The Agile Epic Board is a Project and Programme Management tool – that is, in it’s simplest form, a tangible release plan.
Although I use this board to track our development programme across multiple products, teams and sprints, the Epic Board can also be a very useful project management tool. See The Epic Board – An Essential Project Management Tool.
This concept can work at multiple levels – i.e. a tool to track the delivery of multiple Epics associated with a particular Theme OR the delivery of a number of Stories associated with a particular Epic or Minimum Marketable Feature (“MMF”). Bear in mind this tool is used to track progress across multiple sprints – sprint specific delivery is tracked using a Task Board. (See: The Difference Between Agile Themes, Epics and User Stories)
Due to popular demand, I’ve put together a simple, generic, template that you can use to produce an Epic Card and its component parts. Here it is!
Agile Epic Card
Here’s a snippet of the template, which you can download below. Note that it is sized to allow you to stick it to a 5″x8″ index card (if you should so wish!)
This is the title of your Epic – just enough to act as a reminder of what it represents.
This elaborates upon the higher-level goal/objective to which the Epic contributes. E.g. If the theme is to Increase Traffic, the Epic could be ‘Launch a Video Section on X site’.
Some Epics will be deadline-driven, others will not be.
A top-level overview of what this Epic is about – the main outputs etc. It may include a sketch or dev notes etc.
This is a measure of the relative amount of effort required to deliver this Epic vs. other Epics using Story Points. You may use T-shirt sizing to establish this value. (See: Agile Estimation and the Cone of Uncertainty)
This is a measure of the relative amount of value delivered by this Epic vs. other Epics using Value Points – You could also use the T-shirt sizing concept to establish this value. (See: Value Points – Estimating the Relative Value of a User Story)
In a sense, the point score could be looked upon as the ‘Profit’ delivered by this Epic - it is calculated as follows: Score=Value-Effort
This score helps with prioritisation at a top-level – it is not an exact science, just a useful little tool to drive conversation.
To Do List
This list acts as a reminder of what you need to deliver in order to ‘complete’ the Epic.
We use it in numerous ways – for example:
- A list of User Stories (not the full story, just a reminder) required to deliver the Epic. We then differentiate between the ‘Must-Haves’ and the Nice-to-Haves’ OR we sub-divide by MMF.
- A list of products/sites involved in a plugin upgrade – we need to check each off as we test/release/upgrade them.
This template produces an individual card for each item on the To-do list – these cards can then be grouped into sprints on the Epic Board – (See: Introducing the Agile Epic Board - for pictures).
We re-visit this card at the end of each sprint (at the Programme-level planning session/Sprint Review) and check off whatever was completed.
You could also generate a release-level burndown chart off the back of the card without too much trouble. I might offer an upgraded version of this template that allows you to do just that – leave me a comment below to let me know if you’d like this, then subscribe to my RSS feed to be notified when I do.
For a more detailed view (and some photographs) on how to build and use an Epic Board, check out the Agile Epic Board channel on Agile101.
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