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Story Cards, also known as Product Backlog Items (PBIs) are the technique used for documenting project scope, quality requirements, estimates and priority of the deliverables in an Agile/Scrum project.
Story Cards, also known as Product Backlog Items (PBIs) are the technique used for documenting project scope, quality requirements, estimates, and priority of the deliverables in an Agile/Scrum project.
When to Use Story Cards
The Product Owner uses Story Cards to define the project scope, the Scrum team uses Story Cards to estimate the effort, and the Scrum Master uses Story Cards to track schedule progress on the project.
As the Product Owner gathers inputs from stakeholders throughout the business, he or she initiates a story card for each deliverable. The deliverable could be an actual item to be created or it could be a performance characteristic within a large project deliverable.
It is through the Story Cards that project scope is identified. The project team will often create additional Story Cards that represent infrastructure or background activities that must occur in order to do the deliverable Stories. The Story Cards are sometimes deployed into activity stories for ease of estimating and control.
A critical aspect of the Stories in the Agile/Scrum approach is that the Stories will be prioritized from number one to number last – with no ties. That is often the most challenging element of creating Story Cards. That prioritization is done by the Product Owner, not the Scrum team or Scrum Master.
The diagram below shows a typical Story Card. The actual format varies based upon local practice, but it normally includes these fields.
The “Story” is the description of the deliverable. It is often written as a description of what should happen when a user takes a certain action.
The “Demo Criteria” embodies the quality control requirements for the Story. It describes the pass or fail conditions that will indicate if the story had been successfully developed.
The “Category” is used by the Product Owner to classify Stories. This can be done in several ways including categorizing by Release and categorizing by the need for the story.
The “Priority” of the Story is set by the Product Owner and can change from Sprint to Sprint.
The “Estimate” is created by a Scrum team member and is normally described in terms of the number of hours of work (or some other measure of effort). This estimate is revised daily once a story has been started and will then indicate an estimate of the remaining work.
The “Notes” section is often used by the Scrum team during planning and execution to keep track of special items associated with the Story.
Hints and Tips
- I prefer to use actual cards or paper for my Story Cards. It is easier for the entire team to see what each one says and during the Sprint it is easier for everyone to see the status. If you use a Scrum program to track the Story Cards, be certain than you project the screen on the wall of the room where the Scrum meeting takes place so everyone can see the status.
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