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How to break down Epics to Stories and Small Tasks

One of the challenges with agile development is capturing requirements. In an ideal world, agile requirements management is simple because the customer already knows what they want, the developer knows how to build it, and nothing will change along the way. But how many projects have you been involved with that progressed in this ideal way? From my experience, zero.

The reality is that the customer will discover what they want and the developers will discover how to build it. In addition, a lot of things will change along the way. Change is the only certain thing in life. We can choose to fight it, or we can manage and harness it.

Getting Started with Agile Requirements Management

To get started with managing Agile requirements, I’d recommend watching Sr. UX Designer Willem Gorisse’s Successfully Integrating UX in Mendix Projects webinar. From this webinar, you will learn to start by using the product vision template and mapping out the user personas that will be using the solution.

Why should you start with the product vision? Because the product vision highlights the reason behind the product being built. As you are developing the solution, the vision should be the driving force that keeps everyone focused, especially when “scope creep” starts to happen. The Product Owner should drive the vision and manage the stakeholders’ requirements. Think of the vision as the reason WHY you are building the solution. The epics, stories, and tasks will be WHAT you are building.

Epics vs. Stories vs. Tasks

Once the vision is clear, you can start by creating epics and breaking down the requirements. Epics are whole features and functionalities that can span multiple sprints. They are broken down into stories, and stories can be further broken down into tasks. An epic will have multiple stories, and each story can have multiple tasks. While epics can span multiple sprints, the stories should be done within the current sprint.

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