Have you been hampered by the challenge of explaining how to do story point estimation to people who have for years done estimation using number of hours or man-days? Do you find it difficult to understand story point estimation and release planning in story points? Learn to make flowers with me, and I will teach you story point estimation and release planning!
I devised this game as an Agile trainer in October 2013. As a trainer, I used to give theory sessions about Agile planning and estimation. But theory sessions alone always left people with lot of questions and gaps in their understanding. So I devised this game to be integrated within my Agile planning and estimation training.
Equipment needed per team:
2 pieces of chart paper
About 25 pieces of A4-size (8.5" x 11") paper
How to play: The goal of the game is to educate everyone on Agile planning using story points.
There are two key concepts to know:
6 levels of planning in Agile (strategic, portfolio, product, release, iteration, and daily)
5 levels of requirements (theme, epic, feature, story, and task)
I give the theme of the day: beautifying this building
This theme would have many epics: decorating the interior, landscaping the exterior, etc.
We will pick decorating the interior for today's activity and describe a feature under that as "Decorating our conference room with flower garlands."
The team now has to do:
The goal of the release: 1 garland of 16 flowers, each flower being made of 6 florets
The steps for release planning are as follows:
Step 1: Create our product backlog
"Decorating our conference room" backlog:
Step 2: Estimate the product backlog
Make 96 florets
Bundle 6 florets into 1 flower each
Make 16 such flowers
String them together to make 1 garland
For this, I give a demo of making 1 flower, and the members learn. Now the team estimates the product backlog using floret points.
Step 3: Find the team velocity
Make 96 florets => 96 floret points
Bundle 6 florets into 1 flower each => 3 floret points
Make 16 such flowers => 16*3 = 48 floret points
String them together to make 1 garland => 5 floret points
For this, we do 1 sprint, which includes:
1 minute of planning
3 minutes of execution
1 minute of review and retrospection
At the end of the sprint, the team has its velocity.
Step 4: Derive sprints
For this, the team divides total floret points by velocity of the team = number of sprints for this release.
To explain the flexibility of story point estimation, we can introduce a new requirement of another kind of flower. The team has to incorporate this into the release, again using floret points.
I have demonstrated this game more than 10 times already, reaching a total of more than 200 people. Each time, we end the class with a garland of flowers and a good understanding of story point estimation and release planning!