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Ensure Sprint Success with Stories that are Ready

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"Never pull anything into a sprint that is not ready, and never let anything out of a sprint that is not done."

Creating a comprehensive "Definition of Done (DoD)" is a widely accepted Agile practice that fosters a culture of accountability, minimizes rework, and reduces team conflict. However, when a team first establishes a DoD, things often get worse before they get better. Why? Because the team no longer gets credit for incomplete work. Committed stories are started but not finished, multiple stories are carried over to the next sprint, and the team's velocity decreases. So what can be done to overcome this common problem?

An important tool to ensuring that stories are completed is an unambiguous Definition of Ready (DoR). Many Scrum-team issues are rooted in misunderstood and poorly prepared stories. In fact, I believe that stories that are NOT ready, but have been COMMITTED to a Sprint, are the root of all Scrum evil. Stories that are "ready" need to be clear, concise, and actionable.

In this hands-on presentation, I will demonstrate the methods that I have used with multiple teams to create stories that are truly ready for a Sprint, including:

• Creating a product vision to increase a shared understanding between customers, the product team, and the development team

• Building a Story Map to visualize the backlog, find missing stories, and understand customer journeys

• Collaborating on story writing using my three-touch grooming technique (speed grooming, sprint grooming, and sprint planning)

• Writing acceptance tests to decompose stories and uncover hidden questions

• Establishing a team-level "Definition of Ready (DoR)"

I hope that all participants leave this session understanding the importance of preparing stories that are “ready”. I also hope to provide practical and realistic techniques that can be applied immediately on any team that wants better stories and greater Sprint success.

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Ensure Sprint Success with Stories that are Ready

  1. 1. SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 Ensure Sprint Success with Stories that are READY Steven Granese Agile Coach & Consultant @sgranese Steven.Granese@tribridge.com www.sgranese.com
  2. 2. Thank yous!
  3. 3. Why Agile Transformations Fail 1.Poor Structure 2.Wrong Mindset 3.Lack of Clarity about Work
  4. 4. My Core Scrum Belief Stories that are NOT ready, but have been COMMITTED to a Sprint, are the root of all Scrum evil.
  5. 5. Healthy Backlogs Have Stories that are Ready SEARCH BY AIRPORT CHOOSE ONE WAY OPT. VIEW ASSIGNED SEAT VIEW FLIGHT DETAILS ENTER CONTACT INFO PURCHASE W/ VISA DISPLAY CONFIRM. NUMBER
  6. 6. Not Ready  SEARCH FOR FLIGHT STORY: As a user, I want to search for flights ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA: • Dropdown menu with list of cities • Should be easy to use (like Orbitz!) TEST CASES: TASKS: SIZE: 20 ACCOUNTABILITY CONFLICTREWORK
  7. 7. Ready!!! SEARCH FOR FLIGHT BY CITY STORY: As a business flyer, I want to search for flights from my local airport so that I can find available flights. ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA: • Search by city • Display warning if no results exist • Display logo of each airline • Sort flights by date TEST CASES: • Search with full city name • No Flights Exist (negative) TASKS: • Mockup UI (2h) •Search form (4h) •Results screen (8h) • Automate UI test (2h) SIZE: 3 TEST CASE: Search with Full City Name Step  Expected Result 1) Type in name of city (Tampa) City name displayed in text box 2) Select start and end date Start and end date displayed 3) Click search button Results page loads with list of flights
  8. 8. Theme for Tonight Don’t WRITE Stories. CULTIVATE Stories.
  9. 9. thinking visioning grooming SHARED UNDERSTANDING GETTING READY 3-touchstory mapping EFFECTIVENESS MINDSET team of teams Roadmap to a Healthy Backlog STRATEGIC TACTICAL RETROSPECTIVE RETROSPECTIVE RETROSPECTIVE
  10. 10. thinking visioning grooming THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVENESS MINDSET thinking
  11. 11. thinking visioning grooming Why Blockbuster Didn’t Have to Fail Massively Efficient Operations Forbes.com “The irony is that Blockbuster failed BECAUSE its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine.”
  12. 12. thinking visioning grooming Agile in the “Real World” Adapt & Iterate “You think you have a plan, but you need to be more AGILE because things are way more complex.” EFFICIENT, wired processes don’t work; Disorienting … Frameworks… Learn everyday
  13. 13. thinking visioning grooming Teams Need Context to be Empowered EFFECTIVENESS over EFFICIENCY EMPOWERED TEAMS SHARED CONSCIOUSNESS
  14. 14. thinking visioning grooming Principle #1 Start Simple and focus on being EFFECTIVE! Then worry about efficiency.
  15. 15. thinking visioning grooming Thinking Retrospective  What did we learn? Effectiveness before Efficiency Team of Teams Empowered Teams Agile Manifesto Shared Consciousness Jon Stewart Blockbuster/Netflix
  16. 16. thinking visioning grooming APPLYING AN EFFECTIVENESS MINDSET TO CREATE A SHARED UNDERSTANDING visioning
  17. 17. thinking visioning grooming Story Writing •Themes •Features •Stories •Users Release Planning •Product Backlog •Story Point Estimates •Velocity Grooming •Acceptance Criteria •Acceptance Tests •Decomposition Sprint Planning •Tasks (Hours) •Burndown Charts •Sprint Goals Agile Planning 101 TIME
  18. 18. thinking visioning grooming Requirements Docs vs User Stories 1. Users Perspective 2. Customers Participate 3. Effective 1. Systems Perspective 2. Customers Avoid 3. Efficient
  19. 19. thinking visioning grooming Product Backlog vs Story Map SEARCH BY AIRPORT CHOOSE ONE WAY OPT. VIEW ASSIGNED SEAT 1. Promotes Shared Understanding 2. Great for finding Hidden Stories 3. Effective 1. Promotes Priority Conversations 2. Great for Release Planning 3. Efficient
  20. 20. thinking visioning grooming Three Reasons to Love Story Maps 1. Document customer conversations as they happen 2. Reduces risk of the single keeper of info 3. Universal Mental Model / Shared Understanding
  21. 21. Find Flights Modify Itinerary Find Available Flights Select Flight Verify Correct Flight Update Account Purchase Ticket Confirm Purchase Change Flight Time Search by Airport Search by Date & Time Search by Price Search for Non-Stop Choose One Way Opt. View Assigned Seat Change Seat View Flight Details Enter Contact Info Change Email Purchase w/ Visa Display Confirm. Number Find Nearby Flights Select New Flight Select Multi-City Opt. Upgrade Seat Share w/ Friend Add Frequent Flier No. Email Confirm. Number Display Flight Map Change Password Print Confirm. No. Purchase Tickets Choose Round Trip Opt. Select Seat Purchase w/ AmEx Store Credit Card Receive Alert Cancel Flight Cancel Single Flight Cancel All Flights Business Families Vacations Discount Themes Features Epics/ Stories Users
  22. 22. Epics/ Stories Find Flights Modify Itinerary Find Available Flights Select Flight Verify Correct Flight Update Account Purchase Ticket Confirm Purchase Change Flight Time Search by Airport Search by Date & Time Search by Price Search for Non-Stop Choose One Way Opt. View Assigned Seat Change Seat View Flight Details Enter Contact Info Change Email Purchase w/ Visa Display Confirm. Number Find Nearby Flights Select New Flight Select Multi-City Opt. Upgrade Seat Share w/ Friend Add Frequent Flier No. Email Confirm. Number Display Flight Map Change Password Print Confirm. No. Purchase Tickets Choose Round Trip Opt. Select Seat Purchase w/ AmEx Store Credit Card Receive Alert Cancel Flight Cancel Single Flight Cancel All Flights Business Families Vacations Discount Themes Features Users Journeys
  23. 23. Find Flights Modify Itinerary Find Available Flights Select Flight Verify Correct Flight Update Account Purchase Ticket Confirm Purchase Change Flight Time Search by Airport Search by Date & Time Search by Price Search for Non-Stop Choose One Way Opt. View Assigned Seat Change Seat View Flight Details Enter Contact Info Change Email Purchase w/ Visa Display Confirm. Number Find Nearby Flights Select New Flight Select Multi-City Opt. Upgrade Seat Share w/ Friend Add Frequent Flier No. Email Confirm. Number Display Flight Map Change Password Print Confirm. No. Purchase Tickets Choose Round Trip Opt. Select Seat Purchase w/ AmEx Store Credit Card Receive Alert Cancel Flight Cancel Single Flight Cancel All Flights Business Families Vacations Discount Themes Features Users Epics/ Stories RELEASE 1 As a business flier, I want to search by date and time so that I can find available flights.
  24. 24. Come Back in Two Weeks! User Story Mapping Workshop On Speed Thursday, October 8, 2015 KForce This user story mapping workshop has been adapted from the September Tampa Bay ScrumMaster Guild meetup. This is a hands on workshop where we will break into teams and guide everyone along each step of the process. We will discuss different methods but then show you one. You will create a story mapping on the walls and layout your user stories with priorities and business values to then determine your first Release. Get here on time as we will be moving quickly to squeeze it all in, in the allocated time. Fred Mastropasqua Sarah Urriste 6:30 PM
  25. 25. thinking visioning grooming Principle #2 … BECAUSE IT’S THE DISCUSSION THAT MATTERS. The team cultivates user stories TOGETHER...
  26. 26. thinking visioning grooming Visioning Retrospective  What did we learn? Story Mapping Agile Planning Shared Understanding Team participation User Journeys “Talk and Doc”
  27. 27. thinking visioning grooming FOLLOWING A METHODICAL PROCESS TO CLARIFY PROBLEMS THAT NEED SOLVING grooming
  28. 28. thinking visioning grooming Start Your Journey “By the Book” “following” “breaking away” “mastery”
  29. 29. thinking visioning grooming Grooming Rules of Engagement Unambiguous criteria that defines completion of each step “Just Have To…”
  30. 30. thinking visioning grooming Overview – The Three Touch Process SPEED GROOMING SPRINT GROOMING SPRINT PLANNING The team “touches” each story three times! (hint – not efficient!)
  31. 31. thinking visioning grooming Speed Bump #1 - Speed Grooming WHAT? • Discuss each story for 3 to 5 minutes • Provide quick estimate WHEN? • Weekly PURPOSE? • Help PO add to backlog • Identify Learning Spikes
  32. 32. thinking visioning grooming Speed Bump #2 – Sprint Grooming WHAT? • Deeper discussion of stories for upcoming sprint WHEN? • At least one week before Sprint Planning PURPOSE? • Identify Testing Criteria • Decompose stories
  33. 33. thinking visioning grooming Speed Bump #3 – Sprint Planning WHAT? • Detailed planning meeting for current sprint WHEN? • Start of the sprint PURPOSE? • Plan realistic capacity, goals and expectations for sprint
  34. 34. thinking visioning grooming Group Exercise - Volunteers? 1. One Product Owner • Understands the stories 2. One ScrumMaster • Ensures grooming criteria is met 3. One Developer 4. One QA Tester 5. One Business Analyst 6. One UI/UX Designer 7. One SME (buying airline tickets)
  35. 35. thinking visioning grooming Step 1: Identify Stories 1. PO selects three stories from map 2. Write title and full story format 3. Add stickies to Inbox
  36. 36. thinking visioning grooming Step 2: Speed Grooming 1. PO selects one story 2. Team discusses each story for 3 minutes 3. Capture Acceptance Criteria 4. Play Planning Poker for initial estimate 5. Move & Prioritize sticky
  37. 37. thinking visioning grooming Verify Speed Grooming Criteria For each story… • Story Point Estimate • At least one acceptance criteria • Prioritized on backlog
  38. 38. thinking visioning grooming Step 3: Sprint Grooming 1. Review story format 2. Identify two “happy path” and one negative acceptance tests 3. Create smaller stories from acceptance tests 4. Write initial test case 5. Re-estimate with P.P. 6. Identify SME
  39. 39. thinking visioning grooming Verify Sprint Grooming Criteria For each story… • Full user story format • Completed “happy path” acceptance test • Identified at least one negative acceptance test • Story Size less than 3 • Identified SME
  40. 40. thinking visioning grooming Step 4: Sprint Planning 1. Review story details 2. Feedback from SME 3. Identify tasks with hours 4. Commitment from the team!
  41. 41. thinking visioning grooming Verify Sprint Planning Criteria For each story… • Tasks with hours • Feedback from SME • Team commits to completing story this sprint?
  42. 42. thinking visioning grooming Visualize Your Process READY IN PROGRESS DONE Start with a Simple Kanban Board Add Columns on the LEFT
  43. 43. thinking visioning grooming Visualize Your Process INBOX BACKLOG PLANNING READY IN PROGRESS DONE SPEEDGROOMING SPRINTGROOMING SPRINTPLANNING Start EACH STORY in the Inbox SEARCH BY AIRPORT CHOOSE ONE WAY OPT. VIEW ASSIGNED SEAT Slowly CULTIVATE stories to “Ready”
  44. 44. thinking visioning grooming Create Initial Definition of Ready speed grooming criteria sprint grooming criteria sprint planning criteria = Definition of Ready + + Definition of Ready 1. Size less than 3 2. “As a user…” format 3. Completed Happy Path Acceptance Test Case 4. Title Identified for Negative Test Cases 5. Feedback from SME (if not PO) 6. Tasks with Hours 7. Team Commitment
  45. 45. thinking visioning grooming Inspect and Adapt Your DoR Make Your DoR Visible Evaluate Continuously
  46. 46. thinking visioning grooming Principle #3 The Sprint is for… THE PROBLEM SOLVING PROBLEMS The purpose of “Getting Ready” is to achieve a shared understanding of…
  47. 47. thinking visioning grooming Grooming Retrospective  What did we learn? Sprint Grooming Definition of Ready Sprint Planning Get clarity of the problem Estimate Tasks with Hours Speed Grooming Shu-Ha-Ri
  48. 48. Q&A Ensure Sprint Success with Stories that are READY Steven Granese Agile Coach & Consultant @sgranese Steven.Granese@tribridge.com www.sgranese.com

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