order to automate adequate regression tests. Our original story estimates were way too low, and it took three iterations to complete the stories. We decided that next time we have a theme of this complexity, with so many unknowns, we will revisit the stories more often and keep breaking them into smaller increments as we learn more, rather than carrying the same story cards from iteration to iteration.
Smoothing the Ride
Our business managers want story and theme (or epic) estimates to help them plan just enough ahead. Though we no longer spend time estimating stories that aren’t planned for the immediate future, I don’t see us getting away from estimating entirely. We continually get better at sizing user stories, but they will always just be estimates!
We’ve been successful by applying agile values and principles. If a project has a hard deadline, we know we have to start as early as possible and work on the riskiest stories first. We accept that unexpected stuff will happen. We learn from it and keep improving. We spend time to manage our technical debt so it won’t drag down our ability to deliver in a timely manner. We’re careful to avoid overcommitting, so that we can work at a sustainable pace and continue to meet business expectations.
We don’t ever get bored in supporting our business with valuable software, but we don’t need any adrenaline rushes either. The estimation roller coaster can be scary, but, over time, we can apply incremental and iterative agile development to smooth out the bumps and curves.