Worth reading is an article recently posted on InfoQ, called The Current Direction of Agile. Jon gives an overview of how Lean philosophies are influencing agile methodologies, toward a tighter, sprier, lighter process. These are the lean approaches that interested me:
- Equal Sized User Stories: Rather than spend time estimating stories, force stories to be of all equal (fixed) size; then teams can confidently take on the number of stories their velocity supports without much analysis. The smaller the story, the better: larger stories have more unknowns (risks) and so are less managable.
- Naked Planning: Stop estimating, and perhaps stop planning and iterating, too! By managing a short queue of Minimum Marketable Features (MMF’s), listed in priority order and comprised of same-sized stories, the development team can simply pull stories off the list in order. When enough history is accumulated, it becomes easy to answer, "When will that be done?"
- Kanban: Toyota-developed Kanban ("visual board") is taking the Agile team's sprint task board to the next level, tracking the flow of the entire development organization in terms of release cycles, visualizing the movement of features into deployment queues. This big picture answers "Where are we?" for all to see. Here's a great cartoon model.