May 5, 2011

Ask the Team!

There are some questions asked by Product Owners and they have a simple answer: “Ask the team!”

There are some questions asked by Product Owners

... and they have a simple answer: “Ask the team!”

Story good enough for the Sprint

When a PO ask: “Is the user story good enough, that it can be taken in the sprint?” or “Does this user story have enough acceptance criteria?”

The answer to this question is “Ask the team!”

The team will work with the story, so the story has to be good enough that the team can work with it. For a story to be good enough for the sprint it has to be small (6 to 10 stories in a sprint are a good volume), it has to be estimable (You don't need an exact estimate, but just enough to built an empirical base for the velocity and a help for the PO to prioritise the product backlog) and it has to be testable (It should be clear what is needed to finish a story and with this you have a high-level understanding of testing if the story is completed). To be sure that a story is good enough for the sprint the team should be involved and you should ask the team.

Use of the Sprint Burn Down by people outside the Team

When a PO ask: “What does the current burn down chart tell me?”

The answer to this question is “Ask the team!”

Possible Scenario of Sprint Burn Down based on Story Points

Possible Scenario of Sprint Burn Down based on Story Points

At first sight you could think this chart looks pretty bad, but maybe there are some stories close to be finished. Maybe the team has really just some last thing to finish two of the bigger stories. The team has already reflected on the situation and agreed that this is not critical and how to proceed. Just one day later the burn down could look much better.

Possible Scenario of Sprint Burn Down based on Ideal Hours

Possible Scenario of Sprint Burn Down based on Ideal Hours

At first sight you could think this chart looks pretty good, but maybe there is no story finished. Maybe the team started to many stories at once and they missed tasks or there is still a high risk for surprises in the open stories. The chart could look like this and no story is really done. Only the team can really interpret the burn down chart. It helps them to have the right discussion at the right time to inspect and adapt to the current situation.

I can’t interpret it alone

As a person not involved I can’t interpret the chart alone. To get the right information I would ask the team.

But there is also the other way around

If there is the question from a team, “Is this Story really Done?”, there is only one answer to be sure, “Ask the PO” ;-) There is always a possibility that you and the PO have different understandings of the story and their acceptance criteria. The PO and the team will learn from one another what they can expect and how to communicate expectations properly, but the best way to avoid such surprises is to ask the PO.

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Ralf Kruse

I'm an Agile coach. Sometimes I'm excited and sometimes I feel more like Marvin ;-) Follow me @ralfhh
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Ralf Kruse

I'm an Agile coach. Sometimes I'm excited and sometimes I feel more like Marvin ;-) Follow me @ralfhh

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