestions.  This has really helped.  I'm learning that in agile, there is a huge difference between knowing the path and walking the path.  User stories especially are an art that takes experience, practice, and determination.  One of the biggest impediments in my most recent experiment with agile was the user story writing.  The stories were too large, had poor definitions of done, and read like requirements.  Big heavy waterfall is all I've ever known and I've come to understand that an agile process is only 20% of the answer.  The other 80% is the culture and organizational philosophy that has to go with it.
        On Jul 13, 2012 11:55 PM, "Otis Bricker" <obricker@...> wrote:
        On 7/8/2012 5:20 PM, Cass Dalton wrote:
        > For example, lets assume that we have to parse an HTML stream from
        > only the voltages as seen by the network interface card.  But we don't
        > have a NIC, we don't have access to any of the existing ethernet
        > driver code, TCP/IP network stack, HTTP libraries, etc.  We have to
        > write all that from scratch.

        I missed this comment in my first reading.

        IF there are none of the above, why would you have to parse HTML? No one
        is capable of sending and and it would likely have never come about
        without the supporting items you are now requiring your project to create.

        Again, it seems like you are assuming a solution based on existing
        technology but then denying yourself the benefit of that tech. It might
        well be that the problem you are solving would be better answered in
        some other way. If this is truly an ALL NEW project, then there would be
        value in being able to transmit data remotely first, even between two
        fixed machines. That may not be enough of a feature set to make a
        product, but that isn't what a story is about.



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