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Dec 28

Smaller user stories are better

Small, smaller, smalstIn practice, I alway run into teams that likes big stories. If they have big stories, there work is more efficient and that will give better result … so they think. But in real life what you see is that bigger user stories:

  • Are harder to estimate correctly
  • Are easy to under estimate
  • Are being tested to late
  • Are harder to keep focus on the necessary acceptance criteria
  • Etc, etc.

Also when you put only one or two big user stories in a sprint, the chance that you will fail to finish the half or whole sprint is substantial.

So what to do? Split up those big user stories! Make sure you will have a few smaller stories in your sprint instead of one or two big ones. Actually, i think you can apply the 7 plus or minus 2 rule here; put a minimum of 5 user stories in the sprint. I have seen it happen: 3 user stories of 3 point have been finished faster than 1 user story of 8 points, for real! Another advantage is that you will get much faster feedback from you customers, which you can use to improve the whole.

So how do I split up these user stories? Well, there are some predefined patterns for splitting up the user stories. These are described in the following blog posts:

Thats it for now, hope this gives you inspiration to pick up more and smaller stories in your sprint and see it work! Any feedback is welcome.

Permanent link to this article: http://agilethings.nl/smaller-user-stories-are-better/