Agile Estimation and Architecture Leads to Collaboration and Innovation
When team leaders develop and estimate multiple solutions, reviews of these solutions can lead to healthy discussion on priorities, business/IT collaboration on requirements, and product innovation.
Over several posts, I've described a disciplined agile practice that separates out Solutioning and Estimation from Story Writing and Sizing. Solutioning and Estimating is when team leaders will consider a prioritized feature, recognize multiple approaches and organize them into scenarios, break down each scenario into Story Stubs, consider architecture needs, and estimate them. Once a product owner selects a Scenario, the business analyst begins story writing on the prioritized requirements that are then Sized by the team.
At one of my team's recent feature review sessions, two solution scenarios with their estimates were reviewed. After some discussion, the team came to the conclusion that a hybrid solution might be optimal and then identified several additional capabilities for the business to consider. The team also reviewed what data they had and what they needed to make more informed, data driven decisions. These data gathering and analysis exercises were put on the backlog for research and will give additional insight on priorities and nonfunctional requirements. After the review with the Product Owner, the team began story writing and development on the essential requirements. The other identified capabilities were broken off as separate features for the Product Owner to consider and prioritize if they deliver sufficient business value.
It's this type of business and technology collaboration that disciplined agile teams practice and CIOs desire.