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Breaking down your work

How do you break down requirements from Enterprise Initiative to team level tasks?

Key concepts

  • Break down the work as it flows from strategy to implementation
  • Only “just enough” detail to unlock flexibility and minimise waste
  • Focus on conversation not comprehensive detail
  • Describe the functionality from the users perspective
  • Prioritise your work fortnightly
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Initiatives

Initiatives are large pieces of work typically tied to a business case.

A good initiatives should meet the “FUN BITES” acronym

Funded - tied to an approved business case

Understandable - the intent of the initiative should be clear to all

Negotiable - the why is captured. The how is decided at a story level

Beneficial - clearly defined customer value or business benefits

Independent - no conceptual overlap with other initiatives

Testable - a defined measure of success and a path to verify the result

Estimable - enough detail to support an aligned business case

Substantial - the size of work is expected to take 1-3 months, not weeks or days.

If your initiative doesn’t meet this criteria it may be an Epic, or needs an Agile Inception to answer these questions.

Epics

Epics are a way to organise user stories in a hierarchical way. They are increments of value larger than a single team can deliver in a two week sprint.

An initiative should be broken down into a number of well defined epics. The epics should contain just enough detail for an initial backlog to be estimated, and a release roadmap planned.

Stories

User stories are the primary medium for users and developers to communicate and work together.

They should meet the INVEST criteria.

Independent - no conceptual overlap with other initiatives.

Negotiable- the essence is captured, but not in a contract.

Valuable - there is clearly defined customer value.

Estimable - enough detail to support a business case.

Small the size of work is expected to take 1-2 days.

Testable - a defined measure of success and verification.

Stories can be also be aligned to technical tasks, or grouped into features.