Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Story Splitting (Feature Decomposition)

We have added a 1 day Workshop to our course in Toronto. And will add this to courses in some other cities.  The one day is composed of 1/2 Day on Story Splitting. And 1/2 Day on Scaling.

What.  Story Splitting is always required. We always need smaller stories in the Sprint. Some experienced Teams do this regularly and quite effectively, but lots of less experienced Teams struggle with this. So, the immediate purpose of the workshop is to move them beyond the 'struggle' stage more quickly.

Value. Story Splitting is not the only factor that can assist your Team to achieve the following benefits, but it is important, and often key.
  • More reliability. When they 'commit' to 20 story points, with the smaller stories, they are more likely to hit 20 story points.
  • Faster velocity. It seems paradoxical, but by taking the effort to get to smaller stories, the Team can get more done. If they do it professionally and cleverly.  Many reasons for this. One of my favorites is: "The bad news doesn't get better with age."  Also, the Lean community explains this well.
  • Fewer and smaller failures. Sometimes a Team will not get a story completed in a Sprint, as they 'committed.'  To some degree, this is normal in innovation work. Unexpected things come up.  If we have small stories, first the likelihood of failure goes down.  Second, the degree of failure is smaller. We don't fail on 50% of the work, but rather on only 13% of the work (as an example).
  • Team Morale is better. For the reasons stated above. Sometimes the Team will not at first understand the value of small stories; and it may seem like extra work to them at first. This must be explained. But once they are over that hurdle, Team morale should go up.
  • The sense of 'traction' is better. As suggested above. Almost every day we can see a small story being completed.
See here for a fuller description of the Workshop.

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