How Detailed Should Tasks Be in a User Story?

This is a guest blog post by Joe Woods from VersionOne... When I first started using agile project management, my stories didn’t have enough detail. In my office we use Agile to manage our marketing department with 2 week iterations. Even from the beginning, I could see the value of bite size goals that you could accomplish in a short time span. Agile project management is effective in managing...

Independent Interpretation

Many organizations segregate their programmers and testers in order to achieve independent validation of requirements.  If the system is tested according to an independent interpretation of the requirements than used for implementation, then errors in those interpretations...

A Sample Format for a Spreadsheet-Based Product Backlog

I want to show a real easy way to put user stories in a spreadsheet-based product backlog. I wrote this after seeing someone tweet a screen capture of a product backlog I made 9 years ago and thought to myself, “Yikes, that’s out of date for how I do it today…” As...

Agile User Stories, Themes, Epics, Features – What’s The Difference?

A recent comment on one of my blog posts asked about the difference between agile user stories, themes, epics, and features, and about the relationship, or hierarchy, between these terms? Admittedly it is a bit confusing, as these phrases are often used quite...

Themes in Agile Software Development

Agile software development teams often use User Stories as a simple and concise way to express user requirements. Ideally these User Stories are broken down as small as possible, whilst also trying to minimise dependencies. Naturally, though, as you break User...

User Stories versus Use Cases

Scott Sehlhorst from Tyner Blain is one of my favourite bloggers. He's written an excellent post about User Stories versus Use Cases. When I first used Use Cases, I loved them... I loved the fact they gave such a clear description of a feature, and the fact...

Burndown User Stories, Rather Than Tasks

I was very interested to read this blog post from Ron Jeffries about burning down user stories rather than tasks. Excuse the pun, but this is a hot topic for me at the moment :-) If it's possible to avoid the time spent in Sprint Planning, breaking user stories...

Role Storm

Joe Ocampo ('AgileJoe') has recently written about a concept he calls 'Role Storming'... I'm not sure I like the name - sounds a bit buzzwordy - but I think the concept is really great! When you first start a project, you need to build out the initial Product...

Putting the *Analyst* into Test Analyst

For years, I've given Software Testers in my teams the official job title of Test Analyst, or something along those lines. Yet (informally) I've always referred to them as Testers. Only in more recent years - and especially since adopting Agile Software Development...

Writing Good User Stories

Over the last few weeks, I've written alot about writing good User Stories - you can see them all here: User Stories. User Stories are a simple way of capturing user requirements throughout a project - an alternative to writing lengthy requirements specifications...

User Stories Should Be *Testable*

The *T* in the the 'Invest' acronym (a way to remember and assess what makes a good User Story) stands for Testable. The most common forms of User Story that are not testable are big User Stories, known as Epics, or non-functional User Stories... An Epic can...

User Stories Should Be *Small*

User Stories should be small. This is what the *S* stands for in the the 'Invest' acronym; a way to remember and assess what makes a good User Story. Not too small. But certainly not too big. So what is the right size for a good User Story? First of all, let's...

User Stories Should Be *Estimatable*

User Stories should be possible to Estimate. If you follow the other aspects of the 'Invest' acronym, chances are they will be. The *E* in 'Invest' stands for Estimatable; another useful way to measure whether a User Story is good or not. So what are the potential...


There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

CONTACT US

To explore how we can help you, please get in touch