I periodically do a coaching circle as a service to our agile community. I invite anyone to it and it’s free. Think of it as a Lean Coffee format discussion with folks looking for coaching advice.
This question came up the other day:
I'd like to hear how your teams handle spikes - do spikes have acceptance criteria - yes/no? Do spikes have story points yes/no?
And it generated quite a nice discussion around the idea of spikes. And it made me think about whether I’ve ever written about them before. I was shocked to realize that I really hadn’t done a deep dive into my thoughts on spiking. Well, here goes nothing…
It happens to me on a weekly basis. I’m teaching a class on how to write User Stories. Usually it’s part of my Product Owner workshop. We’re happily writing stories for an iPad application simulation. Typically halfway thru the exercise someone raises their hand because they’re struggling with the format of a purely technical story. Quite often they don’t know how to frame the “user” clause and are stuck there in their writing.
My first recommendation is often to tell them to skip it. I tell them that the “As a” and the “So that” clauses are usually quite different for technically related stories. I just ask them to quantify the need (technically), in clear English with perhaps a couple of sentences, and then move on.