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Archive for the tag “user stories”

Set Achievable Goals

In almost every agile training or consulting sooner or later we talk about slicing user stories. Over the years I had many interesting discussions and I hope I could help my clients to find their way. But I always had a feeling that I am missing something. That feeling guided me until last autumn when I changed the way how I track my daily steps and learned a lesson myself.

2019 I set a target to improve my physical condition. I bought step tracker, I rolled in into fitness class and … nothing happened! yeah… steps I had to do myself and that is where I failed. My fitness tracker as daily target set 10 000 steps. Some days I achieved that target, but mostly my week overview looked like this:

November 2019 I had an idea to try out with less. To set the bar lower. I decided to set the target to 8000 steps per day. That was good decision and it changed everything! I achieved the day target 6-7 days/ week, to compare 2-3 days/week before.

I kept observing this for few weeks to be sure it is not some kind of coincidence (I had one or two good weeks with 10 000 as well). Of course it is just a target, I do not stop if I achieve 8000 steps. By setting bar lower it helped me to overcome low activity days and motivated to get up from a sofa and walk around the block. It is SO simple! In days when I got only 5500 I will get up if my target is 8000, but if it is 10000 I give up and even do not try. So at the end I move more (my goal for the year) and in total I achieve more, even if the day target is lower!

That is the secret behind thin user stories and committed story points per sprint:

Set achievable goals!

Dare To Question!

More then month ago together with Lisa Crispin we run a workshop “Questioning requirements: improving quality for everyone”. The reason why we came up with this workshop, was to teach and to empower people to question requirements. As a tester I know how important is to question statements, ideas, requirements, designs etc. As trainer I know that with a lot of confidence you can run for presidency.

This is the story how we did that (without particular details in case you want to take the workshop in some other event ;) ).

Setting up

We had some challenges: we did not know how many people will come to our workshop and our time block was less than 2 hours. We took those restrictions and created a workshop, which we could easily scale. At the SwanseaCon we had around 32 participants, which we divided into 6 teams. Each team had a particular context to role play in a simulation. We emphasised that we wanted people to experiment and have fun. We tried to build safe space to learn and to try new things. We presented several tools that participants were invited to use to explore stories and to structure conversations with stakeholders (you can download them here). They were also free to use any other tool or framework they prefer.

simulation

We explained that we as “stakeholders” wanted to create an app and gave each group a list of desired features. In our background story we used words like “deep analysis” and “market research”. User stories were written in ambiguous way with aim to provoke the need to ask questions. The task was to create a release plan, creating stories for the features. Especially noting what feature they would like to start with.

how it went

All groups were extremely motivated, except one. There were lively discussions within the table groups and it was interesting to observe team dynamics. Especially interesting was to see that the group which struggled the most – none of them left the table or whole workshop. They were struggling together till the end. Another interesting thing – we as stakeholders got not so many questions as we expected to get. Just like in companies, our fictional teams were so busy working that they forgot that stakeholders are there in the room… We tried to interact with the teams, but nobody wanted our help and it looked more like we are disturbing them.

After simulation was accomplished, each team presented their release plan. or the process they come up with. After that we started debrief and our attendees exceeded our expectations when they started to reflect on their working experience in their fictional team and usage of tools we presented. It was great atmosphere in the room and we all learned from each other.

I think we managed to create a good workshop and would like to do it again at future conferences or other events.

Some things what workshop attendees learned.

Happy creators

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