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How Agile Estimation Techniques Pave the Way for Successful Product Development

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Best Agile Estimation Techniques for Efficient Product Development

Humans generally are not that good at estimations. They are either too confident or severely lack confidence. This is why many product developments fail.

Estimations are hard itself, but managing estimations for Agile Development is a different ballpark. People are always faced with questions like “how long the product development process takes” or “what would be the cost of product development”?

If you have never implemented Agile Estimation in your project development, then you are missing out. The blog will help you know why Agile Estimation is good and why your business should implement it:

What is Agile Estimation?

Agile Estimation is a simple take on the universal truth that change is bound to occur, even within the Agile Infrastructure. Agile Estimation builds robust coordination to decide an apt schedule or deadline for the project.

What are the Benefits of Agile Estimation?

Here are the best benefits of Agile Estimation:

Quick Decision Making

When you have an estimation of how the project will pan out, then you will be able to make quick and better decisions.

Improved Coordination

When the estimation is on-point, then you can establish a good sense of coordination within your projects. If a project is due three tasks, among which two has an early release date, then it is better to focus on that one.

Enhanced Risk Management

Effective Agile Estimation helps you eradicate every shred of unnecessary risk, increasing the chances of your project’s success.

Drawbacks of Agile Estimation and How to Balance them

Although Agile Estimation is an efficient process, it has some drawbacks like:

  • Scope
  • Quality
  • Schedule
  • Cost

The ideal approach to represent these restraints is via balance. You can put scope and quality on one side while schedule and cost on the other one. If you wish to increase your scope, then either cost or the schedule needs to be raised. You can also choose to reduce the quality.

Remember that to achieve balance, you need to establish some practical limits.

  • Schedule and cost can be easily measured.
  • Measuring quality is relatively hard.
  • Measuring scope is the hardest part.

Agile Project Estimation Stages: Short Phase

In reality, Agile Transformation is restricted by our desire to set a budget. You can avail of numerous ways to proceed this as some even follow sheer intuition.

Our vision at the start of a project is limited and a short phase for discovery clears it up. The phase involves us categorizing our requirements in small batches.

Here are the steps for the phase:

Conducting Stakeholders’ Interview

A BA (business analyst) recruited to the team for discovery reassesses the documents and oversees every gap and query. Then, a routine workshop is prepared with each stakeholder for discussing and clarifying every gap.

The analyst regulates some functional and business requirements:

  • BRD (business requirement documents) defining the final project goals.
  • FRD (functional requirement documents) defining features needed for achieving the final goal.

Defining High Level Backlog for Product

The next stage involves the business analyst alongside a technical architect. With due diligence, they both create an early result with a feasible product or solution.

The product backlog describes the bones of the app. Then the backlog’s validity in relation to the project is verified.

Understanding Customers and Potential Visitors

The business analyst is accompanied by a user experience anchor as per the complexity of the app’s motives. The anchor needs to comprehend the client as well as his customers.

He works on the possible user base that may utilize the app, the environment where the app will be used, and every touchpoint of the users’ persona.

Prioritizing Requirements

After all; this, the team for discovery then partakes in the agile cost estimation proceedings alongside high level backlogging. You can use the MoSCoW method for the same:

  • Must-Have

It comprises items possessing the most business value and lowest efforts.

  • Should-Have

It comprises items with high priority while requiring minor efforts.

  • Could-Have

It comprises backlog items that are desirable in scope but possess low business value.

  • Won’t-Have

The items agreed upon for the later versions.

Preparing the MVP Backlog

As per the priorities, the analyst accumulates every must-have required for the Minimal Viable Product development. It can also comprise some should-haves.

Estimating Project Timeline and Cost

The team now goes through the Minimal Viable Product backlog for defining the estimated timeline and cost.

Activities like building, rinsing, and repeating follows the mentioned steps.

Agile Estimating Story Points

Story points within agile development provide the goal for estimating the difficulties faced in the implementation of a given story.

Simply put, it offers the numbers informing about the story’s difficulty level.

Easy Steps for Making Best Story Points Agile Estimation

Here are the best steps for making idea story points in agile estimation:

  1. Identifying the base stories
  2. Discussing the story’s requirements
  3. Creating an estimation matrix
  4. Choosing the best Agile Estimation technique
  5. Planning the run
  6. Validating the estimates

Best Agile Estimation Techniques in the Software Product Development

Planning Poker

You can use the technique when you need to estimate limited items in small teams. The technique requires the group for estimation to gather in a circle. Now every estimator receives a planning poker card of value. The value usually ranges from 0-1-2-3-5-8-13-20-40-100. The numbers show the measures or story points.

In the start, the customer/owner shows all requirements and features. Now a discussion occurs, and all the queries are clarified.

T Shirt Sizes

If you are looking to provide a fast and relatively rough estimation, then the technique is viable. You can estimate the items as per the general t-shirt sizes, starting from XS and going to the XL mark. Now, depending on your requirement, these are turned into numbers.

If there has been any misunderstanding, then a discussion takes place.

Dot Voting

The technique makes use of a ranking procedure where the users stories within the backlog are classified unto ranks ranging from high-low. Now every story is written in the post-ids and then placed on a board.

Then a voting session is held for receiving every stakeholder’s vote. They get 4-5 dot each through which they can vote for their preferred story. The story with the maximum is the most preferred and vice-versa.

Bucket System

The technique is viable when the items for estimation are huge in numbers. Similar to the poker technique, distinct bucket cards are kept in sequence with values from 0-1-2-3-4-5-8-13-20-30-50-100-200. The numbers can be extended, if needed.

In the start, a random bucket receives a random item. Now, you pick a different story, discuss its every feature and requirement. Afterwards you place it in the best bucket as the group decides.

Conclusion

Agile Estimation has emerged as one of the most integral techniques for the product development process. The approach helps the project make quick strides towards completion, and its integration also saves valuable resources.

The blog has mentioned the best Agile Estimation benefits, its drawbacks, and the best techniques as well. Give it a read and try to incorporate the best techniques in your proceedings.

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