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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Another User Story terminology thread - Epics/Themes

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  • George Dinwiddie
    Charles, On 12/19/12 8:25 PM, Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trainer and ... I ve seen lots of organization use lots of different terminology. Often they
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 5, 2013
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      Charles,

      On 12/19/12 8:25 PM, Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trainer and
      Coach wrote:
      >
      >
      > No, it's not what you're thinking... at least it's not about an article
      > or anything like that.
      >
      > Here it is...
      >
      > In the earlier works on User Stories (Cohn, at least -- maybe there's
      > more), the concept of an "Epic" was something like a "big story" or "a
      > story too big to fit into a sprint". A "Theme" was something like "a
      > collection of related stories."
      >
      > In more recent years, I haven't seen much use of the term Theme, but I
      > have seen quite a bit of use of the term Epic, to mean *either* a big
      > story, *or* a collection of Stories(thus taking on the meaning of a Theme).
      >
      > I've noticed this in the last few years. I first noticed it in one of
      > my clients 3 years ago(especially in use at the D/Director/VP level),
      > then I noticed it in Pivotal Tracker and Greenhopper in the last year.
      >
      > Has anyone else seen this use(misuse?) of the terminology? Do we (as a
      > community, and as practitioners) care that the term has been co-opted?
      > Is the impact so small as to not worry about it?

      I've seen lots of organization use lots of different terminology. Often
      they use "feature" instead of either "epic" or "theme." I've seen
      "capability" for the middle level. I don't worry about it much as long
      as people in the organization find it clear and agree on the
      terminology. Often a term must be avoided because it has multiple
      meanings in the organization.

      - George

      --
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Chet Hendrickson
      Hi, I use feature to refer to a thing the business/stakeholders want from us. I use story and user story interchangeably for the team s description of a
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 5, 2013
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        Hi,

        I use 'feature' to refer to a thing the business/stakeholders want from us.  I use 'story' and 'user story' interchangeably for the team's description of a feature or features.  I don't use 'epic' or 'theme' or 'saga' or 'ode'.  I don't know what they mean and I bet, like me, you have seen too much time spent determining when one category ends and another starts.  

        I call them all 'stories'.  Some are small enough to be scheduled into a Sprint and others aren't.  And some, we don't know enough about to know.

        chet

        Chet Hendrickson



        On Jan 5, 2013, at 2:29 PM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:

         

        Charles,

        On 12/19/12 8:25 PM, Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trainer and
        Coach wrote:
        >
        >
        > No, it's not what you're thinking... at least it's not about an article
        > or anything like that.
        >
        > Here it is...
        >
        > In the earlier works on User Stories (Cohn, at least -- maybe there's
        > more), the concept of an "Epic" was something like a "big story" or "a
        > story too big to fit into a sprint". A "Theme" was something like "a
        > collection of related stories."
        >
        > In more recent years, I haven't seen much use of the term Theme, but I
        > have seen quite a bit of use of the term Epic, to mean *either* a big
        > story, *or* a collection of Stories(thus taking on the meaning of a Theme).
        >
        > I've noticed this in the last few years. I first noticed it in one of
        > my clients 3 years ago(especially in use at the D/Director/VP level),
        > then I noticed it in Pivotal Tracker and Greenhopper in the last year.
        >
        > Has anyone else seen this use(misuse?) of the terminology? Do we (as a
        > community, and as practitioners) care that the term has been co-opted?
        > Is the impact so small as to not worry about it?

        I've seen lots of organization use lots of different terminology. Often
        they use "feature" instead of either "epic" or "theme." I've seen
        "capability" for the middle level. I don't worry about it much as long
        as people in the organization find it clear and agree on the
        terminology. Often a term must be avoided because it has multiple
        meanings in the organization.

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------


      • Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trai
        Thanks to all for the feedback on this thread.  What I gathered, in terms of my original questions, is that the community has seen this practice, doesn t care
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 6, 2013
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          Thanks to all for the feedback on this thread.  What I gathered, in terms of my original questions, is that the community has seen this practice, doesn't care that much about the mixing of the terms, and the impact of the mixing is not that important.  Many pointed to the key strategy that terms be fairly well understood inside of a particular team or organization, which make sense.  I'm personally ok with all of this. 

          Out of deference for the User Story pioneers, and those who are active in the community, I just wanted to get a sense for where the community stands.

          I thank you all for your input and intend to reflect future writings/trainings/coachings to reflect the community sentiment.
           
          -------
          Charles Bradley
          Scrum Coach-in-Chief
          ScrumCrazy.com




          From: Chet Hendrickson <lists@...>
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, January 5, 2013 1:29 PM
          Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Another User Story terminology thread - Epics/Themes



          Hi,

          I use 'feature' to refer to a thing the business/stakeholders want from us.  I use 'story' and 'user story' interchangeably for the team's description of a feature or features.  I don't use 'epic' or 'theme' or 'saga' or 'ode'.  I don't know what they mean and I bet, like me, you have seen too much time spent determining when one category ends and another starts.  

          I call them all 'stories'.  Some are small enough to be scheduled into a Sprint and others aren't.  And some, we don't know enough about to know.

          chet

          Chet Hendrickson



          On Jan 5, 2013, at 2:29 PM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:

           
          Charles,

          On 12/19/12 8:25 PM, Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trainer and
          Coach wrote:
          >
          >
          > No, it's not what you're thinking... at least it's not about an article
          > or anything like that.
          >
          > Here it is...
          >
          > In the earlier works on User Stories (Cohn, at least -- maybe there's
          > more), the concept of an "Epic" was something like a "big story" or "a
          > story too big to fit into a sprint". A "Theme" was something like "a
          > collection of related stories."
          >
          > In more recent years, I haven't seen much use of the term Theme, but I
          > have seen quite a bit of use of the term Epic, to mean *either* a big
          > story, *or* a collection of Stories(thus taking on the meaning of a Theme).
          >
          > I've noticed this in the last few years. I first noticed it in one of
          > my clients 3 years ago(especially in use at the D/Director/VP level),
          > then I noticed it in Pivotal Tracker and Greenhopper in the last year.
          >
          > Has anyone else seen this use(misuse?) of the terminology? Do we (as a
          > community, and as practitioners) care that the term has been co-opted?
          > Is the impact so small as to not worry about it?

          I've seen lots of organization use lots of different terminology. Often
          they use "feature" instead of either "epic" or "theme." I've seen
          "capability" for the middle level. I don't worry about it much as long
          as people in the organization find it clear and agree on the
          terminology. Often a term must be avoided because it has multiple
          meanings in the organization.

          - George

          --
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
          Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
          Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
          ----------------------------------------------------------






        • daswartz@prodigy
          Dean Leffingwell s Scaled Agile Framework, targeted at large organizations, uses feature and story in much the same way as Chet. A story is what teams work on.
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 7, 2013
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            Dean Leffingwell's Scaled Agile Framework, targeted at large
            organizations, uses feature and story in much the same way as Chet.

            A story is what teams work on. A feature is something a marketer could
            put in a product brochure. A feature might be implemented by one
            story, but often takes more than one. An epic is larger than a
            feature and represents an organizational initiative. Epics often longer
            than one release to execute.

            For example, an epic for a software product might be "Implement
            single sign-on". Features could be "Active Directory Integration, and
            Sign-on using Facebook login"

            Doug Swartz

            Saturday, January 5, 2013, 2:29:54 PM, you wrote:

            > Hi,



            > I use 'feature' to refer to a thing the business/stakeholders want
            > from us. I use 'story' and 'user story' interchangeably for the
            > team's description of a feature or features. I don't use 'epic' or
            > 'theme' or 'saga' or 'ode'. I don't know what they mean and I bet,
            > like me, you have seen too much time spent determining when one
            > category ends and another starts.




            > I call them all 'stories'. Some are small enough to be scheduled
            > into a Sprint and others aren't. And some, we don't know enough about to know.




            > chet




            >
            > Chet Hendrickson

            > lists@...




            >
            >

            > On Jan 5, 2013, at 2:29 PM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:


            >
            >
            > Charles,
            >
            > On 12/19/12 8:25 PM, Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trainer and
            > Coach wrote:
            >>
            >>
            >> No, it's not what you're thinking... at least it's not about an article
            >> or anything like that.
            >>
            >> Here it is...
            >>
            >> In the earlier works on User Stories (Cohn, at least -- maybe there's
            >> more), the concept of an "Epic" was something like a "big story" or "a
            >> story too big to fit into a sprint". A "Theme" was something like "a
            >> collection of related stories."
            >>
            >> In more recent years, I haven't seen much use of the term Theme, but I
            >> have seen quite a bit of use of the term Epic, to mean *either* a big
            >> story, *or* a collection of Stories(thus taking on the meaning of a Theme).
            >>
            >> I've noticed this in the last few years. I first noticed it in one of
            >> my clients 3 years ago(especially in use at the D/Director/VP level),
            >> then I noticed it in Pivotal Tracker and Greenhopper in the last year.
            >>
            >> Has anyone else seen this use(misuse?) of the terminology? Do we (as a
            >> community, and as practitioners) care that the term has been co-opted?
            >> Is the impact so small as to not worry about it?
            >
            > I've seen lots of organization use lots of different terminology. Often
            > they use "feature" instead of either "epic" or "theme." I've seen
            > "capability" for the middle level. I don't worry about it much as long
            > as people in the organization find it clear and agree on the
            > terminology. Often a term must be avoided because it has multiple
            > meanings in the organization.
            >
            > - George
            >
            > --
            > ----------------------------------------------------------
            > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
            > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
            > ----------------------------------------------------------
          • Ken 'classmaker' Ritchie
            That seems like the simplest thing that could [and does] work. Kudos to you, Chet, for the gentle smack of Einstein s KISS (... Simple & Sufficient). Just
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 7, 2013
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              That seems like the simplest thing that could [and does] work. 

              Kudos to you, Chet, for the gentle smack of "Einstein's KISS" (... Simple & Sufficient). Just enough. I needed that! 

              Cheers all,
              --Ken ;-)

              Ken Ritchie 
              Classmaker


              On Jan 5, 2013, at 15:29, Chet Hendrickson <lists@...> wrote:

              I call them all 'stories'.  Some are small enough to be scheduled into a Sprint and others aren't.  And some, we don't know enough about to know.

              chet

              Chet Hendrickson
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