This is a concept I devised a couple of years ago, and it seems there is a new #NoEstimates audience that would like to know more about it.
A Slicing Heuristic is essentially:
An explicit policy that describes how to "slice" work Just-In-Time to help us create consistency, a shared language for work and better predictability.
The Slicing Heuristic seeks to replace deterministic estimation rituals by incorporating empirical measurement of actual cycle times for the various types of work in your software delivery lifecycle.
It is based on the hypothesis that empiricism leads to smaller cycle time duration and variation (which in business value terms means quicker time to market and better predictability) because it requires work to be sliced into clear, simple, unambiguous goals. Crucially, the heuristic also describes success criteria to ensure it is achieving the level of predictability we require.
Its application is most effective when used for all levels of work, but can certainly be used for individual work types. For example, a User Story heuristic can be an extremely effective way of creating smaller, simpler work increments, allowing teams to provide empirical forecasts without the need for estimating how long individual stories will take. However, if you are able to incorporate this concept from the portfolio level down, the idea is that you define each work type (e.g. Program, Project, Feature, User Story, etc.) along with a Slicing Heuristic, which forms part of that work type’s Definition of Ready.