The size of work: making ‘consumable’ chunks

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Product Backlog Items (PBIs) should be “bite-sized” in Scrum so that they can be completed in a single Sprint. This ensures that the team can savor the flavor of delivering value frequently, while also keeping the work manageable. Like a delicious meal that isn’t too filling! When PBIs are too large, the team may struggle to make consistent progress and predict when they will be able to deliver a completed item. How do we go about creating small Product Backlog Items?

There are risks associated with making PBIs that are too small. One cannot survive solely on appetizers. PBIs that are “bited off” too small may not provide much value on their own, and the team may waste time breaking down larger pieces of work into many tiny pieces. Furthermore, seeing only one ingredient in a recipe can make it difficult for the team to see the big picture and understand how their work fits into the overall product vision.

When sizing a PBI, it’s important to consider a number of factors, including the complexity of the work, the skills and experience of the team, and the amount of time available in the Sprint. In IT-related projects, it may also be necessary to consider the dependencies between PBIs, the available technology and infrastructure, and the overall project timeline. The goal is to find a balance between delivering value and ensuring that the work is manageable and can be completed within a single Sprint.

To summarize, making PBIs “bite-sized” is important in Scrum, so not “biting off more than you can chew.” To deliver value, maintain predictability, and keep the work manageable, teams should carefully consider the various factors involved in sizing a PBI, just as a chef would consider the ingredients and cooking methods.

Note to self: never type an article when you are hungry. 

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