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The Importance of Breaking Stories into Smaller Parts


Today involved a bunch of meetings but one of the thing we as a team resolved to work on is breaking our stories into smaller subtasks.

This came about as we learnt from previous sprints that with big stories when there are no tasks it is not clear exactly what needs to be done to complete a story. Situations can arise where people assume someone else is doing something to complete a story when they're actually not and the ball ends up getting dropped.

The process of breaking a story apart into smaller tasks does a number of things:

  1. It forces you to think more deeply about what is involved in completing a story which means parts of it are less likely to be missed
  2. When the story is in progress it is much clearer what parts of it are being worked on and who is working on each part
  3. You can see the story progressing as tasks will move instead of the story just being stuck in progress for a while
  4. It gives clear visibility about who is doing what
  5. You can see clearly if a story is too big and should rather be split into multiple stories possibly with their own tasks

On past projects this practice of task breakdown has helped the team I was on tremendously. We went from carrying stories across sprints to actually finishing the story in a sprint with better collaboration.