Agile 101

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Archive for the ‘Scrum Templates’ Category

Introduction to Agile – "Let's Talk Agile" Slideshow

Posted by Tara Hamilton-Whitaker on August 31, 2009

A very succint and well assembled Introduction to Agile by Denise Caron.

  • Why Agile?
  • The Agile Vision
  • The Agile Principles
  • The Benefits of Agile

This slideshow will be appreciated by those new to Agile and those responsible for ‘selling Agile’ alike.


View more documents from Denise Caron.

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Agile Epic Board – Epic Card Template

Posted by Tara Hamilton-Whitaker on August 20, 2009

The Agile Epic Board is a Project and Programme Management tool – that is, in it’s simplest form, a tangible release plan.

Although I use this board to track our development programme across multiple products, teams and sprints, the Epic Board can also be a very useful project management tool.  See The Epic Board – An Essential Project Management Tool.

This concept can work at multiple levels – i.e. a tool to track the delivery of multiple Epics associated with a particular Theme OR the delivery of a number of Stories associated with a particular Epic or Minimum Marketable Feature (“MMF”).  Bear in mind this tool is used to track progress across multiple sprints – sprint specific delivery is tracked using a Task Board.  (See: The Difference Between Agile Themes, Epics and User Stories)

Due to popular demand, I’ve put together a simple, generic, template that you can use to produce an Epic Card and its component parts. Here it is!

Agile Epic Card

Here’s a snippet of the template, which you can download below. Note that it is sized to allow you to stick it to a 5″x8″ index card (if you should so wish!)


This is the title of your Epic – just enough to act as a reminder of what it represents.


This elaborates upon the higher-level goal/objective to which the Epic contributes.  E.g. If the theme is to Increase Traffic, the Epic could be ‘Launch a Video Section on X site’.

Product Owner



Some Epics will be deadline-driven, others will not be.


A top-level overview of what this Epic is about – the main outputs etc.  It may include a sketch or dev notes etc.

Effort Points

This is a measure of the relative amount of effort required to deliver this Epic vs. other Epics using Story Points. You may use T-shirt sizing to establish this value. (See: Agile Estimation and the Cone of Uncertainty)

Value Points

This is a measure of the relative amount of value delivered by this Epic vs. other Epics using Value Points – You could also use the T-shirt sizing concept to establish this value. (See:  Value Points – Estimating the Relative Value of a User Story)


In a sense, the point score could be looked upon as the ‘Profit’ delivered by this Epic – it is calculated as follows: Score=Value-Effort

This score helps with prioritisation at a top-level – it is not an exact science, just a useful little tool to drive conversation.

To Do List

This list acts as a reminder of what you need to deliver in order to ‘complete’ the Epic.

We use it in numerous ways – for example:

  1. A list of User Stories (not the full story, just a reminder) required to deliver the Epic.  We then differentiate between the ‘Must-Haves’ and the Nice-to-Haves’ OR we sub-divide by MMF.
  2. A list of products/sites involved in a plugin upgrade – we need to check each off as we test/release/upgrade them.

This template produces an individual card for each item on the To-do list – these cards can then be grouped into sprints on the Epic Board – (See: Introducing the Agile Epic Board – for pictures).

We re-visit this card at the end of each sprint (at the Programme-level planning session/Sprint Review) and check off whatever was completed.

You could also generate a release-level burndown chart off the back of the card without too much trouble. I might offer an upgraded version of this template that allows you to do just that – leave me a comment below to let me know if you’d like this, then subscribe to my RSS feed to be notified when I do.

For a more detailed view (and some photographs) on how to build and use an Epic Board, check out the Agile Epic Board channel on Agile101.

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Download: Agile Epic Board - Epic Card Template

Download: Agile Epic Board - Epic Card Template



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Sprint Backlog Template with Objective-Level Burndowns

Posted by Tara Hamilton-Whitaker on August 19, 2009

A Sprint Backlog Template is used to track progress against Sprint Commitments.

This Sprint Backlog template is slightly more complex than your bog-standard template as it also allows you to track Stretch Tasks and Sprint Progress at a Category/Objective-Level.

Standard Features of a Sprint Backlog

  • List of User Stories that the Scrum Team committed to delivering at the Sprint Planning Workshop (See: Scrum Sprint Planning Meetings – Who, What, When, Where, Why)
  • List of Tasks associated with each User Story that are then estimated in hours
  • A burndown chart tracking delivery progress
  • The total number of hours remaining at the end of each day (this drives the burndown chart)

Additional Features included in this Sprint Backlog Template

  •  Assign tasks to categories e.g. a particular sprint objective, an epic, a theme, a product or product owner
  • Produce category/objective-level burndowns
  • Track Burn up on Unplanned work e.g. Stretch tasks and/or scope creep (See: Minimising the Impact of Sprint Disruptions)
  • Track cost against each category based on the Sprint cost / Percentage effort assigned to each category
  • Print a  1-page overview of the sprint that can be circulated to stakeholders

More on Scrum & Agile Templates or Scrum Backlogs

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Download the Sprint Backlog Template with Category-Leve Burndowns

Download the Sprint Backlog Template with Objective-Level Burndowns

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