The case for re-estimating Stories that do not get DONE

We want to build to a DONE culture where teams strive to get every Story DONE, every Sprint.

Taking a relaxed attitude to finishing Stories in the following Sprint doesn’t help set the expectation that DONE is something to strive for.

Partly DONE Stories can lead to an test heavy plan in future Sprints as developers code right up until the end of the Sprint instead of swarming on the Stories the team have already committed to and getting them DONE.

Not DONE Stories are wasteful.

Like it or not, Team’s often equate SP to credit. They often ask, “how do I get my points (credit)”? By letting Team’s take their credit/SP in the following Sprint it sends the wrong message about working towards DONE. Only giving SP/credit for DONE Stories incentivises teams to think about getting Stories DONE if they want the SP/credit.

Team’s velocities are calculated by summing all of the DONE SP and dividing by the number of Sprints. This leads to a slight overestimation of what the team can actually get DONE as it includes SP that got done and SP that the team could not get done. Overestimation leads to over-planning and this has costs associated with it:

Striving to complete the Sprint backlog that the team committed to in Sprint Planning encourages the team to master core Scrum practices that will help the Team get their Stories DONE eg

  • Story writing
  • Estimation
  • Splitting
  • Planning
  • Collaboration
  • Swarming
  • Cross functional behaviours eg developers testing
  • Actively talking about how to get all of the Stories to DONE
  • Scrum ceremonies

Teams need to do some sort of re-estimation of any partially completed Stories so they know how many SP are left for new Stories in the coming Sprint. If some sort of re-estimation of remaining work isn’t completed then there is a risk that the team will be over-planned.

Quick and informal re-estimation of Stories that didn’t get DONE eg by the dev who is working on a Story, are likely to be less accurate than a formal re-estimation process eg whole team and planning poker.

If you are re-estimating anyway, why not update the Stories in the next Sprint with the more accurate numbers?

If a team re-estimates SP but doesn’t update the Stories then only insiders in the team with the secret estimates can accurately read boards, Sprint Burnup/Burndown.

If Stories aren’t updated it makes it difficult for outsiders (RTE, PM, Sponsors etc) to assess how the Sprint is progressing by looking at boards and in tools like JIRA eg if an 8SP Story
hasn’t been started with 3 days to go on a Sprint, is that a problem or not?

If Stories aren’t updated with the new estimates then it can be difficult to interpret reports like burndown charts eg how did the team get a 5SP Story done on day one of the sprint? If the 5SP being burnt on the first day obviously isn’t an accurate representation of effort expended then how can we trust any of the other changes in the Spring Burndown Chart.

Sprint plans with accurate, re-estimated Stories are more honest and transparent. Because of this, better decisions can be made.

Stories that don’t get DONE within the Sprint are wasteful

Every Story that is partially DONE within the Sprint still has to go through some of the following Steps to get DONE in some future Sprint.

  1. The PO must prioritise the Story again
  2. The Team must review and rewrite the story removing the parts that are not required and adding any missing detail and conditions of satisfaction
  3. If the Story is much larger than originally estimate then it may need to be split
  4. The Story must be re-estimated so the team can make a good Sprint Plan
  5. The Story has to be tasked out on the Team Board
  6. The Story must be coded
  7. The Story must be code reviewed
  8. The Story must be retested from scratch across all test cases on all systems, devices and browsers etc
  9. Bugs have to be raised and fixed
  10. The Story must be signed off
  11. Throughout the Iteration the Team must update JIRA/Rally, talk about the story at Standup and communicate with each other in a timely and effective manner to ensure it passes through the Team’s Iteration workflow.

In short, any story that does not get DONE, even stories that are “99% DONE” will still require a fair amount of work from several people in the Team in the next iteration. Teams should be aware of this and they should focus on getting the maximum number of Story Points DONE.

Riding from London to Paris with (almost) no training

A friends cycled from London to Paris recently with little training. As someone who has did this once on a hybrid it got me thinking what could you do to make the ride easier if you haven?t put the hard training kilometres in up front.

This is what I came up with:

It is (almost) never too late to train even if you only have a few days to go some sensible longish rides will do you good.

Consider getting a road bike if you have time to do a few rides and get used to it before you leave.

Get your bike serviced before you go. It?ll be less likely to break and will have less grit and new oil etc. A recently serviced bike is and efficient bike. Take the serviced bike for at least one good distance ride before you leave do find out if the service has caused any issues.

Pump your tires up properly every day. Hard tires are more efficient than soft tires.

On the ride never be tempted to race or go fast. Always start each day slowly for an hour.

Find other people who want to ride at your pace and ride in a close group with turns at the front. It?s a lot harder to be the first person in a group hitting the wind so taking turns shares the load. Getting behind a large person is ideal ?

Make sure you have good quality carbs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Porridge and pasta are ideal. Snacks are a good idea too. You (probably) can?t overeat on the ride. Drink lots of water and isotonic (with salt) drinks to keep your fluids up.

If anyone is offering a leg massage definitely accept

Get as much sleep as you can each night

Don?t drink alcohol until you finish the final day.

An old friend turns 10,000

Today on the way home from work my Cannondale Road Warrior 700 clocked up its 10,000th kilometre. In truth it has probably done a lot more than that with all the times the speedometer wasn?t working or was still in my backpack. On this momentous occasion I thought I would list out some data about the bike and list all of the parts I have upgraded or had to replace.

Name: Cannondale Road Warrior 600 2006 Hybrid Bike
Cost: about ?750
Purchase date: Saturday 13th May 2006.
Evans data page:
First appearance in blog:
Total distance: 10,000 in 71 months. Averaging 141kms a month. This figure doesn’t include time when the speedo wasn’t working or kms on my other two bikes.

Frame: Optimo Road Warrior (light and quick)
Forks: Slice Ultra Si All-Conditions
Gears: Shimano 105 rear derailleur and Shimano FD-R443 front
Shifters: Shimano SL-R440
Chainset: Truvativ Elita GXP Triple
Brakes: Cannondale Thete all-condition brakes (still going strong)
Wheels: Mavic Aksium wheel set
Tyres: Maxxis Detonator (not worth the rubber they are made from)
Handlebars: Cannondale fire with bar ends
Stem: Cannondale 3-D forged
Saddle: Selle Royal Viper (super comfy)
Seatpost: Suspension Seat Post

Parts bought

Numerous brake pads
Numerous inner tubes (I don?t repair tubes I put a new on in and throw the old one out)
Pedals were shit so replaced with Shimano PD-M324 SPD MTB Pedals. Clipping in is about the best upgrade you can make to any bike
2 original tires (shitty Maxxis Detonator that caused about 5 punctures in the first three months cycling. Usually when raining)
2 Specialised Armadillo tires (also shit and cost me a days ride on the way to Paris with a ruptured tire wall)
2 Continental Contact tires (best tires I have ever owned, lost in a flat move and they don?t make them any more)
2 Continental Gatorskins (still on the bike and going strong)
Front and back gear shifters. One broke and it turns out you can only buy them as a pair
3 chains and cog thing at back
3 sets of cables
1 handle bar grips (wore the rubber out on the old ones)
1 front rim (the first one got a tiny bend in this accident after about 3 months I had to replace it)
3 rear rims. 1 worn through on London streets with hard breaking. 1 died on the way to Paris. The replacement I got from decathlon was so shit it lasted 3 months.
1 front chainset for about 120 after I stripped the thread on a crank arm trying to save ?10 in labour changing my pedals myself
Two cateye speedometers (one just died for no reason)
Several speedometer batteries

Complaints (not many)

The bottle holder was a waste of time
Screws on some of the components have rusted as the bike is now stored outside. Disappointing as the cost of non-rusting screws couldn?t have been that much more.


Overall the Road Warrior is a superb light-weight, durable, quick commuter bike.

25 June 2013

K21 X9-93 chain
Shimano HG50 9 speed cassette
Shimano Ultegra 3700 Bottom Bracket cups
Continental Gator Hardshell Duraskin x 2
Shimano BR-4500 R50T2 Break shoes
Vavert lock on grip
Break cables

Cost 267.83

Tooting Bec Lido is FILTHY

Tonight I rode across London to the Tooting Bec Lido because the Lido near my house at Parliament Hill closes at 6pm for some bizarre reason. The weather was warm and the ride was awesome.

Tooting Bec Lido is the biggest outdoor pool in England and it’s lucky that it is because they have to cram a lot of filth into it. The list of things I managed to identify on the bottom of the pool included: dirt (lots of), sand (lots of), leaves, twigs, band aids, toilet paper (I think) and a panty liner. Disgusting.

As one of the other swimmers said it was, “it’s good for your immune system”. My personal opinion is that if you swim regularly in the Tooting Bec Lido and you don’t die then you probably have nothing to fear from swine flu.

This photo is stitched together from two photos taken using my not-very-wide-angle Canon Ixus 970 using the magic of photoshop.

Tooting Bec Lido - London's filthiest pool (stitched)

Thames Barrier Cycle Ride

Today after meeting some friends in Holborn for lunch I rode to the Thames Barrier. I’ve been meaning to get down there for ages to take some photos.

The Tames Path ride isn’t really what I expected. At several places along the Thames, apartments have been built right up to the edge of the river so you have to cycle back to a road to keep heading in the same direction. Sometimes when travelling on one of these back roads the Thames Path is signposted back towards the river and when you get there the path only goes for fifty meters or so before another apartment block forces you back on to the road you just came from. The net effect is that you end up with the feeling that you are zigzagging down the river and sometimes you end up a bit lost or on a main road.

A bit frustrating and not really what I expected from a quite cycle down the Thames.