User Stories, Themes, and Epics are often represented by sticky notes

Themes versus Epics in 2 Minutes

The difference between themes and epics are a common sticking point for many teams first diving in to user stories. Not only can descriptions of both topics often be vague, but the difference is often muddled further by many project management tools that use the two terms interchangeably. However, the difference doesn’t have to be so hard.

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railroad spike

Stop Estimating Spikes!

The most common question that teams face when first working with spikes is whether or not to estimate these stories. Luckily the answer is simple…don’t.

The whole point of spikes is to help us learn more about stories that we don’t yet know enough about to estimate well. This very unknown nature means that estimating the spike itself would be fruitless. Instead, our goal is to learn enough during the spike that we can estimate the associated story in an upcoming sprint.

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Paper Dolls

Turning Your Standups on Their Head

The daily standup is one of the most powerful tools in the scrum toolbox, so powerful in fact that when teams move beyond scrum they often still retain the standup as one of their core practices. But, there’s still room for improvement.

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timestamp-sticky

Meet the Timestamp Sticky

It’s no secret that teams who track their progress using physical tools rather than electronic have have a much higher rate of success, but how do you handle of the fear of sticky notes falling off the wall?

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Blue Sticky on White

Stories versus Themes versus Epics

When a new team is just beginning to adopt Scrum the difference between stories, themes, and epics always seem to be a source of some confusion. In particular, where stories end and epics begin tends to be a particular sticking point. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each artifact to get a better understanding of the subtle differences between them so we can better communicate to our teams when each is appropriate for the work at hand.

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dartboard_three_darts_bw

Using Hit Rate to Gauge Success

Velocity usually isn’t the best measure of a team’s progress. Instead, we often find accuracy to be a better indicator of a team’s long term success. Since many teams still find value in having a metric with which they can plot their success, why not use one that measures how accurate they’re becoming?

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velocity

Velocity Is Not the Goal

Teams that post consistently high velocities are often treated as valuable to the organization. However, those teams that tend to be more erratic…posting a high velocity one sprint then falling off dramatically the next…may not be as valuable as they may first appear.

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