How Small is Small Enough

As developers, we are very good at breaking up components into sub-components - sometimes exceedingly so. When confronted with a larger than average chunk of work, we make a choice: either consider the work as indivisible to be delivered in its entirety, or break it up smaller pieces. Most of us already experience a sense of foreboding when confronted with a piece of work that is too large. Whether you are estimating in hours or in story points the question is: when breaking up work items into smaller pieces - how small is small enough? [Read More]

The Humble Story Point

I’ve had some interesting discussions lately on the management of work through user stories. A lot of teams, especially those just starting to use agile techniques, seem to have quite a bit of uncertainty around some common topics : The theory behind story points and why they are preferred over estimations in hours Why story points and velocity are self-correcting measures The sizing process and appropriate sizes for stories The problems with sizing in units of time [Read More]

Just Finished Reading (Lean Edition)

Lean Software Development : An Agile Toolkit, Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck. An excellent resource on how the lean principles from product manufacturing can be applied unto software development. A good overview of content can be found in their 2002 paper here (pdf) and the Wikipedia article on Lean. Overview Each chapter in the book describes several “thinking tools” for the 7 Lean Principles. Eliminate waste describes how to identity and remove waste in order to maximize the flow of the value stream. [Read More]