Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mike Cohn's "Planning and Tracking on Agile Projects"

Tuesday last week I attended Mike Cohn's "Planning and Tracking on Agile Projects" presentation at the BayXP meeting (at Google).

I enjoyed it very much. Mike Cohn is an excellent speaker with plenty of industry experience and was able to make a two hour presentation (that started at 7:00 PM) fun.

His slides for this and other presentations at http://mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations.

Here's some bullets summarizing what I took away:
  • story points are for estimating stories in a product backlog
    • they are numerically relevant, but intentionally “unitless”
    • 3 key advantages (see page 14 of the slides):
      1. forces relative estimating
      2. focuses estimation of size (not duration)
      3. puts estimates in unites that can be added together
        • (he says “time-based estimates are not additive”)
  • sprint backlog tasks are estimated in hours
  • velocity (calculated across sprints) is calculated in story points
    • do not succumb to the temptation to use the task-hours from a sprint, because story points are quick estimates, and task-hours are much more carefully prepared
  • planning poker is fun and effective
    • it has been shown empirically to work (see pages 19-24)
  • release planning can be easy
    • (if one has a product backlog with estimates in story points, and has some data on past velocity)
I have both of his books:

Agile Estimating and Planning User Stories Applied

I haven't made time to read Agile Estimating and Planning yet, but User Stories Applied For Agile Software Development came in handy for a project at work.

You may also want to check out www.planningpoker.com.

1 comment:

yacitus said...

Mike Cohn provides plenty more detail (worth reading) in his blog post: "Sprint and release planning should be in different units"