It’s Part Of The Story’s Intent!

Scenario: Husband and wife being Agile at home. They have a Kanban board with the usual three columns: ‘To do’, ‘In Process’, ‘Done’. Lots of stories slotted under the ‘To do’ column; zero stories under the ‘In Process’ column, hence there is a free capacity to pull in the highest prioritized story and do work on it. The husband pulled in the highest prioritized story at that moment — ‘wash, dry and neatly fold clothes’ — from the ‘To do’ column and placed the story under the ‘In Process’ column…and proceeded working on it. A few hours later, here is the scene:

Husband, after folding the last washed and dried clothes, happily exclaimed: ‘Done!’

Wife — after inspecting the work — said: ‘No, you are not done, yet!’

Husband: ‘Of course I am, honey, I followed our earlier agreed-upon definition of done’

Wife: ‘You forgot to iron the clothes before you folded them’

Husband: ‘Ironing is not part of the definition of done — I double checked it’

Wife: ‘It’s part of the story’s intent!

backdrop: wife grew up with neatly folded clothes ironed by their maids … ironing clothes before folding is a given and is expected when she wrote the story, ‘ … neatly fold clothes’. In her mind, the story has the intent of ironing the clothes (she is a proponent of stories without tasks)!

Reflection:

Sometimes stories are black and white, sometimes gray, sometimes colored with intent… so obvious to some but not to others.

To mitigate, remember to employ the fundamental… the 3C: card, conversation, and confirmation.

When I am ordering something at McDonald’s … when I am placing my order, there is a conversation going on between me and the McDonald’s associate … then we wrap it up with a confirmation of my order… my order is read back to me by the associate for me to confirm… once confirmed, the associate puts forth my order (I pay; gives me receipt with order#) … and I can see a ‘card‘ representation of my order — they have an electronic ‘kanban board’ with this ‘card’ on it — move from ‘To do’, to ‘In Process’, to ‘Done’. Once ‘Done’, my order# is called out, I go to the counter for pickup… my order is handed off to me … I inspect it… if something is off, I tell them to fix it… otherwise, I thank them and I accept my order, and we both move on our separate ways.

A good to great Story closes with a contribution to the incremental delivery of a high quality service and/or a product of value… with no re-do, no refactoring, no technical debt that could potentially clog and/or slow down the ‘Continuous Delivery Pipeline.’

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