Agile PM Process Grid–3.14 Affinity Estimates (2)

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.

In the last post, I wrote about affinity estimates, the process that brings the dimensions of priority and sizing to a group of user stories so that a Roadmap can be split up into a series of Releases, and then each Release can be subsequently broken down into Iterations.   This post goes through the step-by-step process of how to do this process.

  1. The team gathers and on the top of a whiteboard a scale is written, starting from extra small (XS) to the left to extra large (XL) to the right.
  2. A “parking lot” is defined to the side of the space defined above.
  3. Each team member is given an equivalent stack of User Stories written on cards.
  4. Each team member sizes each story relative to other stories.
  5. Each team member places each story on the board, with stories of the same size being placed within the same column.
  6.  Stories that are too vague to be sized are placed in the Parking Lot.

That is the first pass.   Here are the steps to the revision phase.

  1. Each team member reviews the user stories he or she placed and moves them to a different column if they believe they placed the user story incorrectly in the first pass.
  2. The first time a story is moved, a small diagonal line in the bottom right corner of the card.
  3. The second time a story is moved, another small diagonal line is placed in the bottom right corner of the card, this time forming an “X”.
  4. If a story must be moved a third time, the story is deemed to be too vague and is moved to the parking lot space.

Here are the steps to the final phase.

  1. Vague stories that are in the parking lot space are discussed as to what clarification is necessary, such as acceptance criteria, tests to be identified, etc.

The resulting Affinity Board shows all of the stories that are understood to be part of the plan, and shows their relative size of each story.

Then the stories can be ranked in terms of priority so that the user stories in the Roadmap can be grouped into stories that have the same priority, and these can designated as being Release #1, Release #2, etc.

This completes the processes that are involved in Adaptive Planning during the planning phase.   The next post covers the next knowledge area, that of Team Performance.



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