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

Agile development User Stories v Themes, Epics and Features.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 interchangeably (at least by me). Here’s my take on what the difference is…

A user story may include several features. For instance, ‘As a user, I want to search for a job, so I can find my next career move‘ might include various features, such as simple search, advanced search, faceted navigation, sort, filter, sign up for email alerts, etc.

A user story this big would be considered an epic, since it’s a very big user story. Epics can (and ideally should) be broken down into further user stories to make them easier to handle.

Each of these features can be broken down into tasks. For instance, the advanced search feature (which could also be expressed as a user story of course) might include back-end development of the search index, front-end development of the search box, an API to find the most relevant search results, front-end development of the results page, writing test cases, executing the tests, configuring the search servers, etc.

Themes, on the other hand are just a broad way of describing an area of focus. For example, the theme of the next 2 sprints might be ‘job search’, after which it might be something else, say ‘apply for a job’, followed by ‘CV database’ for instance. Each theme would probably contain several epics or many user stories.

In terms of hierarchy, I think these aspects of the Product Backlog can be defined in as structured or as loose a way as you think is right for your project. I don’t think there need to be any hard and fast rules on this.

For anyone finding this terminology a bit confusing, I hope that helps!

Kelly.

Photo by TheBusyBrain
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

In The Zone with Marcin Zasepa

Welcome to the second in our new series, ‘in the zone’, a collection of conversations with CTO’s within the CTO Zone community. Each week we’ll be discussing the latest trends, insights gained from there experiences, and future predictions for their industry. This week we’d like to welcome Marcin Zasepa, CTO at Homegate AG in Switzerland. Every episode will be approximately 30 minutes

Read More »

In The Zone with Sasha Bilton

Welcome to the first in our new series, ‘in the zone’, a collection of conversations with CTO’s within the CTO Zone community. Each week we’ll be discussing the latest trends, insights gained from there experiences, and future predictions for their industry. This week we’d like to welcome Sasha Bilton. Every episode will be approximately 30 minutes long, and we aim

Read More »

Case Study: DAZN Data Engineering

Find out how 101 Ways helped DAZN improve their existing data warehouse as well as planning and setting the foundations of the new cloud-based data platform. Click here to download the full case study. Get in touch with a member of the 101 Ways team if you would like to discuss ways in which we can help you and your company

Read More »

Search the Blog

Agile Management Made Easy!

All About Agile

By Kelly Waters

“’Agile’ is one of the biggest buzzwords of the last decade. Agile methods often come across as rather more complicated than they really are. This book is an attempt to unravel that complexity. To simplify the concepts. This book breaks the concepts into small bite-sized pieces that are easy to understand and easy to implement and delivers the message in a friendly and conversational style. Allaboutagile.com is one of the most popular blogs about agile on the web. ”

Kelly Waters

Agile 101 is available to purchase. GAME ON!

Agile 101

Emma Hopkinson-Spark

“Whilst there are lots of ways you can vary the game depending on the teams you have and the learning outcomes you want, the basic flow of the game play is common to all.”
Emma Hopkinson-Spark

Why did we make the game?

How to play the game?

London

101 Ways Limited
41 Corsham Street
London
N1 6DR
United Kingdom

Manchester

101 Ways Limited
No.1 Spinningfields
Quay Street
Manchester
M3 3JE
United Kingdom

Amsterdam

101 Ways BV
Weesperstraat 61-105
1018 VN Amsterdam
Netherlands

Contact Us

If you would like to get in touch with one of the team at 101 Ways, then please fill out the form below or email us at contact-us@101ways.com.