Agile PM Process Grid–3.14 Affinity Estimates (1)

In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

Today’s post comes at the end of a block of processes that are in the Adaptive Planning knowledge area (the equivalent of Time and Cost Management in traditional PM), and are done during the Planning process group.

The previous processes dealt with estimation of the size of user stories, that is, the relative amount of effort required by the team to develop them  to fruition.   The process for this post, 3.14 Affinity Estimates, deals with the sizing of a large number of user stories, used when planning on a larger scale such as a Roadmap or Release.

As a reminder, a Roadmap is the equivalent of a program level of plan for a sequence of Releases of the product or service.    How does the “affinity estimate” approach deal with this large number of user stories?   In a nutshell, it uses a large board on which there are two dimensions to be concerned about, the priority and the sizing of the stories.   The stories that have higher priority (the “must have” features rather than the “it would be nice to have” features) get placed at the TOP of the board and the stories with lower priority get placed at the BOTTOM of the board.    This dimension is the “affinity” part of the “affinity estimating” process.   Those stories that have the same affinity in terms of priority will get grouped together for release number 1, release number 2, etc.   This will give the Releases involved in the Roadmap.

For the other, horizontal dimension, those stories that are smaller in size get placed at the LEFT side of the board and the stories that are larger in size get placed on the RIGHT side of the board.   This dimension is the “estimating” part of the “affinity estimating” process, and this will give the relative size of the user stories in any given Release.

This gives the general idea of the process.   For the step-by-step recipe on how to do the process, go to the next post…


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