What is Epic in Agile?
Agile methodology is widely known for its specific approaches to project management, especially during the initial part of the work planning. Developers come together and start creating the project by means of such task forms as epics.
In our today’s article, we want to disclose the topic of the epic writing and its importance for the whole Agile workflow. We also give you our bunch of effective tips on how to compose proper Agile epics. It is definitely worth reading and practicing!
The essence of epics
It is better to begin with a brief consideration of the work planning in Agile. First of all it is the time for the ideation: developers and all involved specialists hold a common meeting and start to imagine every single feature of the future product and describe it in the form of the user story – a short task that will be executed in further development process.
It is obvious that there are lots of such user stories to work with, and most of them have some familiar purposes and operational directions, and it is a good idea to combine them with each other.
So then it comes an epic – a set of thematically related user stories that determines a certain function of the future product. Epics allow specialists to build their project development process and execute the connected work tasks in a consistent manner.
Writing the epics is not just a good way of the project works planning – it is a great possibility to emphasize the main purposes of the product development for a certain period. Agile methodology welcomes an order in project development and a competent execution of the work by short-term parts (so-called sprints). Therefore, creating and executing the epics helps developers to calculate the required efforts and resources on every sprint.
Epics, user stories, tasks… How not to get lost in it?
As we mentioned earlier, an epic contains from many user stories and reflects a global goal or a certain function of the future product. But sometimes the composed user stories consist of a large number of tasks and may become a little bit difficult to execute. So it may be hard to realize where the user story ends and the entire epic begins.
For a better understanding of what is the difference between user stories and epics, we have created a clear comparison chart with the examples of all the types of these Agile writing features – look at it below:
The low-level described activity is called task – usually it reflects a certain simple action that, in its turn, can give the user the ability to do a certain act.
The middle-level activity is user story, that presents a number of grouped tasks. As usual, each user story is independent and can be considered as a certain possibility for the user. That is, it is still not a function but a kind of the user wish that helps specialists to create a direct function of the product.
Finally, we come to the most efficient and stuffed level of the task creation – it is epic. Usually does not have a lot of details or noted features, but there we can see many user stories that, in their turn, contain all the necessary information. Based on every single user story, developers can unite them in the epics and turn them into the proposed features and functions of the future product.
Thus, each epic is a real challenge for developers: building the product, they have to take into account every aspect of the epic in order not to miss any detail in the product functionality.
Tips on how to write flawless epics
Like many Agile best practices, epics are great helpers in the creation and execution of the product features. Within the epics, it becomes easier to see the total work scope for every iteration and make accurate calculations of the needed efforts, tools, time frames and other aspects.
In order to write epics in an appropriate way, we have composed several beneficial tips for you that will help you to achieve the best results in your product development planning!
- Tip 1 – check each user story before its adding to the epic. Yes, it may look too obvious but sometimes developers hurry up and forget about the testing and checking of every particular user story for its veracity and feasibility within the frames of your project. Even one afunctional user story can spoil the whole epic!
- Tip 2 – remember about the pertinence in the work. There you should always follow main principle of Agile: to work with only necessary practices and to avoid all kinds of excesses and needless things. So when you start composing the epic, you should make sure that every action is prudent, and every task is definitely worth to be implemented.
- Tip 3 – draw more colleagues to the epic creation. Even if you are quite experienced and have a lot of skills and knowledge, it won’t go amiss to come many specialists, that are involved in the project development, and know their personal professional vision of a certain aspect of the project. As it is said, a collective mind is for the win!
- Tip 4 – sequence is the most important thing! As you know, every element of the epic structure has its own place and requires its own efforts to be done. Try to build your workflow as consistent as it is possible. It becomes easier to do it with the help of such thing as a roadmap: there you can set your intermediate and final goals and monitor the execution of every single task in a comfort way!
To sum up, it is better to say that the epic is a real key element of the entire process of the work planning in Agile. Thanks to epics, specialists are able to set the project goals, realize the user’s wishes and achieve the most desirable business results.
We truly believe that our material has become useful and interesting to you, and our recommendations will help you in your further project. We would also be glad to know your personal experience in the epics writing – share your thoughts and expressions in the comments below!