Maybe it’s not them, it’s you–or at least your ticket-writing ability. Writing clear, informative tickets is the cornerstone to creating a successful project. To demystify the ticket-writing process, we’ll use the analogy of cleaning an apartment to create a list of tasks and then add clarity and story points so any person can walk in and understand the scope and level of effort for each task.
Understanding how to write clear tickets can benefit all team members by increasing discussion and engagement early and therefore ensuring that everyone is on the same page before deliverables are created. Clear requirements and stated assumptions can shorten periods of review and revision for all team members from stakeholders, to design, to development.
At the start of the session, we will brainstorm commonly used household cleaning tasks such as sorting laundry, cleaning a bathtub, or cleaning an expensive fish tank. After the task list is assembled, we will work through creating a defined scope of each task including the assumptions and acceptance criteria for completion.
Adding acceptance criteria will allow attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of tickets that can be read by anyone for testing or future onboarding. Acceptance criteria can eliminate assumptions by clearly outlining the expectations of each ticket and any deviation to a normal workflow. By outlining a clear workflow and scope, team members can work more efficiently with less interruption and a lesser chance of work needing to be redone to match the project requirements.
Using common, everyday tasks will allow a demonstration of how each individual approaches and gauges the level of difficulty based on different initial understandings of the scope of the task. The process of defining scope will also introduce the concept of timeboxes and how they can be leveraged to add clarity and fixed time which could be used more productively.
Once each task has a clearly defined scope (or stated the actions necessary to achieve the creation of scope), we will use a portion of these tasks to set story point keystones for future tasks. Story points can be a valuable tool in providing estimates on project status and managing workload of individuals.
We will then use the keystones set to estimate the remaining tasks using blind estimation. Setting the story point value of a ticket can also prompt discussion on approach and increase in ticket scope clarity. By using blind estimation, each team member can give their estimate based on their understanding of the scope of the ticket without influence from others. If team members do not agree, further scope and acceptance criteria clarification is necessary and can also reveal varying approaches to reach the definition of done. After this further discussion, estimates can be retried to see if consensus has been reached, affirming that the team has a mutual understanding of scope.
Throughout, we’ll connect strategies back to web project activities, so attendees can walk away with an increased understanding of well written tickets–their value, and how to write them.