Features, Epics and Themes

I like the thinking that’s gone into this white paper and the associated presentation from Dean Leffingwell. It pulls together all the artifacts we deal with in the agile world, from stories and tasks right through to epics and themes, and pulls it all together into a consistent model.

Some intial thoughts: Some of the deep detail may go too far. For example my reading of the model is that stories are always subordinate to a higher level feature, and similarly features are always part of a release. For the perspective of a team working on a product that has matured somewhat, we find ourselves working on a mix of both large features and small enhancements to existing functionality. Should we consider those small enhancements as features in their own right in this model, or create artificial features to encapsulate them ? Neither I think, the small enhancements exist as stories in their own right, without an encapsulating feature.

I find it interesting to compare this model with that advocated in the Open Agile process. This also extends the concept of a backlog item beyond a mere story, but the extension there encompasses Quality Items (bugs), Obstacles (impediments) and Calendar Items. Again I find this relevant to my own situation where working with a relatively mature product entails more than just dealing with new functionality neatly boxed as user stories.

I look forward to further developments towards a ubiquitous language (if not a ubiquitous model) suitable for all flavours of Agile.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 10:30 pm and is filed under Coding. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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