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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Things to do this Easter to boost your career

Friday, 15 January 2016

How to write user stories

Recently came across a 20 page long requirements document and didn't know where to start and what to remember, specially for somebody like me who has a memory of a goldfish. I stopped using those time consuming, long and boring requirements document way back in 2007 and started use cases and then moved to user stories. They are easy to write and understand and best thing about them is "collaboration". I personally love those user story writing workshops with loads of index cards, post-its, marker and DONUTS. So how do you write user stories?
User story
Behaviour driven development - an example of BDD user story
According to Mike Cohn User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature told from the perspective of the person who desires the new capability, usually a user or customer of the system. They typically follow a simple template:
As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.
User stories are often written on index cards or sticky notes, stored in a shoe box, and arranged on walls or tables to facilitate planning and discussion. As such, they strongly shift the focus from writing about features to discussing them. In fact, these discussions are more important than whatever text is written.

Title: One line describing the story
As a [role]
I want [feature]
So that [benefit]
Acceptance Criteria: (presented as Scenarios)
Scenario 1: Title
Given [context]
And [some more context]...
When [event]
Then [outcome]
And [another outcome]...
Scenario 2: ...
Here is an example from my recent project at Toyota motors.
Product Owner
ProductOwnerScenario 2:Scenario 3:
Sales Performance Report
As a [Sales Analyst]
I want [to see parts sales figures for the current month(mtd)]
So that [I can track sales progress against monthly target]
Acceptance Criteria: (presented as Scenarios)
Scenario 1: BI User login
Given [I am logging in as a BI user]
And [some more context]...
When  [the log in successful]
Then  [I will be taken to sales performance report]
And [I will be able to select month and date or defaults to current month and date]
Hope this helps! Good luck with user story writing and don't forget to buy donuts (skinny ones for me please!).

Thursday, 21 November 2013

New to Agile?

learner-drivers-car-insurance-2In short, agile and lean are general concepts, the former basing on Agile Manifesto and the latter on Toyota Production System. Then we have Scrum or XP, built over agile, and Kanban, built over lean, which are specific methods teams can implement, like Prince2. Personally, I don't treat agile and lean movements in a very orthodox way -- they base on the same principles. So, to some point, they're overlapping. Also, you will find teams mixing methods from both houses, Scrumban (a combination of Scrum and Kanban) being probably the most common. If you wanted to position agile/lean methods somehow I'd say that:
  • Scrum is the closest to the old-school project management methods, although it doesn't really deal with formal side of project management.
  • XP focuses on engineering practices and is generally programmer-centered.
  • Kanban is often dubbed change management framework as it doesn't change the way team works on the day 1 and lets the process evolve over time.
  • As all three focuses on different things, it isn't uncommon to see them, or their parts, used jointly.
If you want to learn more I'd start with such set of materials:
  • Introduction to Scrum on Mike Cohn's site. If you want more on Scrum Mike Cohn's site is a good place to find also more advanced stuff on Scrum.
  • Once you know what Scrum is I'd strongly recommend Henrik Kniberg's and Mattias Skarin's minibook Kanban and Scrum - Making most of both which is great in terms of describing Kanban but has a lot of referrals to Scrum.
  • For more advanced stuff on Kanban I'd recommend Limited WIP Society articles (topic for my next blog).
  • Good kick start on XP can be found on Ron Jeffries' site.
In terms of books as a kick start, I'd recommend:
  • Mike Cohn's Succeeding with Agile for Scrum
  • Kent Beck's Extreme Programming Explained for XP
  • David Anderson's Kanban for Kanban
If it is too much of a hassle to read these books and digest then visit our website and we may be able to help you.