Articles

Tape measure Estimation: What It Takes to Deliver Consumable Value in Agile Projects

Releasing in small batches is a good way to achieve quick feedback in your sprints, but these pieces don't have all the features users need. Providing consumable value is turning those small bites into a meal, and it’s worthwhile to estimate what it will take to deliver that—asking, “What consumable value do we expect to achieve, what duration and cost should we plan for, and how likely is it that the plan will succeed?”

Andy Berner's picture Andy Berner
money and a clock The Effect of Time on Value in Your Agile Projects

Using effort estimates as the only criteria for deciding whether work is undertaken could be leaving money on the table. Considering value—in particular, the effect of time on value, as in whether there is a cost of delay—makes for more intelligent conversations and better decisions.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
shark Estimating Business Value in the Shark Tank

You can use analytical methods to assign business value to a user story, of course, but another way is simple estimation. Allan Kelly describes an estimation exercise that combines the Scrum tool of planning poker with a TV show format to add some fun. You end up with enlightening conversation and revealed requirements.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
pots of grass Stop Re-estimating Your Stories for Every Iteration

Many agile practitioners recommend re-estimating stories at the beginning of each iteration to increase accuracy. Adrian Wible, however, argues that re-estimating stories within an iteration planning meeting actually distorts results and decreases predictability. See if you need to rethink your planning procedures.

Adrian Wible's picture Adrian Wible
Burndown chart Help Your Team Understand Its Iteration Burndown

A good key indicator for measuring how well your agile team is performing is the burndown chart. It’s a simple concept—as time passes, the amount of work to do decreases. Of course, there will be days when progress is not as expected or tasks end up larger than originally estimated. A burndown can help your team reset and keep stakeholders in the loop.

Dave Browett's picture Dave Browett
Estimating Effort Better User Story Points versus Man-Hours: Estimating Effort Better

Effort estimation is a major challenge for all the stakeholders of a project. Most people generally underestimate situations that may block progress and consider only the best-case scenario for a project. Your choice of estimation method may not be helping, though. Which would be better for your team: estimating by man-hours or by user story points?

Nitish Tiwari's picture Nitish Tiwari
Team Velocity Help Your Team Understand Its Velocity

Teams should be working toward a target velocity that is based on historical evidence. There may be times when this figure needs to be adjusted, but teams that understand their velocity know that it is a good indicator of what they are capable of achieving in a sustainable way, and this will increase confidence for the teams and stakeholders.

Dave Browett's picture Dave Browett
No Estimates Hashtag The Case for #NoEstimates

The #NoEstimates movement isn't really about no estimates. It’s about working in a sufficiently agile way that you don’t need estimates. When you break down your work into smaller chunks, you provide more value by delivering working product than you do by estimating. What would it take for you to work that way?

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Estimates Provide Value How Do Your Estimates Provide Value?

If you are agile, you might spend some time estimating. If you’re using Scrum, you estimate what you can do in an iteration so you can meet your “commitment.” But estimation is a problem for many agile projects. The larger the effort, the more difficult it is to estimate. You can’t depend on ideal days. Do your estimates provide value? To whom?

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Understanding Team Behavior Planning Feature Velocity by Understanding Team Behavior

When planning releases, it’s important to understand where team effort is being spent. By using high and low watermarks, a project manager can determine a suitable approach to take when setting expectations and determining whether it is necessary to alter team behavior to focus more on getting those features into a release.

Dave Browett's picture Dave Browett

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