Two colleagues are working as a pair to apply agile to their agile marketing plan in a Being Agile workshop. We are using the Being Agile method and canvas to map out their backlog and plan a sprint.
Their roles are Marketing Manager, and Marketing Assistant.
On their board they have the item ‘write blog post’
Using an estimation game we played planning poker to help estimate the size of the task.
Both estimated the time the task would take in hours privately and then shared their estimations.
Marketing Manager – 2 hours
Marketing Assistant – 8 hours
I invited both to describe their activities and the estimations made.
Marketing Manger – 2 hours – To write a blog post of about 500 words, I could write and refine one in around 2 hours.
Marketing Assistant – 8 hours – Yes, 2 hours for writing the initial post.
But, if I am writing it, I think it will take longer as I haven’t written many, and I’ll need to do some subject research, so I’ve given the writing part 3 hours.
Then, I will need to send to you for review, and then make any suggested revisions, which is probably another 2 hours (total 5).
Plus, I included publishing it too, so an hour to add it to the website, optimise for key phrases, add seo tags, links and publish it (6)
And then another hour to find photos and graphics, and to create/edit, optimise and add those to the post (7).
And then finally share it! Schedule and send it out across our networks and channels, twitter, newsletter, linkedIn, so another hour at least for that (8).
So all together it will take about 8 hours to write, publish and share the blog.
Marketing Manager – You are absolutely right, I hadn’t considered all the tasks involved to create, edit and publish the blog article, just to write it, and I had assumed I was writing it so put my own personal estimation on it.
This really helped them to talk about the activity openly and constructively and ensure they were both estimating the same thing!
They agreed that the best approach was for the Manager to draft a post quickly, which her assistant could then refine, and add to, and publish. They would share a work in progress, and commit to review it regularly throughout the process. This would enable collaborative working, sharing of knowledge and skills too for future blogs, where the assistant could write blogs based on ideas and drafts fed through from the team.
Estimation is so much more than just putting a number on something. One of the key outcomes is the conversation that it creates, and the shared understanding of the activity so that it can be mutually agreed.
Like we see in the Cup of Tea Estimation game, estimating even simple tasks have assumptions that lead to diverse estimations.
Often its said that
Similarly, the value of estimation is greater in the ‘estimating’ than it is in the ‘estimate’, without the estimating conversation, the estimation is likely to be off.
An agile plan is more than something written on a piece of paper. It’s a real time conversation about the various options, approaches and decisions we can take and make along the way.
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