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why-are-big-stories-considered-an-anti-pattern

Why are Big Stories considered an anti-pattern?

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Bharath Kumar
Bharath Kumar is a seasoned professional with 10 years' expertise in Quality Management, Project Management, and DevOps. He has a proven track record of driving excellence and efficiency through integrated strategies.

A. They make it difficult to estimate compliance efforts

B. They make it difficult to apply iterative development

C. They do not support Pair Work

D. They make it difficult to estimate testing efforts

The Correct Answer is

B. They make it difficult to apply iterative development

Explanation

Why They make it difficult to apply development is correct

Iterative development is a core principle of agile methodologies, emphasizing incremental progress through short development cycles called iterations. Big Stories, also known as Epics, can span multiple iterations and are too large to be completed in a single iteration. This size makes it difficult to apply iterative development effectively because:

  1. Granularity: Iterative development relies on breaking down work into small, manageable pieces that can be completed, reviewed, and adjusted within each iteration. Big Stories are counterproductive to this approach, as their size prevents quick adjustments and feedback loops.

  2. Feedback and Adaptation: Agile methodologies prioritize rapid feedback to adapt products according to user needs and project direction. Big Stories delay feedback because they take longer to deliver, making it challenging to incorporate changes swiftly.

  3. Visibility and Tracking: Progress tracking and risk management are easier when work is divided into smaller chunks. Large stories make it hard to assess progress and identify issues early in the development process.

Why the other options are not correct

A. They make it difficult to estimate compliance efforts: While estimating compliance efforts for large stories might be more challenging than for smaller ones, this is not specific to iterative development or a primary concern in agile practices. Compliance is often a broader concern that spans multiple stories or epics and is not solely dependent on the size of the stories.

C. They do not support Pair Work: Pair work or pair programming is a technique where two developers work together at one workstation. While big stories might be less ideal for pair work due to their complexity and the broader scope of work, they do not inherently prevent pair work. The limitation here is more about the efficiency and effectiveness of pair work in handling large, complex tasks rather than an inherent incompatibility.

D. They make it difficult to estimate testing efforts: Estimating testing efforts does become more challenging with larger stories, but this is a symptom of the broader issue with big stories in agile methodologies—difficulty in managing and iterating on the work. However, this is not the primary reason why big stories are considered an anti-pattern in Agile. The core issue is their impact on the iterative development process, not just the estimation of testing efforts.

Other SAFe Scrum Master Question – If a team insists that big Stories cannot be split into smaller ones, how would the Scrum Master coach them to do otherwise?

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