Stories are great. They allow agile teams to express their work in units that are valuable to you, their business owner. They can be estimated reasonably well since they’re small and they can be traded off against each other and prioritized by you, the business owner. The down side of stories is that you have lots of them which can make it hard to see the big picture. How do you see the wood for the trees?
To better understand a mass of information, we generalize and we categorize. Agile Bench has added the “Features” feature as a way of categorizing stories. Each story can now belong to a feature allowing you to break your stories into business oriented chunks.
We’ve worked hard to make features easy to use. Features can be added whilst editing a story.
Or you can bulk edit your backlog stories and add them (or remove them) from a feature.
We’ve also got a page to manage your features. On the Manage Features page you can add, edit, delete and color your features.
Once you’ve categorized your stories you can quickly filter the backlog and get insight into how big the feature is. We’ll have another post on search soon.
Features give you a very powerful way to slice and dice your backlog. Let us known how you find it.
Mike Cohn, of Mountain Goat Software, has a good article on features (although he calls them Themes). As he notes, the terminology isn’t that important as long as everyone agrees on what it means in their context.
On an aside, Agile Bench currently has epics, which is one of our issue types. We don’t recomment using epics as we’ll be phasing them out soon.