5 ways to complete a user story faster

Posted on January 28th, 2014 in Agile, Kanban, Scrum by siddharta || 2 Comments

When teams start doing agile, one of the first impediments they usually run into is the inability to complete stories quickly. In Scrum that can result in stories spilling over sprint boundaries, whereas in Kanban in results in really long cycle times.

Do you have this problem?

Here are five ways to complete user stories faster

  • Have smaller user stories: When you have smaller stories, developers finish stories earlier and testers can start testing them early. This way, testers dont get a big story to test later on. So, think hard about whether the stories can be further decomposed into smaller stories.
  • Multiple developers work on the same user story: Don’t assume that only one person can work on a story. Look at your tasks and see if different developers can work on different tasks of the same story, so that it will be completed earlier. Also, dont assume that only a single person should work on a task. Sometimes it is helpful to pair multiple team members together to work on a single task.
  • Automate some functional tests: When developers work on the development, testers can write automated functional test scripts during that time. Once development is complete, the actual testing time is reduced because you can just run the automated tests instead of manually executing each test case. As a bonus, over time you the improve the automated regression suite.
  • Multi-skilling: Testers helping with simple coding tasks, and developers helping with test case execution are two ways multi-skilled teams work better. See how you can bring this capability in your teams.
  • Co-located teams: You will be surprised how much time can be lost in communication between team members who are not co-located. Emails going back and forth over a period of two or three days is a big waste of time. By seating the developers and testers next to each other, a lot of wasted communication time is saved, and more can be completed.

Not all the above approaches are suitable for every team or every situation. The team needs to look at all available options and decide which is the best way for them.

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2 Responses to “5 ways to complete a user story faster”

  1. Shayn Baron Says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Another way to speed up the process is making sure everyone on the team understands how to write detailed defect descriptions. Much time is lost in deciphering jumbled data.

    It’s also important to recognize how many awesome tools are available to keep remote teammates connected. If you aren’t using a remote collaboration tool, you’re definitely wasting too much time.

    Also, eliminating email should be a priority. This is one of the many problems we solve at Crocagile. Bringing your team together in one place no matter where they are is paramount to productivity.

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