Our company is trying to follow Agile methodologies when it comes to estimating and prioritizing any new development work. The reading I've done makes this concept appear great so we are trying to give it a good crack at making it work for us and hence help with providing a better solution at the end of the day for our customer.
A problem I have had recently is the position of UI design during the estimation of User stories. We kicked off a new project discussing what was required from a functional point of view and getting a set of user stories written down to be verified by the user. Our BA then asked us to estimate these stories.
I went, hang on. Many of these stories might vary depending on the complexity of the UI design. However the BA wasn't ready to discuss UI just yet as she needed estimates so she could plan the sprints and get a costing for the project.
So my main question is:
Where does UI design fit into the process between writing user stories and estimation. Or, should it even fit in and just be a part of the development work?
How does agile fit into fixed price quotes for new work (based on your estimations on the entire user stories set), and how then do you ensure you deliver what you said as far as the user stories go against the quote given i.e. a story is bigger than you thought so blows out
My concerns around our process:
- I can't estimate accurately enough at this stage of the process as some elements are missing i.e. UI. It's a new project for a new client so heading into some uncertain waters.
- Some features are just too unknown to estimate (Do I need to just delve deeper into the murkiness to clear the waters to remove the unknowns??)
BA needs (as expressed to me)
- Wants to have estimates so they can determine how many sprints this project will take
- Wants to have estimates so they can determine the scope and cost of the project so that they can give it to the customer as a quote.