Friday, April 29, 2011

Track all development work as story cards

Managers new to agile teams are often in a dilemma about what work should be written on a Story Card and what should be tracked in your favourite project management tool. Since the smallest unit of work is widely known as a User Story, people often are confused how to track all other work that the team has to do.

In short, all development work done by the team should be written on Story Cards (as above). Majority of these will be User Stories but there can also be several other categories such as

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  • Infrastructure/Technical Stories – Tasks such as setting up continuous integration environments, developer machines etc…
  • Spikes – Proof of concepts / Prototypes
  • Performance Stories – Stories involving performance testing / tuning etc…
  • Technical Debt – project’s technical debt.

If you are using an Agile project management tool (Eg: Mingle, Greenhopper etc…) it should allow you to create different card types and set workflows based on them.

The important aspect is that every bit of work which is done by a development team should be part of a card which is tracked.

All above story types should be estimated, prioritized, planned and tracked in the same way as one does with user stories. The technical stories however need not be signed off by business stakeholders. It would be of more interest to a technical stakeholder within the project team to sign off such stories.

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