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For the sprint backlog, I read that the stories are broken into tasks, and estimated. Are these estimates typically development hours only, or development + QA? What are these hours typically consisting of?


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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The sprint backlog tasks to complete a user story should contain everything that required to complete the story. This may include:

  • Design
  • Technology selection
  • Studies for trying out different approaches
  • Implementation
  • Unit testing
  • QA
  • Bug fixing
  • Acceptance tests
  • Documentation
  • Legal
  • Finance

Of course, you'll never capture everything during planning (teams I've been on tend to miss between 20% and 30% of the hours required)... but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try!

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+1, hours should include everything, but don't always. Adding some padding to the estimates can help. – JW8 Feb 22 '12 at 2:14
@JW01: I don't believe in padding individual tasks. Padding the overall schedule yes, but padding individual tasks, no. Of course padding is needed --- to take account of the 20% to 30% that gets missed --- but I prefer to call it out as explicit "headroom" (or under-capacity) rather than "hide" it in each task estimate. – Peter K. Feb 26 '12 at 18:39

The user story is not so much divided into tasks as the tasks required to implement the user story are determined; and by "implement the user story" I mean bring the story to the point that the users accept that it has been implemented.

Tasks might include:

  • Create unit tests for the Foo widget
  • Create system and integration tests for the Foo widget
  • Code the Foo widget
  • Integrate the Foo widget into the Foobar system
  • Create the user documentation for the Foo widget
  • Do acceptance tests on the Foobar system
  • Deploy the Foobar system
  • etc.

Now, how much time will each of those tasks take?

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Assuming there is a story: As a user i want to login by typing in password.

Possible tasks (assuming two developers - Tom, John):

  1. Design the page - assigned to Tom - 1 hr
  2. Review the page - assigned to Tom - 1 hr
  3. Help Tom reviewing the page - assigned to John - .5 hr
  4. code model - assigned to John - 2 hr
  5. write unit test for model - assigned to John - 2 hr.
  6. Review model code - assigned to Tom - 1 hr
  7. code acceptance test for login page - assigned to Tom - 3 hrs

so on.....

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In ideal Scrum the team is multi-functional in that the same people does both development and QA. If that is true for your team then your estimated hours are for any one person in your team to complete the task. I have been in company that the team consist of developers and QA which tasks are divided between them. We would then have "development hours" and "QA hours" on a task. Easily with more specialists in your team you can divide the "done criteria" to different type of tasks and complete with different type of hours.

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