How Relative Story Sizing Won Me Over

RJ Dela-Cruz Agile, Consulting, Dev Methodologies, Problem Solving Leave a Comment

Anyone who practices agile methodologies such as scrum is going to be very familiar with the practice of story pointing user stories (also known as poker planning). The good ole’ fashion 4, 8, 13, etc. Fibonacci sequences we assign to user stories of a sprint.

If you’re not familiar, it’s where the team gathers together to discuss the user stories to bring into a coming sprint and assigning each a number called story points. These story points are estimates that represent the level of difficulty and time it is expected to take to complete the story.

The team often will have discussions on whether a story is a particular story point number and argue their point of view until the team comes to an agreement to what story point it should be. I’ve done this type of work estimation for a long time that it’s natural for me… until we did something a bit different on a scrum team that I was a part of.

In this blog, we discuss a different way to assign poker points to user stories that could be beneficial to your scrum team – relative story sizing.

user story mapping

Every Agile Software Project Needs a User Story Map

Rusty Divine Agile, Microservices Leave a Comment

In this blog, I share an example of a real-world, agile enterprise modernization project that benefited from a User Story Map.

I’m the team lead for a project to convert a business solution from COBOL to a .NET microservices architecture. Other than some interesting challenges with designing a robust microservices solution, the business logic is very straightforward – input files are processed, databases queried, output files are produced and dropped in a folder, and our goal is to match the output produced by the COBOL solution perfectly.

Yet, we lost our way fairly early on in the project because we had a typical prioritized backlog. Unfortunately, even on a straightforward, well-defined project with an engaged team, we still managed to veer off course.

Our project manager started asking questions about where we were in the project and where we were going. I struggled to answer those questions because I couldn’t make sense of all that was in our backlog. It was around this time that I took a spreadsheet and created our first User Story Map….