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Agile Story Estimation via Dog Grooming Exercise

Practice story estimation techniques with this exercise in dog grooming.  Then apply the principles of RELATIVE SIZING to your own backlog.

Related Post:

Affinity Estimating: A How-To by Sterling Barton.

Dogfood David why I feel like an expert in the concept of eating one's own dogfood.

Slideshare: Affinity Estimation - Size 60 Stories in about 20 Minutes.

For each dog below, estimate the work effort (story size) required to groom the dog.  Assuming that you have the tools and experience to groom dogs.  Discuss with your teammates what grooming means ( in my book grooming includes washing, drying, combing, nail clipping, and hair trimming in some cases - etc. ).

Start with the ever-popular:

Golden Retriever (22-24 in, 50-90 lbs).

The short-haired Dachshund (15-28 lbs).

The Standard Poodle (15-18in, 40-80 lbs).

Bernese Mountain Dog (25-28 in., 65-120 lbs).

German Shepherd (23-26 in, 50-90 lbs).

Yorkshire terrier (5 in, <10 lbs).

Beagle (13-16 in, 18-35 lbs).

Boxer (26-31 in, 55-110 lbs).

Bulldog (40-55 lbs).

Labrador Retriever (21-25 in, 55-130 lbs).

Great Dane (28-38 in, 120-200 lbs).

Komondor (25-32 in, 90-130 lbs).

What are some of the questions that needed resolving when estimating the grooming of each of these dogs?  Did you wonder about cutting the hair of the Komondor?  What was your Product Owner's response?  Did you ponder sizing one or two Boxers?  Did the temperament of the Yorkie matter to your team?

The easy way to size all these dogs is to print a picture of each dog (story) on an 8.5 x 11 page.  Then select one simple dog as the starting point for discussion.  Attach it to the middle of the wall and determine if the next dog is larger or smaller.  When the group has consensus tape it to the wall to the left or right of the initial dog.  Continue with the next dog comparing smaller/larger each time.  This is the activity of relative sizing - humans happen to be really good at this - if the visual system is used (hint pictures are worth 1000 words).


David said…
Hint: If you download the pictures and print them each on paper (8.5x11) then sorting on a wall is very easy - but write the name of the breed on the back of the paper. Because someone in the group will want to know the name of the breed, and arguments will break out - people like their dogs!

I start with the beagle - and the term "that's our beagle" becomes a meme for a bootstraping of the first story that is normal size for a sprint.
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