It's all about the answers!

Ask a question

Stories without subtasks

Dr. Hans-Joachim Pross (1.1k4458) | asked Mar 11 '14, 5:19 a.m.
I often have small stories without or with just one subtask and I'm look for a best practice to handle those. Creating a sub task for small stories is sometimes inadequate effort.
  • Having no sub task makes it impossible to put estimates on such a story.
  • Working just with a task and without a story is also not optimal, because you can not plan those in your backlog plan.

From theoretical point of view a hybrid work item type - plan type and execution type at once- would solve that use case. But I assume, that's not possible.

How are others dealing with those very small stories?

2 answers

permanent link
Krzysztof Kaźmierczyk (7.5k477103) | answered Mar 11 '14, 5:51 a.m.
Hi Hans,
My understaning of story and epic is that this is work item aggregating certain functionality but does not require any implementation itself (eventually testing). I would create new Task for even small story just to preserve this philosophy.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Pross commented Mar 11 '14, 6:16 a.m. | edited Mar 12 '14, 3:39 a.m.

Hi Krzysztof,
yes in principle your are totally right.

But I can see, that people don't want to manually create subtask for small stories which would look like "Work on story 4711" and nothing else. Often, there is no change set, no additional information, except the status and the efforts. It's just a place holder.

Just one example:
Lets think about smaller projects and a story "Check, if the presentation needs to be updated for the next release". I would like to assign that story to someone who is working very little in that specific project.
The check might take an hour or less and if there is need for an update, a task will be created to update that presentation. If no, the story is done. The task is just created to hold the efforts.

sam detweiler commented Mar 11 '14, 6:51 a.m. | edited Mar 11 '14, 6:53 a.m.

>The task is just created to hold the efforts.

That is correct.. the Story is about requirement to results, not work
work is documented in tasks.

this is the fundamental line.. planning and execution.

you want a hybrid object.. but then every report and graph  will be broken. because you've mangled the data.

that story should have been, Update the presentation for the next release.
the acceptance criteria should have described the output..

the task(s) were

Millard Ellingsworth commented Mar 11 '14, 2:01 p.m.

I agree with Sam on this. A Story by "definition" describes some business value that needs to be delivered. What you have is not a Story, just a Task. Whatever story might have caused the presentation to no longer be up to date should carry a task to update it. Or, worst case -- and it's not that bad -- have a Story "As a Release manager I need to keep all presentation and deliverable materials current" and add one or more tasks there.

For the reasons Sam points out, if you choose to create a new work item type, I'd test it first with the various reports you care most about to make sure you are happy with the results.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Pross commented Mar 12 '14, 3:50 a.m.

Your all are totally right.
But I can see that some users are not willing to create a task for small story. I hear that this is to much overhead.
There are three ways to deal with

  1. Have a story and create a sub task. Best way!
  2. Have a task which is not connected to a story.
  3. Have a hybrid work item type.

Because 1 is not accepted in this case, I'm looking for the pros and cons of 2. and 3.

And at the moment I tend to try 3...

permanent link
Ralph Schoon (63.2k33646) | answered Mar 11 '14, 6:13 a.m.
edited Mar 11 '14, 6:15 a.m.
Another option would be to create a new work item type based on the task work item category e.g. "SmallStory" and make it a Plan Item in planning, I think. That way it would have the estimation attributes but be at the level of a story. If you want, you could give it a complexity attribute as well.

However, in general I would agree to Krzysztof's approach.

Krzysztof Kaźmierczyk commented Mar 11 '14, 6:53 a.m.

In that case I would use Ralph recommendation.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Pross commented Mar 11 '14, 12:49 p.m.

Yes, I think I will try this...

Your answer

Register or to post your answer.

Dashboards and work items are no longer publicly available, so some links may be invalid. We now provide similar information through other means. Learn more here.