Agile Scrum Case Study Tasks User Stories Epics Themes

Ridiculously Easy – 3 Minutes Guide to Agile Scrum Terminologies!!!

Remember T.U.E.T -Tasks | User Stories | Epics | Themes

Approx. Time 3 – 5 mts.

The customer had just assigned a new website design & launch project. The team already started planning when the customer arrived with a new demand. I want to have wishlists for a customer: so a customer can come back to buy products later and view those products later.

The team sits down and tries to understand this requirement. As a customer, I need to save a product to my wishlist, so I can view it later. The same customer also needs to view this wishlist to buy products later. It needs a Database to store wishlist items. It needs a page to see the wishlist. An add to wishlist button needs to be added to each product. A view wishlist button to homepage is also required.

This customer requirement is typical example of an EPIC as shown in the below image. An agile epic is a body of work that can be broken down into user stories and then into specific tasks based on the needs/requests of customers or end users.

Epics

Epics are a helpful way to organize your work and to create a hierarchy. The idea is to break work down into shippable pieces, so that large projects can actually get done and you can continue to ship value to your customers on a regular basis. Epics help teams break their work down, while continuing to work towards a bigger goal.

Agile User Stories

Agile User Stories provide the who, what and why. As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason > For example:

  • As a manager, I want to be able to understand my colleagues progress, so I can better report our success and failures
  • As a webmaster, I want my website content to be backed up so I don’t lose data
  • As a power user I need to limit the number of users who can register on my website so my Content is visible to my selected audience

User stories need to follow the INVEST Guideline. This means user stories need to be Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, Testable

The Product Backlog

One of the most important documents in Agile Scrum. It can be considered as the BRD i.e Business Requirements Document of the Project. Compared to the BRD the Product Backlog can change throughout the course of the Project

The Product Owner is Accountable & Responsible for the Product Backlog.

Some of the main items included in this document are:

  • Stories
  • Effort Estimate
  • Priority of Story
  • Features/ Islands
  • Themes/ Epics

For understanding the structure let’s take a bottom’s up Approach to Scrum i.e T.U.E.T – Tasks, User Stories, Epics and Themes

  • Tasks: The lowermost element. A user story consists of one or more actionable tasks
  • Agile User Stories: A user story is an Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, Testable requirement
  • Agile Epic: An epic is a group of Related User Stories. Epics can also be used at both Project & Program Level

Themes

A theme is a top level objective that may span projects and products. Themes may be broken down into sub themes which are more likely to be product specific

Features

A distinct element of functionality that can provide capabilities to the consumer. A feature may have multiple user stories under itself. In agile development, a feature is a chunk of functionality that delivers business value. Features can include additions or changes to existing functionality.

Islands

It is a way to categorize user stories. For example user stories that are dealing with a particular type of user – like a vendor can be categorized as vendor

Caveats

  • A Product Backlog can change throughout the course of a Project
  • A Product strategy may have multiple themes
  • A theme may have multiple epics
  • An epic may have multiple user stories
  • Each user story may have multiple tasks

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