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Story Kick-off


Story Kick-off: Why on earth would we need one of these? Well think about it for a while, you have a project kick-off, an iteration kick-off. Any significant piece of work has a kick-off before work start, and for a very good reason. We need to make sure that there is a common understanding on what it is we are going to do, what we are going to deliver and how we are going to deliver it.

Try this as a standard agenda to a story kick-off and see how it immediately improves things

Story Kick-off

What: This is an ad-hoc, short conversation that happens before work starts on a story.
How Long: No more than 10 Minutes.
Who: PO, BA, Architect, Devs (Front & Back) & QA.
Why :The point of this conversation is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and agrees on how to go about implementing the story and as importantly when to stop working on the story.

  • To avoid confusion as to what the Story is about. (Do we understand the business intent and ho we will know we have achieved them)
  • Because context-switching is hard work and wasteful. (Make sure we know what to do and can start the work and stop only once it is Done)
  • To avoid missing details in the Story – Identifying missing details before work starts
  • Help avoid rework (Welcoming changing requirements implies rework, but even so let keep it to necessary re-work)

What is specifically discussed?

  • What is this Story about?
  • What does this Story cover (and what it doesn’t)?
  • Review preliminary work done, and identify changes from what was originally planned
  • What are some of the detailed aspects of the Story, and have we missed any Scenarios?
  • Clarify and make sure that we have a correct, common understanding of the acceptance criteria
  • Are we clear on any assumptions made and why they were made?
  • Are we implementing this in an architecturally sound manner?

Bad smells to be aware of

  • No agreed scope or acceptance criteria
  • Starting work without clear, agreed definitions
  • Assumptions around story have not been validated
  • No single dedicated team member to see the story through
  • The wrong or incorrect people at the story kick-off
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